Erich Fromm wrote a book called “Escape from Freedom.” The main topic of the book was that people are afraid of freedom because every new step away from the bondage or slavery or even the established, simple routine contains the danger of failure. We are tempted not to move forward, to stay where we are, to regress even, because we do not want to risk making a mistake. What if we could know that there are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn? What if we could know that there is no power in the universe that is against us?
I do not truly understand how it all works when we look at the world around us. But I know that when I think of freedoms that I have seen come about in my own lifetime, I am convinced that it is a highly positive process and that it is going in an onward, upward direction. The progress we have made may be obscured by the fact that we have the capability as never before to see everything that is going on. The fact is that we are freer than we have ever been as a world, as a nation and as individuals, even if it does not always seem so.
We are free because many before us believed in the benevolence of the universe, the goodness of God and the potential for the individual. Many who have come before us have risked, have dared and have believed that the future was full of hope and promise.
At some level of human consciousness, there must be a deep faith in the benevolent nature of the Universe, the faith in the goodness of whatever we believe God to be. I choose to believe that it is the inherent pull of spiritual evolution. I also choose to believe that the sooner we all become aware of it and surrender to it, the sooner we will all be able to experience the freedom that leads us out of whatever bondage or slavery, or even simple routine we find ourselves in.
We have talked about the courage it takes to opt for freedom in our nations. We have said that our freedom as a nation was gained through the courage of those who have fought and died to secure it. However, I would like to submit that freedom is more about faith than courage. It is about faith that the cause for which they were fighting was just and good. That may not have been true for every person who ever fought a war. However, it must be true for the majority of those who fought or anarchy would have reigned.
I recently came across a quote again from Seneca the Elder that says, “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” And we remember the quote from Anais Nin, “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” We see many people today who seemingly choose to remain tight in the bud; but I am convinced that as a people we have progressed.
In all of the things happening today that seem a threat to our freedom and our way of life, ours is to recognize how far we have come; to dedicate ourselves to daring to contribute to the onward, upward movement of Spirit and to give thanks every day for the Truth that has set us free, the Truth that there is only one presence and one power in the Universe, God the good. This power has brought us this far and will continue.