“God demands nothing less than complete self-surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having. And when a man thus loses himself he immediately finds himself in the service of all that lives. It becomes his delight and his recreation. He is a new man, never weary of spending himself in the service of God’s creation.”
In this article, we’re going to explore the paradoxical nature of freedom. In the process, you’re going to discover why freedom isn’t something you have to wait for; it’s something you already have (whether you know it or not).
The classic Kris Kristofferson track, Me and Bobby McGee includes the line, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” While on the face of it, that’s a fairly depressing definition of the term, it has a kernel of truth in it. To shine a light on that kernel of truth, it’s worth considering this distinction:
DISTINCTION: Inner Freedom vs Outer Freedom
When people talk about “freedom”, they’re often referring to what we might call ‘Outer Freedom’. Here are some examples of ‘outer freedom’:
– A person who’s locked in jail has had many of their outer freedoms removed
– A person who has millions of pounds at their disposal may have the freedom to travel the world, buy expensive items or pay for luxurious experiences
– A person who’s in a full body cast has lost a certain amount of their freedom of movement
– A person who’s single is free to date whoever they wish (at least in principle)
But here’s the rub. There are many people who have extraordinary levels of ‘outer freedom’ but who experience little or no ‘inner freedom’:
– Wealthy celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both of who committed suicide this year
– Billionaire Jack Ma, who claimed that being China’s richest man had made him unhappy
– Pop star Lily Allen, who’s celebrity, fortune and string of partners couldn’t give her a genuine sense of freedom
– The string of athletes who are in peak physical condition, with all the wealth and fam they desire, but who get caught in addiction, misery and despair
So what is ‘inner freedom’? Inner freedom is knowing who you really are, and where your experience comes from. Who you really are is consciousness, the sense of being / “i am-ness” that illuminates all experience. Where your experience comes from is the principle of Thought taking form in the moment. When we see the truth of either of these, we fall out of the illusion of separation and into the truth of the moment.
Here are some examples of ‘inner freedom’:
– The inmate in Santa Cruz maximum security jail who told me, “I never experienced true freedom until I got locked in here.”
– The person who feels free to talk to anybody, regardless of perceived status or context
– The person who has little or no financial resources, but feels happy and secure in themselves
– The person who is living a simple life, but experiences immense freedom and contentment
I was once listening to a talk by speaker Sean Stephenson. Sean has a tiny body, and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was a child, with a bone disease that renders his skeleton so fragile that even a sneeze can result in multiple fractures. During his talk, he said, “I may be 3 feet tall, look like ET and go everywhere in wheelchair, but if you don’t love yourself and your life, you’re a lot more disabled than I am.”
His statement stopped me in my tracks. It was clear to me that this man was experiencing a level of inner freedom that had nothing to do with his outer freedom. I heard this a few years before I started learning about the principles behind clarity, so it was a little while before I started to experience the kind of inner freedom he was pointing to.
And there’s the paradox; we live in a world where we’re regularly being told that freedom, peace and contentment are to be found on the outside; in the world of things, activities and accomplishments. There’s nothing wrong with the outside (it’s a great place to get a steak), but the truth is, as Gandhi implies, is in realising that who you really are is freedom itself. In my experience, this is one of the inevitable ‘implications’ of getting a deeper understanding of the principles behind clarity.
By the way, every September when we kick off the clarity coach training programme, we have some people who can’t make the first module. I get it – it’s just after summer holidays, and schools are starting back, so about 10% of the people who are on the programme end up missing the first weekend.
But that’s OK. You see, we capture all the audio and video and upload it to the Clarity Academy portal so we can catch everyone up in time for Module 2 in October. So if you join us before the end of September, we’ve got time to get you up to speed in time for module 2 and the rest of the Clarity Coach Training programme. So if you’ve been kicking yourself because you thought you’d missed the boat, I’m happy to tell you that you’re not too late. If you want to get caught up and join us for the rest of the programme, we’re taking late enrolments until September 28th, so just go to www.JamieSmart.com/coach to get the details and book your place.
To your increasing clarity!
Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Speaker and Executive Coach
PLUS: Whenever you’re ready… here are 6 ways I can help you get the clarity and results that matter to you:
1. Listen to the ‘Get Clarity’ Podcast www.jamiesmart.com/claritynow/
2. Hire me to speak at your event: www.jamiesmart.com/book-jamie-to-speak-about/
If you’re a coach or interested in becoming one…
3. Join The Thriving Coaches Facebook group
4. Listen to The Thriving Coaches Podcast
5. Take part in the Thriving Coaches Blueprint. our 90 day, rapid-implementation programme to help you get more clients and grow your coaching or therapy practice (doors now open!)
6. Learn more about the Certified Clarity Coach Training Programme, our 10-month deep-immersion into the principles behind clarity (doors now open! The programme starts September 2018 and won’t run again until 2020 at the earliest.)
If you’re looking to change job, career or move from FTE to something more fulfilling…
7. Join the Transition Launchpad Facebook group
8. Learn more about Escape Velocity: The Transition Blueprint our 90 day programme to help you transition into doing fulfilling work.
You had me at the Gandhi quote!
The Dynamics of the work are all there…rinse and repeat