I was in a conversation earlier this week. The question came up about whether freedom is still freedom if we feel restrained? This question or line of thought has stayed with me. First because I am in a constant journey myself to find more and more of my own freedom. Second because one of my elders, Jojopah Maria Nsoroma has been talking about patience and perseverance lately. Patience as the feminine and perseverance as the masculine. These two ideas keep rolling around in my head. And third, because I am currently witnessing someone in my life that is stuck in this false belief.
In our adolescent adult culture we so don’t understand what freedom is, we think freedom frees us of all responsibility. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We hold freedom like a toddler running around thinking that it allows us to do whatever we want without consequence. But real freedom comes with a price, real freedom comes with responsibility.
I often say that I’m obedient to spirit. This doesn't mean that I don’t feel constrained by it at times. It doesn’t even mean that at the end of the day I don’t have choice, even if at times it feels like a choiceless choice. But I do believe that because of grace we are held accountable for what we know. Grace is given to the young and the ignorant. There comes a point where you can’t claim either. I got clear years ago that I didn’t like spiritual ass whoopins, so I am obedient, even if I drag my feet a little here and there.
People of color have relationship with constraints, White people don’t always. This often gives the false impression that there shouldn’t be any. This gives the false impression that when there are constraints that means something is wrong. This feeds into the pursuit of happiness and only good things. Notice, I didn’t say joy, joy is different than happy. I can have deep joy in my life and not always be happy. I think that this pursuit of happy is like fools gold because often it comes with a flash of excitement only to leave the person with a handful of gravel.
This misunderstanding of freedom has cause a lot of suffering. Like with most spiritual truths this one comes as a paradox. The more freedom you have the more constraints you live with. I recently wrote that when real transformation occurs I have less choice and more freedom. I have found this to be true with a capital T.