Multiple Freedoms

When we talk about freedom, we are usually not specific about the exact type of freedom we are referencing. Freedom exists, or does not, on multiple levels: personal, institutional, political, and spiritual.

Personal freedom reflects the everyday choices that we make about our lives. It is how we choose to spend our time, how we choose to feel, how we choose to think, and how we choose to act. It is an intrinsic freedom which we all inherently possess, but it is contoured by institutional and political freedom. It can also be confined by other individuals who limit our freedom through abuse outside of those systems.

Institutional freedom reflects the ability we have to make decisions in the organizations and groups to which we belong such as our workplace, community organizations, or religious community. Political freedom is granted to us by the nation in which we live. Institutional and political freedom are conditional and structural. The amount of freedom each person has is based on her or his place in the system which may or may not be negotiable.

Spiritual freedom reflects an unlimited resource that is within our souls. It comes from a place that unites us all. Because this freedom is unlimited, access is unrestricted and we are all equally entitled to enjoy it. Spiritual freedom represents our rights as human beings inhabiting the earth.

The Religiosity and Spirituality of Politics

Oh yes I did…bring up the two most controversial topics in one blog post.

The way we perform politics is much like the expression of religious dogma. We rigidly control and divide based on what we claim to be the ‘truth.’ Wouldn’t it be cool if we let go of our beliefs, all of us, and performed politics with a sense of awe, wonder, openness, and mystery in search of universal wisdom?

Laws Were Made to be Broken

Many spiritual teachers, and social constructionists, contend that we create the world around us through the language we use, whether or not it is intentional, in both our minds and in our conversations. In accordance with this principle, we gain weight when we obsess over how overweight we are and we lose lovers when we jealously obsess over other potential mates.

Of the Ten Commandments, 80% of them tell us what not to do (I am not sure of the percentage of the 613 commandments but if you have this information please share!). They are negatively stated; for example, do not kill and do not commit adultery. Every law of which I am aware is similarly structured: they forbid specific actions. It doesn’t seem to be working, because people break laws every minute of every day. Do negative laws beget negative acts?

What if laws articulated what we should do rather than what we shouldn’t do? Rather than do not kill, we would say honor the sanctity of all people and living things. Wow. What kind of world would be possible if our formal and informal laws were based on doing right rather than not doing wrong?

I can think of two reasons why our laws are negatively stated: tradition and efficiency. Are these our most important values as a society?

While we may not have the authority to immediately transform all laws to the affirmative, we can make changes through our everyday experiences. In our own lives, we can make decisions based on possibility rather than limitation. In our families, we can create shared understandings that dignify rather than criminalize. In our organizations, we can develop policies that truly reflect our values. Doing so might transform our lives and our world.

The new, new counterculture

The new, new counterculture is shifting our focus

From dialectical to cooperative

From material to spiritual

From critical to creative

From confrontational to compassionate

The new, new counterculture does not forget the old ways, but rather incorporates them into a greater whole.

How have you experienced the new, new counterculture in your work and in your life?