Today, India is celebrating its 75th independence day. It is a big day. 75 years ago, the British got out of the car and handed over the steering wheel to Indian people. So yes, we are independent of the British rule. We have our own government now. We have our own constitution, our own rules, our own dreams to follow and our own identity in the world. Our independent India allows us freedom to choice of education, freedom to run our business, and freedom to choose the government.
But are we truly free? Free as an individual? Inner independence!
Aren’t we still in the prison of divisive views, wrong understanding, and ignorance? Aren’t we still in the prison of afflicting or troublesome emotions like hate, jealousy, lust, anger and pride? Aren’t we still in the prison of reactive behavior, biases and prejudices? Aren’t we in the prison of egoistic thinking, self-delusion, and attachments?
Who will struggle for our inner independence? There is no one else. We have to struggle with our inner prison on our own. Another person cannot get us out. We have to break the walls, open the lock and walk out.
The biggest hurdle in this struggle is the perception that one is free already. Just because there is outer independence, does not mean there is inner independence. Since we believe that we are already free, there seems to be no need for any struggle.
The struggle may begin when one becomes aware of one’s being in the inner prison. The choice is clear. Stay in the prison, do what the guards tell you to do so as to avoid any punishments and carry on the life in prison thinking there is no way out. The other choice is to break the patterns of conformity and try to break free. The world will prevent it. Others who are with you in the prison will dissuade you from attempting to escape.
Fighting with the powers does not help. The powers are too strong. Just like India’s independence was won with the power of non-violence and non-cooperation, so must the inner struggle be carried out with non-judgmental awareness and non-cooperation with your inner compulsive desires.
Inner freedom is possible and it is your birthright. You must aim for that. Inner freedom allows you to be your true self without pretending to be someone else, it allows you to love everyone without limitations and it allows you to lead a conscious life leading to inner joy.