Freedom of Mind

The inner fight for freedom starts by changing your name

by Rolf Christofferson

Freedom is often measured against oppression, where the oppressed are less free than the oppressor. An easy and quick inroad to a definition of freedom would be to think of it as the absence of oppression in any form and at any level.

We are all fighting for more freedom. Throughout history the fight for freedom has primarily been a battle against oppression imposed from the outside, the fight for political freedom, freedom of speech, racial freedom, national freedom, religious freedom.

Looked at from the standpoint of freedom, the battle throughout history has been against total oppression and almost no freedom through to limited freedom to almost complete freedom as we experience it in the Western world today. We are free to have opinions and voice them; to believe in any god or to be an atheist; to hold political views of the right or left, or hold none at all – each person has the freedom to make the choice from their own conviction. The choice between things outside of ourselves is multiple, from our religious beliefs to the type of mobile phone.

This article concentrates more on personal freedom, on the inner fight for freedom, the place where most people try to find a starting point in their own life. This happens when both the oppressor and the oppressed are you yourself, where both processes take place inside the same person.

The human mind holds a vast potential. In our mind we can imagine a life without the limitations and inhibitions that restrict us, such things as the feeling of not being good enough, funny enough, intelligent enough, brave enough, good looking enough etc. It is easy to build great castles and monuments in our mind. We can climb mountains and perform miracles in our mind just by thinking about them. We can be the perfect gentleman or lady with unlimited generosity, patience and care. In our minds we can travel the world and visit foreign countries and people. We can think of the great pyramids in Egypt to be there in a flash. We can gaze up at the constellation of Orion on a starry night and imagine going there. We basically set our own limits when we create something in the mind.

With our minds we can take the best of the past and bring it into the now. We can study the great personalities who have influenced and lifted world history and seek inspiration in the human qualities they have left behind; Churchill’s resolve and steadfastness, Mother Theresa’s devotion and unreserved care, Gandhi’s determination and patience, Lincoln’s sentiment, Joan of Arc’s faith and openness. It is possible to connect to what they achieved, to why they acted as they did, what they felt, their doubts, their difficult choices, their visions. We can understand and learn and be moved because we can feel it in ourselves. We can recognize and identify with certain feelings, which are first and foremost human and not personal. They were people like everybody else. They had a body and a mind like everybody else. They had freedom like everybody else. With the power of the mind we can connect to a different and perhaps deeper truth than the immediate one the history books portray.

We have the freedom to think forward, to think anew, to be led by the moment in the now, but the starting point must be the present where we live, otherwise any attempt to update history will only be a connection to what has been. You can see this at play when you meet your past and are confronted with who you used to be. In an instant, the feelings, the thought patterns and psychologies from the past are activated, you have, in other words, made a connection. If you are not then solidly based in the present and in your present age, with different feelings and points of view, then the connection to the past becomes stronger than the connection to your place in the now and the possibility of update vanishes. This is where the oppressor and the oppressed becomes oneself.

To think it is to create it

Nothing is written as regards the future, while all is written as regards the past, for better or for worse. How must Columbus have felt in 1492 when he sailed through uncharted waters towards the end of the world? In his search for a Western sea route to India he discovered America and, thinking he had arrived in India, he called the natives Indians. Even today they are still called Indians and the islands he discovered are called The West Indies. Similarly you could ask yourself if everything you have discovered and come to in your life is the truth. Do the deductions you have reached fit with the person you now are? Perhaps someone thought that they were not musical when they were a child because they were taken out of the school band when they did not play in tune with the rest of the kids. A continuing reminder from self to self about an experience like that might cause the person never to pick up a musical instrument again. The truth could be that they were the only band member who played correctly, or perhaps they were just exploring their instrument in their own way.

History bears witness to the power of the mind being the greatest power we have. If not for Columbus’ passionate belief that there was ‘new land towards the West’ and his unremitting efforts to convince his contemporaries to believe in and invest in his ideas, quite unheard of at the time, then the discovery of America would have been at someone else’s feet, perhaps much later in history. World history would have taken a different course with other conflicts, fates and truths, and Indians would probably be known under a different name today.

The power of changing one’s name

If our mind’s resources are in service to the past and busy arranging and carrying forward that which once was, then the question arises, how much ‘new land’ do we make room for and discover? It is in our mind that we confirm ourselves in who we are, based on what we have done and not done, what happened and what did not happen.

Imagine if you were to start looking at yourself as the person you would want to become, rather than the person you are, connected to the person you once were. Then it would be reasonable to give that person you wish to become a new name as a first thing. It could be a name that reflects a quality you want to promote in your life, for example ‘Freedom’, because you would like to have more personal freedom in your life. To continue on that course it would then be a good idea to explore what personal and inner freedom really is and why you would wish to achieve it. You could look in history and see who stands out as a great pioneer of freedom. Perhaps Columbus is one of the greats, he discovered The New World which was soon known as ‘The Land of Freedom and Opportunity’. You could also ask yourself who among your friends and acquaintances has the kind of personal freedom you want to develop. By giving the person you wish to become a name like ‘Freedom’, you are giving all that you are exploring about it fertile soil to influence your life in your chosen direction.

Taking the name of what you wish to develop and working under the mantle of that name is also a declaration to the future of where you can be found. In this way a connection is formed to that which has not yet happened that you would wish to happen, so the future can find you in the present. You have set up the possibility for the future to update the person you now are to the one you wish to become in the future.

The inner potential of the human

The age of the great explorers is long gone. All the continents, countries, islands and tribes of people are known to us today. The exploration of this age seems to have reached another dimension! The dimension of the inner potential of the human.

We have yet to explore and discover the full value of the continent of the human mind. The same goes for freedom, inner freedom, personal freedom, the freedom of mind.

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