What Freedom Entails And Why Contemplating This Matters


Given the freedom, what would you like to experience or free yourself of?

When we think about freedom, we all have our own image in mind.

Perhaps you picture birds roaming through the skies, horses running wild, or a bunch of dolphins joyfully jumping in and out of the water at open sea. 

Maybe you see yourself reading a good book at your favorite cafe, dancing with someone you love, or traveling the world, hiking through nature, and skinny dipping in a lake. 

But freedom doesn’t always look that picturesque or “postcard-worthy.” For someone in captivation, it simply means to be free from the walls surrounding them.

Anything beyond those walls, to them, is freedom.

The Definition Of Freedom

As the definition above clearly captures (“the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”), captivation isn’t always physical.

Personally, I mostly experience freedom as a quality of the mind too. 

Yes – I love to travel and explore my physical surroundings.

But when my mind is free to roam, wander, day dream, think, and contemplate but also to be still, quiet, and at rest – that is when I experience liberty in its purest form:

The freedom to think any thought,
or to not think at all (and maybe catch a new idea).

The freedom to not just hear, but really listen,
And to not just watch, but truly see.

It’s not freedom of movement alone through which we may feel untethered. It’s the ability to change our minds (or mental states), and act accordingly, that makes us feel free.

That is also where our liberty to change our lives stems from; exercising the power of our own minds. 

Freedom of the mind, therefore, is as free as it gets to me.

Because, ultimately, where from do we ever and always experience our outer surroundings?

Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own

But Is Our Mind Free?

Many of us live in mental captivity.

Be it temporary or permanently, and for varying reasons.

It can be due to traumatic experiences, physical conditions or any other ailments  – or simply due to the rules and conditioning passed on to and imposed on us (be it by family, friends, societies or governments).

We can be so well confined, that we don’t even realize it.

We can be in the most beautiful place on earth – but without the mental space to experience and enjoy it, no beauty will be found.

I have had that experience myself on many occasions, and have seen it happen to others just the same.

It’s not about where we are, it’s about who we are being wherever we are.

Unknowingly, we could be living our entire lives inside mental prisons.

We could be living like caged birds that refuse to leave their enclosure even if the door is wide open. And we could end up going through our entire lives like birds with broken wings.

However, the “freedom in freedom” is that is remains a subjective experience.

The bird with the broken wings may never feel the need to fly, for he doesn’t know that he was ever capable. Perhaps this bird will find freedom in his song. But if our feathered friend knew he could fly – would he heal its wings?

Being aware of our own definition of the concept can help us discover where we may be imprisoning ourselves.

And when we get to know our own mental hutches, we can also begin to notice life beyond the fence. 

So what does freedom mean to you? 

Even if your freedom of movement is limited right now – what makes you feel unbound and fully alive?

May you be blessed to find more sovereignty each day, and muster the courage to fight for it where it isn’t.

Even (or especially) if this battle will only ever take place in your mind.

You Might Also Like