The spiritual meaning of freedom

On this Fourth of July as we celebrate Independence Day here in the United States with parades, speeches, flags, fireworks and family barbeques, I’m pondering what independence really means, not just to us here in this country, but as a human race.

It is a big question to grapple with. For inspiration, I turn to Ernest Holmes, founder of the spiritual philosophy know as Science of Mind, from a talk he gave on July 4, 1937.

I believe his words are as relevant today as they were almost 80 years ago. He paints such a big picture of what freedom, which is intimately related to independence, really means. “We all seek a sense of security, freedom and liberty”, he states. Yet why do we continue to suffer and impose suffering? Why do we so easily trade one form of bondage for another, perhaps in a subtler disguise?  After a detailed study of the last 7,000 years of human history, Holmes notes “…how extremely difficult it is for the human mind to conceive liberty without license, without egotism; and we can only give birth to freedom when we have conceived liberty.”

True freedom -- true liberty -- has something cosmic behind it”, he declares. The evolution of human freedom, he goes on to explain, is a slow process. If we want freedom, we must understand that freedom can never come by the imposition of a will of the minority over the majority. It is born finally, and only in such degree as some system is devised whereby individuals are allowed complete freedom so long as they do not, in their freedom, impose bondage on someone else.”

Big ideas indeed to ponder. I feel humbled as I contemplate his words, aware of the enormity of this human experience on planet earth. I am hopeful that we will one day realize this understanding of cosmic unity, so that all peoples, everywhere, can be truly free.

If you would like to read the whole transcript of his talk, you can find it here.

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