Freedom is discussed on several levels; we often presume that having plenty of money gives us financial freedom, and that the presence of good health gives us the freedom to move as we wish. Freedom is also a philosophical topic; does freedom mean you can do what you would like to do, or does it mean you do not have to do what you would prefer not to do? Freedom may be interpreted in so many ways, but if it was just centred around financial security, then every rich person would feel free and we know that this is not the case. A lot of rich people are frightened - frightened they might lose what they have; they have even been known to build impenetrable fences around their houses, therefore losing freedom instead of gaining it.
What is real, real freedom?
I can look back to a time in my past when I was not enjoying good health and had been through some tough times financially. I worked at turning things around and both my finances and health improved and I was outwardly rich in many ways. However, I did not gain the freedom I wanted because I still felt imprisoned. I was attached to things I couldn't get rid of.
Growing up, I was not allowed to do or be what I wanted. Later, I started apportioning blame to those who had said 'no' to me; in my mind, those people, such as people in government, teachers, bosses and partners were responsible for all the things that were wrong in my life. I tried to survive on an illusion of freedom.
As we go through life, most of us will be confronted with the need to 'let go' - to let go of what bothers us and find it in our hearts to forgive when we feel we have been wronged. I spent too many years telling myself that others were responsible for my lack of freedom. But forgiveness is not making things undone and it is not saying 'I like what you did'. Freedom is about becoming detached from whatever happened to you to cause you pain.
All the time you cannot forgive you remain attached to something, whether it is a person or a memory. It controls you and you become a victim. That is the crazy thing - blaming someone else for something that has happened to you ends up making YOU the victim!
Forgiveness is letting go and not holding on to negative energy from the past, for if you cannot forgive you will always be focusing on the past. The more people and situations that haunt you from the past the less you can live in the present and you will not be free to look forward to the future that you desire.
The Free Space Chart
The Free Space Chart shown to the right can be applied to deep issues such as the need for forgiveness. It shows us how we are affected by the impact of what is happening on the outside if we are unaware of the possibility of 'free space' on the inside. If you don't know about, and are not capable of using the free space, your only way to deal with things is by reacting. But if you are reacting, it is like a reflex and you are not really deciding what is happening. It means that you are being affected by the impact from outside, rather than deciding your own outcome.
The more you can forgive the more you can cut the energetic connection from the past; to whatever happened to you. Only if you are detached you can discover your free space; at least, you can live in the free space. Then you can consciously have the time to decide what happens to you and how you want to respond. You have the possibility and can take the responsibility when you are in the 'free space' and you can decide how you want to live.
In my workshops, I often use the example of a common driving experience. I remember an occasion in my younger days when someone cut in front of me on the road and I felt annoyed. I was not aware of having 'free space' and my inner emotions were stirred up. The actions on the outside decided I would react directly and be upset. I asked myself: should I sound the horn or flash my lights, or even chase the other driver? The adrenaline was flowing. But now I have come to realize that the more I forgive somebody, even the person cutting me up on the road, the more I can be objective. For all I knew, the driver could have been rushing to the hospital due to an emergency and I had been wrongly assuming he was the bad guy! So when I live in the 'free space' I do not need to have one simple solution to everything that is happening, or one interpretation with my reaction. If I am on a long and boring road journey, maybe I should concentrate more on the nice person sitting beside me, or listen to pleasant music, rather than getting upset with other drivers.
So really understanding freedom, real freedom, will only occur if you are the boss in your own 'free space'. When you make your decisions no one else can control what is happening inside of you - except you. But until you have forgiven the issues that bother you from the past and have cut the ties that have kept you attached to them, you will not be able to live in your 'free space'. And as long as you do not live in your 'free space' you are not free. You can have money, and even good health, but if you cannot forgive you face a big challenge; you will not be able to experience true abundance and happiness. So really understanding - letting go - not being emotionally bonded to what has gone before, makes you a real, free person. Enjoy your freedom. Forgiveness is the key.