On a journey to the Pre-Columbian archeological site of Tiwanaku in the Andes of western Bolivia, I got separated from my travel companions. The site closed for the day, trapping me inside. A fence topped with razor-wire prevented my escape. I walked along the fence looking for a way out. As daylight began to fade, I found a break in the fence and squeezed through. Off in the distance, I spotted a dirt road. Left or right? I chose right.
A sudden thunderstorm soaked me to the bone. Shivering, I slogged through ankle-deep mud. Low ominous clouds made the blackest night fall fast. I was completely disoriented. Strangely, I felt no dread, no worry. Every cell in my body told me that nothing mattered—my family, my career, my life, not even my possible death. Everything felt irrelevant. That’s when real freedom struck me! Janis popped in. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” In that moment, I had nothing to defend or protect.
Each July 4th we Americans celebrate our freedoms. Many of us think of them as being derived from wars bravely fought and evil “others” defeated. I honor all those who fight these external wars, including my dad, mom and one of my sisters.
To me, external wars are internal ones denied. I am engaging the internal war, the only war that ends all wars. Combat with ego can be brutal. Ego’s divisive voice is the real terrorist. It declares there is an “other.” It could be a fellow human, the Earth, or my Creator out to get me. Ego dies a thousand deaths. This is the only war won by surrender.
When I surrender to the oneness of my Soul, the illusion of “other” dissolves. Without “other” to judge or to judge me, there is no victim or perpetrator, no blame, shame or fault. The need for external conflict falls away, my mind’s creative capacities are free to serve my heart.
Inner freedom feels like all my senses are singing in harmony. My body feels luminous, at one with everything. I smile for no apparent reason.
Moment-by-moment mindfulness sustains this freedom. On my morning walk the other day, I caught myself judging an “other.” Immediately I felt imprisoned like I did at Tiwanaku. Escape required me to surrender again. A self-correcting measure emerged. I reframed my thoughts and language to acknowledge our oneness. The “other” dissolved. I was free again.
This 4th of July I celebrate the progress I’ve made in gaining the freedom to respond from my Soul’s Essence rather than react from ego’s conditioning. It’s a freedom available to all who dare to surrender in order to bring forth the New Earth.