In the United States we are not free. In the United States we are all still enslaved by the long shadow of slavery; recent events make this clear.
In the United States as a collective body of souls, we need to increase our resilience. Resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from and adapt in the face of stress, challenge and adversity. As a collective body, we still struggle to recover from the shame and complicated grief wrought by slavery; recent events make this clear.
I say all of this with compassion for each and every citizen who yearns to be truly freed from the pain of our nation’s history. In order for this to happen we will have to be willing to redefine freedom. Willing requires that we put our collective WILL toward looking and seeing deeply – no easy task, even on subjects less emotionally charged than our country’s history of institutionalized racism and sanctioned fear.
In the United States we tend to define freedom in terms of the power or right to do what we want – to act or speak without hindrance or restraint; again, recent events make this clear. Some broad examples: I have the right not to wear a mask even if it endangers your life; truth is what I say it is even if all of the facts say otherwise; an unarmed man can be chased down a street and shot or his neck knelt upon because of the color of his skin. This is the world of freedom we have created for ourselves.
We are enslaved by this definition of freedom.
If you think I am making some sort of blue state/red state statement, you are mistaken – rather I am making a spiritual statement. What I’m saying is that true freedom and the possibility of healing the past lies in a willingness to voluntarily take responsibility and limit our own freedom to act or speak without hindrance or restraint because love demands we pursue the best for others (which is also the best for ourselves as we are not separate from others). This is a spiritual definition of freedom based in Christ-consciousness (in this context love and freedom are the same thing). I would like to share with you another:
In Buddhist philosophy freedom is defined in terms of extinguishing or putting an end to suffering. Ending suffering is viewed as the ending of karmic tendencies, but can also be viewed as letting go of our attachments to thoughts, emotions, behaviors and desires that lead us away from inner balance and inner peace. Extinguishing suffering liberates us from the cycle of stress, pain and dissatisfaction that defines our lives.
Something to contemplate: What if we collectively chose extinguishing suffering as our new definition of freedom? And what if we used that definition as a compass pointing us forward?
What if we collectively chose to release ourselves from the karma of our past?
And what if we allowed freedom defined by love rather than fear or personal desire to determine who we want to be to and for each other?
Pain is an indication that some aspect of our being requires attention; we are a collective body-mind-soul in pain that now is being given an opportunity to show our long-festering wounds to each other so that they can be healed. What are we going to do with this opportunity as individuals and a collective body?
As we move forward through this time of upheaval ignited by collective and individual accumulated stress and overwhelm, consider how we can use this opportunity as a way to create needed changes that have the potential to lead us to higher ground.
Blessings of resilience and good health to us all!
– Elizabeth Lewis