How could we act concretely in everyday life in order to achieve a state of increasingly freedom? This is a question that I’m sure many of us have in mind almost few time a week, if not everyday. And this drove me to some considerations I hope will be of some value for some others such as are of value for me.
A true freedom depends primarily on the ability of knowing ourselves, our tendencies and desires… and often our desires replaces the needs we have, and our freedom and happiness begin to depend by the degree of satisfactions we achieve during our daily life. If I wish some attention from a girl who sits near me on the bar chair, and I get it, then I’m satisfied, happy… I feel more free… otherwise, not. This is the way we usually operate.
To understand what the freedom is, we must first understand the difference between the needs and desires- analyzing these two factors is not so simple, but we can outline briefly the following differences: a need is the result of a drive from which we cannot get rid of; there are natural, primary needs, such as the need to eat, drink, sleep, breathe, and so on … this needs are imposed by our nature and don’t harm our inner freedom.
Similarly, there are many secondary needs, not dictated by our natural being, but by the society, from the culture and conditioning in which we live, and these needs affect our whole life, preventing every kind of real freedom.
Just to make an example, we could need to buy some new shoes to fulfill an emotional emptiness, and this is a conditioning-habit given to us from the consumer society in which we live. Or, the compulsive idea that we must at all costs find a mate, because it’s the only way to feel happiness and fulfillment, is another conditioned need who can lead is to a harmful “emotional prison” and who comes from the acquired culture and not from our Being.
The desires, however, are an expression of our unconditioned nature who wants to “feel” and “recognize” through the direct experimentation melting herself with the world.
So, to need a new car or some shoes just because otherwise we’ll don’t feel realized towards the others, it’s a conditioned need; a desire is when we are really and deeply impressed, excited and attracted by a car who seems to resonate fully to our nature (maybe because it has a determined form or color who attracts our being) , or against an object that seems truly wonderful for us because it affects our qualities and makes us emotionally resonate. A desire doesn’t imply any attachment, it’s a bright and strong driving of our true nature, corresponding to life. So, trough the understanding the difference between our unconditioned desires and social needs, is fundamental to achieve the possibility of developing progressively our freedom.
A free person is really free from any external needs and lives only driven by her desires. Discovering the cruel truth that we are almost totally pervaded by conditioned needs induces us to search what are our real desires and inclinations, and this helps us to get rid of every conditioning.
So, freedom requires a degree of self-knowledge (“Know. Thyself!).
Without self-knowledge, a true freedom is impossible. Being free doesn’t mean doing anything we want, at any cost, indeed the impossibility to say “no” to some drive is a symptom of our inner slavery. Freedom lies on the other side: it is connected with the concepts of Will and Knowledge- moving through our live recognizing and understanding our real needs, free from every kind of external interference, this is freedom! Our Inner Freedom!!
When we ignore and repress a need or a desire because we are driven by our own limitations (conditionings), then we are slaves of conventions.
Observing and studying ourselves; finding through the meditation practice a space of silence who makes us closer to our real and unconditioned nature ; recognizing the opinions and limitations acquired by the society in which we live; developing a Will who could gain some authority over the needs and give us a freedom of choice in according to our conscience and reason; don’t act exclusively for personal egoism- personal, subjective needs… these five points are surely a good training to achieve a better freedom