America is celebrating its independence this weekend. The celebration not only represents America’s separation from England, but it also marks the contribution of what it means to found a nation based on spiritual ideas and ideals. To manifest this contribution, America had to release itself from the bondage of its past. Without breaking free, it would have operated from the yoke of its history, rather than choose from the myriad of future possibilities.
As spiritual beings, no matter what we may be going through or growing through in life, we have the freedom to choose how we will respond to the circumstances in our lives and what our inner attitude will be. Describing his concentration camp experience, Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist, author, and Holocaust survivor, wrote:
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few, but they offer sufficient proof that you can take everything from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way.”
Freedom is a gift of God. It is freely given and cultivated by our sincere desire to respond from the God center within us. Many people are reactors dreaming that they are free because they live from past experiences, hurts, shames, or denials. As a result, they bring those past experiences into the present moment and react from that space while believing they are making a free choice.
We have the strength to exercise our inner freedom at any moment, at any time, and under any circumstances. It comes from knowing that God is at our center and allowing this presence to be the activity of our awareness. When that awareness occurs, regardless of what's happening in the external world, there is a life-enhancing, beautifying, healing, uplifting, and dynamic response.
It takes spiritual fortitude to do that. We may ask, “How can we begin to cultivate that strength and stand in the infinite possibilities of Spirit?” We start by not looking back all the time. A statement in Proverbs reminds us, "Without vision, the people perish." We must allow a vision to flourish in our life. That vision was planted in our hearts even before we took this incarnation. A genuine future pulls the highest and best out of us - our capabilities, powers, and dynamic energies.
When I was in high school, I attended a summer debate camp at a university in Washington D.C. While there, I mentioned that I wanted to go to a specific college. One of the students, knowing my background, finances, and the difficulty of getting into that particular school, said it would never happen. I nevertheless held that vision and was ultimately accepted by that college. In my naïveté, I was not concerned about the seeming facts nor my history. As a result, the idea pulled me forward.
Vision motivates us from within and directs us to our new future. When we exercise true freedom, we no longer live life with a backward glance. We stop living in our metaphorical prison with the doors wide open, and we cease preventing our greatness from moving in, through, and as us.
Thomas Jefferson, one of America's founders, said that we must know the bright constellations to which we must aspire. America emerged from a set of core ideals. Despite its many flaws (as well as the flaws of the founders), the ideas behind America's governmental system arguably are unmatched by any other government. As a result of ongoing shortcomings, it has yet to fully manifest those ideals.
But the founders did not say, "Here's a perfect nation." Instead, they said, "Here's the blueprint for a perfect nation, now make it happen." We have the freedom to not only bring the Divine Blueprint forward for America, but we can do the same for our individual lives and our world.
Peace and Blessings,