Some Obstacles to Freedom
Obstacles to (psychological) freedom include:
Judgement: A small tree isn’t inferior to a larger tree, so it is with all of nature, things are as they are. That’s it. And, things are as they are according to the particular environment and seeds or intentions present. While it may be difficult not to judge people and situations against your values, standards, and desire for a happier world, you need to accept that which you cannot change; and realise that people are acting from their present level of consciousness and conditioning in making any unwise choices.
Attachments: Attachments have a hold over you and can therefore cause you emotional pain if their existence is threatened. In true freedom we are free of our attachments. We can never be free if we really need and cling to something – what we want to possess, possesses us!! And in possessing us it can tease, terrify and frustrate us with feelings like disappointment or resentment.
Our attachments can include:
- “Comfort zone”
- Addictions to drama in relationships, our ailments, sex, food, drugs, etc.
- Mind-chatter (see “Rumination” below), likes and dislikes, and limiting beliefs
- “Needs” identified by Maslow, McClelland, Herzberg and other psychologists such as physiological (sex, sleep, food), security (money, property, etc.), belonging, social affiliation and approval, power or control, achievement; recognition and fame, self-actualisation.
“Moderation in all things” is a good adage to live by, although that expression isn’t necessarily to act as a curb on healthy desires. The best thing is to have and enjoy things without needing them or causing unnecessary waste.
Resistance: As the old saying goes “what you resist persists”
These three key obstacles can be remembered by the acronym JAR, and the word “jar” may be thought of as a container of these undesirable, potentially painful elements, or mind “baggage”.
Rumination on painful thoughts about what has happened, or will happen, will cause you to suffer. (Rumination can be regarded as part of the “attachment” categorisation above, through identification with your story, for example). That is not to say that you don’t have valid concerns that you need to pre-empt, based on clear thought and assessment in the present, and through enlisting external resources if necessary. The past has gone and, if the memories are unhappy ones, then you can just observe the temporary associated emotions and choose to let them go. You might consider reframing them if they are persistent and difficult for you to let go of. You need to look for the lesson, changes or avoidance strategies for the future, and the associated blessings too.
In what I jokingly refer to as (Eckhart) Tolle’s let out clause, you can be free to follow your preferences in many “non-acceptable” situations. (In one video clip, Tolle gives the example of when he moved to a different seat on a bus to avoid proximity to certain individuals liable to challenge his peace).
Environmental toxicity: This can refer to social, political, economic, physical, climatic, cultural, work-place and family conditions. Hopefully you live and contribute your gifts in a country and place where you can feel safe and supported and experience growth. If not, you need to find a solution to your situation while developing your inner strength and coping skills. You may need to walk away from a situation, however painful, consistent with your values and vision, yet be very careful of the potential pain for others, especially innocent people, and act responsibly. This may be a difficult call.
To be or not to be in our Comfort Zone … that is the question? I think that we do need to get out of our comfort zone sometimes, though I would not necessarily advocate making oneself “scared every day” as some life coaches suggest. Approached the right way though, it could really be quite exciting to be making regular breakthroughs through challenging fears.
Yet, infinitely better than getting out of your comfort zone is for you to actually expand your comfort zone, so that you feel comfortable growing through bigger challenges for the benefit of yourself and others, without undue stress. Our goal is to help you expand your view of what’s possible without scaring yourself to death! Indeed we advocate authentic, fearless living as far as practicable, doing what’s right for you. Enlisting a good coach to help you reprogram your beliefs and to stay accountable to your goals and dreams is a great way to expand your comfort zone and achieve success.
Living as forever-Being in cohorts with the permanent Oneness is arguably the best antidote for combatting fear. There is safety in trusting the permanent! Even the best and most well-intentioned people may let us down quite innocently, such as by dying on us, or some other unanticipated turn! So let your sense of forever-Being be your new comfort zone. How can this be put into practice? Be a Spiritual Warrior determined to do the inner work, knowing that the main enemy is you!! Examine your emotions and the underlying beliefs, thereby making the unconscious programming conscious so that you can examine it and change it for the better. Drop everything that is not you. Fight the good fight to eradicate negativity, unkind judgement and habitual resistance to what-is. Be the best that you can be for your sake - and for others in your presence!
It’s important that your ladder of purpose is leaning against the right wall so that your time and energy are put to good use.