July 01, 2010
In America, we look at the month of July as the celebratory beginning of our nation’s independence from King George of Great Britain. As children of the world’s then-superpower, we revolted against the constraints of the remote royal family and declared our path, thus forging a life based on freedom of the individual and of each state. When we step back and look at our spiritual choices, we see that our beliefs, long held and practiced, provide a sense of comfort, yet also keep us close in a circle and cycle of ritual and acquiescence. Daring to step away from aspects of our beliefs to explore new territory of self-expression, we declare our Spiritual Independence and develop a new understanding of our own essence as we operate as sovereign beings in the world.
What would it look like?
The population of America in the 17th and 18th Century comprised of people seeking religious freedom, as well as those desiring an opportunity for prosperity. The "great experiment" in which people governed themselves, shone as a new and unfamiliar concept in the known world. Almost impossible to imagine, the notion of a country not ruled by a church, or a monarchy, proved fearful for most, including early settlers. While most emigrated to the new world for a better life, in many cases, the adjustment demanded they forfeit their prior limitations of thought and action – for others and themselves.
In our spiritual lives, true independence also takes a toll on our reality. While we learn and stretch our belief systems to seek new ideas and considerations of philosophies, we often revert back to the well-rutted synapses of our past thinking. Even though we open ourselves to the possibility of looking at our spiritual centers in a different way, we compare and contrast the new information we gather against our old thought patterns and beliefs. In short, we judge ourselves based on our past thereby limiting our opportunity for something new to enter our lives. In short, it proves difficult to imagine moving completely away from our old ways to operate entirely in a new set of beliefs because we simply don’t know what it looks like.
From the self-imposed limitations of Calvinism in the new world, to the oppressive dogma of Puritanism, our young country experienced some hypocritical growing pains. Borne from the flexed muscles of religious freedom, our young country operated under the strong arm of the Crown, wielding its power thousands of miles across the ocean. Desperately seeking the ability to choose one’s interpretation of spirituality, the early settlers found themselves in the new world but stuck in archaic concepts of governance. In one glaring instance, the Witch Trials in New England provide a clear example of a small group of transplanted religious revolutionaries unwilling to embrace the rebels within their own faction. While taunting their heroic separation from the church in Europe, small communities of settlers practiced the very same unforgiving methods of intolerance from which they fled.
Our own personal and figurative witch trials provide us with divine insight into our spirituality. Often, we stretch our limits, test new methods and thought patterns, yet use the same tired concepts to measure the distance between the old and new experiences. Punishing ourselves through negativity and doubt, suffocates our potential and dares to challenge our quest for advancement. As we recognize the enemy within ourselves, we discover the forces at work against us are superficial and weak, and like the witch trials, based on fear and the unwillingness to move away from our suffering and the status quo.
A dozen or more generations removed from the brave souls who set out in wooden boats to dare seek a better life – a free life – we often take for granted the comforts our freedom affords us. We move peaceably between state lines, speak freely for/against our government, reserve the right to work at vocations which inspire and please us, and freely associate with one another. Many countries, even today, do not allow these freedoms to citizens, yet some people take risks to exercise their choices in spite of their laws.
With basic freedoms and rights in place in North America, we enjoy the luxury of pondering more esoteric concepts of expression. In every port of freedom docks an armada of lessons. Waiting to be called ashore to our present moment, our earthly education waits patiently, riding the tides of our indecision, the unfathomable depths of our doubts and the choppy waters of fear. With our practical needs met, our spirit breaks free to entertains such philosophical preponderances with the liberty to recognize coincidences in our lives; the freedom to develop and grow without restriction; the freedom to accept life’s inevitable lessons and understand the impact; the freedom to integrate each lesson and thrive from it; the freedom to release and let go.
In the timeline of human history, man's inherent freedom appears as a mere moment on the scale. Comfortably ensconced in suffering and spiritual slavery, we fall back into the rocking chair of old thoughts and practices. When we dare to set forth on new adventures to seek the freedoms endowed by our Creator, we break the chains of restrictions imposed on our delicate souls and dare to cross the vast ocean of lessons to reach the promised land of understanding and spiritual sovereignty.
Today, think differently. Measure your progress not from the first knot of old thinking you towed with you from your past, but from right now – this moment. Leave behind all the old trappings and thought patterns which brought you here to the banks of possibility, and dare to venture forth into new worlds of independence. You’ll never know what it looks like until you step onto the shore.
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