Do What You Are Afraid To Do

Comes the month of August and all of us develop a patriotic heart remembering the struggle for freedom through the wonderful weapons of non violence and truth. Yet, we cannot forget millions of freedom fighters who laid down their lives for the freedom of India. Well, after all these years of independence we have literally grown indifferent to freedom and lucid to the rules of life in the globalised and consumeristic world. We may say it was their duty but are we concerned about preserving our democracy to respect life? Well, a big question will make us think or at least attempt for the answer.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer said, “Freedom is the right to live as we wish.” This takes us to a more serious question: What do we wish for our good living?

What does freedom mean to each of us? For some it is a mere escape from a serious responsibility. For others, it is a carefree living.

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Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American naturalist, poet and philosopher says, “Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom, indeed.”

Mahatma Gandhi even spoke of freedom as a personal choice. He said, “Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.”

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way. The third is freedom from want…. The fourth is freedom from fear.

We begin to wonder why any type of organization of human living negates the fundamental right of a human being to be happy and free. It has been understood by free people that any law will only enslave a person. It is when we can manage without rules and regulations that we can be more free.

Martin Luther King Jr., American black leader said, “The law will never make men free, it is men that have to make the law free.”

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us; to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

Thus freedom is the air to breathe, the ability to stand on two feet and to climb the opportunities and challenges that rules offer in our lives.

If we were to perceive life in these rules how different freedom would mean to us in living with conviction. We are born with the rule to first cry and come into the world. Life in our first school of the family gives us a skeleton to develop our personalities in and through our culture. We then move to school of relationships just in our neighbourhood and relationships to greet everyone with respect. We travel to school to learn the A B C of the rules of life to understand the literate world and thus learn the basic logics for the existence of rules. We are thus shown freedom in rules and rules in freedom. Have we not to abide by the rules of society, there would be a lot more confusion and disharmony in living.

If you must have a rule to follow, I would suggest that each of us cultivate a dialogue with his/her inner voice. If you listen to the clues your own heart offers, the resulting work will be fresh, and authentic. It will not be rigid like rules. Speaking about this Roberta Horton says, “Rules represent a conclusion based on experience and comparison. Rules can make us be stuck in one place. I would rather think in terms of possibilities.”

In fact, of all the possibilities of life, there is one thing that can be described as the most meaningful possibility. It is this possibility offered to us to decide on anything, helps us to be what we are, and that which helps us to become what we are capable of becoming. This is the ultimate aim of life. But, this will demand us that we do the right thing courageously. And, being courageous involves true freedom. The freer we are, the more courageous we can be. Together with Ralph Waldo Emerson who said,   “always do what you are afraid to do,” we can say: We shall do what we are afraid of doing, in complete freedom.

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