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#25: Words from a man who had many a thought about freedom…

It sure took its time, spring in Germany, but now it’s finally here. And with it, time in my garden. Twice a year for about a week, I do all the major seasonal work. And as I work in a flow state, meditatively weeding the beds, I think about what freedom actually is. And how everyone has his or her own definition of freedom.

One man who probably thought about this much more than I ever have and who put those thoughts into many words, is the Indian philosopher Osho. Today, I am sharing an excerpt of his musings with you:

“Freedom has two sides and if you have only one side of it, a single side, you will feel freedom mixed with sadness. So you have to understand the whole psychology of freedom.

The first side is freedom from: from nationality, from a certain church, from a certain race, from a certain political ideology. This is the first part of freedom, the foundation of freedom. It is always from something. Once you have attained this freedom, you will feel very light and very good and very happy. For the first time you will start rejoicing in your own individuality, because your individuality was covered with all those things that you have become free of.

But this is only one half and then sadness will come because the other half is missing. Freedom from is fulfilled, but freedom for what? Freedom in itself has no meaning unless it is freedom for something, something creative – freedom to sculpt, freedom to dance, freedom to create music, poetry, painting. Unless your freedom turns into a creative realization, you will feel sad. You will see that you are free: your chains are broken, you no longer have any handcuffs, you no longer have any chains, you don’t have any prison, you are standing under the starry night, completely free – but where to go? Then comes a sudden sadness. What path to choose?

Up to now there was no question of going anywhere – you were imprisoned. Your whole consciousness was concentrated on how to get free, your only anxiety was how to get free. Now that you are free, a new kind of problem has to be encountered. What to do now that you are free?

Just freedom in itself does not mean anything, unless you choose a creative path. Either you go deeper into meditation for self-realization […] or if you have a certain kind of talent that has not been allowed to develop because of your fetters… You could not compose music because your hands were in chains, you could not dance because your feet were in chains. If you have a talent to be a dancer, then be a dancer. Then your freedom is complete, then the circle is complete.

Freedom from and freedom for – this is not something new that you are facing. It is being faced by every person who struggles first for freedom and then suddenly finds, “Now that I am free, what am I going to do?” Up to now, he was so occupied, so engaged, so very busy. Even in his dreams he was thinking only of freedom. He never thought about what he was going to do when he achieved freedom.

What has happened is beautiful, but something more is needed. You have to become a creator. You have to find some creativity that fulfills your freedom, otherwise the freedom is empty. You need either to create something or to discover something. Either bring your potential to actuality or go inward to find yourself – but do something with your freedom.

Freedom is only an opportunity. It is not in itself the goal. It simply gives you the whole opportunity to do whatever you want to do. Now you are free and you are feeling sad because you have not used this opportunity yet. Meditation will do, music will do, sculpture will do, dancing will do, love will do. But do something with your freedom. Just don’t sit with your freedom, otherwise you will become sad.”

Do something with your freedom! It is not an end in itself. My creative outlet are photography, my films, my writing. With what do you fill your freedom?


Yours, Ulrich

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