While killing time in a departmental meeting, I found this in my draft folder. I wrote it months ago. It hasn’t been edited, expanded or cleaned up or anything but it is something that means as much to me now as the day I wrote it down.
I can’t believe I’m one of “those” people. But, I guess I am. My name is Rachael and I read self-help articles. “Hi, Rachaellllll”
While scrolling through Facebook yesterday afternoon an article headline on HuffPost (shut up) caught my eye:
“In fact, we probably believe that achieving the external circumstance is the only way we can have the inward states of love, joy and peace. But this is never true. In fact, it’s one of the greatest lies on the planet.”
– Alexander Loyd, PhD, ND
You’ll have to read the article to follow along with the question the author asks and then follows up with:
So why do I want to know the number one goal of your life? Because it’s why you do almost everything that you do. It’s why you have the thoughts that you have. It’s what you really believe in the most, no matter what you might say. And it betrays your underlying programming. Everything you do, everything you’ve ever done and everything you will ever do is because of a goal you’ve set at some point in your life, even if you’ve long forgotten what it was.
What does this all have to do with motorcycles? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
When I answered the first question the author asked – my mind immediately visualized me standing alone in the mountains, dressed in my riding gear, wearing my helmet. So, naturally, I assumed that my answer was being able to explore unfettered on my motorcycle.
As I read on it would seem that I was wrong about my answer. When I boiled everything down, the answer I came back with was: Freedom.
So I’ve been thinking about what I think it means to be “free.” Without weeks of introspective thought, my brain initially decided that it largely it has to do with being able to move around the world as I please.
My good fortune allows me the resources to pretty much go anywhere I really want to. I’m not restricted by my loved ones. If I REALLY wanted to I could resign from my job and head off to galavant around the world tomorrow. But, on the surface it would seem this is freedom that I already have that I don’t exercise. Either that isn’t what I really want, I want other things more, or maybe that isn’t what I really think freedom is.
Peeling back the layers, I’m faced with many, many questions like:
- Can I still love my family and be free?
- Can I have a job and be free?
- Can I have the need for money and be free?
I have no idea. I don’t think I truly know what being free means to me. It would seem that the answer isn’t really what I thought it was.
To paraphrase the Buddha, Freedom does not lie in trying to escape but in accepting the impermanence of the physical world and freeing yourself from attachment to material things. We need to free ourselves from what we think we want. We’re given all of Earth to love but we choose only one or two things to care about. Yet do we really choose what we care about or is our choice made for us?
–A Buddhist’s Look at the Concept of Freedom
So, all I can know at this time is… what I know at this time. Until I have some awakening to better identify what true freedom means to me, I can only base my feelings on what I have thought freedom to be. What I know for now is that I achieve this state of being when I am riding my motorcycle.