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Chapter 2: Freedom - The Good Heart Project

I stand at the top of the mountain and scream: “I want to be freeeeeee!!!” Imagine, you are standing at the top of a mountain and screaming that. Wind is washing your face, the sun is shining. What does it feel like? How does freedom feel like for you? In a moment of being grateful for freedom, it feels exhilarating, empowering, enlightening. Freedom is defined to be the restriction in ability to change. And freedom is so highly valued by us. Most commonly freedom is associated with societal freedom only restricted by rules to protect one’s freedom. Once the rules, that protect our freedom are not respected, you are set in prison: one of the highest forms of punishment is taking away your freedom. That’s how important it is to us. If you are not in prison, you are considered to be free. But if we look at the definition again: having the ability to change. Basically the definition says, that if you are not able to change, then you are not free. This week I started reading “the journey home” from Radhanath Swami. He shares his life story to strengthen his spirituality and describes his path towards God. One paragraph stood out to me. Radhanath Swami was describing the death of Jimi Hendrix. He says: “Hendrix had everything the world craves and at such a young age: wealth, fame, and amazing talent, but he was dissatisfied. This idol for our generation became a victim of his own excesses. Thousands were proclaiming “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” as the progressive way to live. Freedom was their highest value, but were they really free?” Read the last part again. Freedom was their highest value, but were they really free? Taking myself as an example. Have big dreams to change the world. Whatever change I want to impact, I am adamant to pursue those changes within myself as well. Be it health, wisdom, peace and finally enlightenment. It is clear for me that this requires change within myself. Even with the burning desire to fulfill this, I “feel stuck”. I like talking about societal pressures and external judgements, but when it comes down to drilling to the source, I will find my biggest prison: my mind. Thoughts, beliefs that are limiting my own access to my wisdom, is what hinders me to be free. And this is what hinders others to be free too. In his book, Radhanath Swami continues: “if only, like the running stream, I just follow my calling, I thought, nature may whisper her secrets and guide me to my destiny.” If only - nature does give us signs, feelings and wisdom to guide us. It’s only us that stand in our own way. What do we do now? Considering the value we have set on freedom, it is important for us (me included) to reiterate our definition of freedom. Freedom is our ability to change, and it sometimes doesn’t relate to external circumstances. If freedom is that important to us, let’s rethink what needs to be done to receive it, to value it, to be grateful for it. The main restrictors of freedom (if indeed internal) are often an overactive mind, fear of abandonment, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of judgement and most of all lack of self love. I am sure this list is much longer, and feel free to extend it based on your own circumstance. Sometimes the prison doesn’t really look like a prison. It just feels like one. Sometimes the prison looks like one, but is a mirage of your internal one. Whatever or whoever the guard, your good heart (your core) is free. Your good heart is light hearted, it’s free to fly, to change, to transform, and to guide you to find your own path. Know this to find your own freedom. Join me on this journey to let go of these prison walls, let go of the fear we harbor, and embrace the light shining from our good hearts. Let's unleash the goodness in our hearts! With love, Ushma

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