Life is a precious thing. It’s delicate, fragile, and tenuous. It can be taken from us in any moment. James Gandolfini’s sudden death was recent reminder of the precariousness of life. Alive one day; dead the next.
We’ve constructed the world to hide dangers. We take comfort from sterilized countertops. We ride in cars equipped with air bags, antilock brakes, and steel reinforced bodies. This safety helps us to go to sleep. We are less awake, paying less attention to the road, and what it means to be going by at 70 miles an hour.
Today is Independence Day in the United States and as you may know from my previous posts, it is not one of my favorite holidays.
We celebrate independence from British tyranny yet succumb to other tyrannies: our judgmental minds, FOMO (fear of missing out), contingent self-worth and many, many others.
What would true independence look like? It would be freedom from fear. What would true liberation feel like? It would be freedom from limitations based on fear.
It would be not basing your entire self-worth on what other people think of you. It would not be a preoccupation with the behavior of others.
Freedom is relaxing into this moment–free to move where you want, how you want without recrimination, micromanagement, or anxiety. Things can be as they are. Life is play, even breathing can be fun.
Independence can be found riding on a motorcycle. I am still constrained by the laws of physics but I am freed from the illusion of safety and woken to the preciousness of life unfolding beneath my feet. I am free to see and to hear the movement through the world. Enjoying the experience of riding rather than just getting from point A to point B.
Rather than watching a jingoistic parade, I will get on the Harley and ride somewhere. The destination is not important, the process of being awake is what matters most. I will remember that true freedom comes from within my own mind and it is a freedom we must claim in every moment of every day, not just on special occasions like the 4th of July.
Be Free. Be Independent. Be happy.