Return to True Freedom

Büşra Demir
5 minutes

I think the feeling that awakens in many of us when we watch a bird flying in the sky is freedom. Even the dream of taking wings, of soaring through the sky, free of everything that binds us to the world with gravity and our invisible shackles, is enough to sprinkle a few drops of the feeling of freedom on us.

I believe that ‘freedom’, like love and understanding, is one of the basic human needs. Otherwise, there would not have been wars to the death against captivity throughout history, and so many heroic stories and epics would not have been told. The fact that freedom is still frequently emphasized in constitutions, human rights declarations and squares should be an indication of how timeless and spatially independent it is. But do you think the nature of the concept of freedom is in line with the understanding of freedom as perceived by today’s modern society?

I would like to share an anecdote to explain the transformation of this concept in my own world.

Many years ago, a close friend of mine turned to a life coach to help her overcome some difficulties in her life. He then took out his pen and paper to share with us a practice he had learned there and asked us about our values. The most prominent value for me was freedom. As a wife and mother of two children, my dream of freedom was to leave everyone behind and go to distant lands, to become a true traveler and listen to the stories of people, societies and geographies for weeks and months, and to filter the meanings of life from these stories. I always saw freedom in going ‘physically’.

Today, when I look around me with such an experience and a consciousness transformed by time, I see freedom caught somewhere between an inner drive and modern ways of living. In the ‘you are important’ in self-help books, in the office chairs of fathers who forget their families, in the small(!) getaways of fathers who have forgotten their families, in the career ambitions of mothers who have forgotten their children, in the temporary pleasures of young people who pour their consciousness into liquor bottles, in the pretentious lives they live in ‘stories’, in women’s clothing that is far from aesthetic measures and naturalness, in large, empty houses where the neighbor’s voice cannot enter, where guests cannot decorate, and in many steps that serve to boost the consumer culture without realizing it, I always see that stuck, stuck in limbo, in search of freedom that has not reached its truth. And I ask, is freedom a player only in the physical sphere or does it have a truth that extends to the metaphysical?

“There is an I within me,” Yunus says. Having many ‘things’ but not being able to fill the emptiness in the heart, human beings seem to be trying to place freedom somewhere around the second ‘self’, that is, the self on the surface. The point where he can break all taboos, where he can freely(!) fulfill the desires at the lowest level of his existence has come to correspond to today’s concept of freedom. Unfortunately, this shallow freedom does not lead one to that inner self that Yunus talks about. On the surface, somewhere in the middle of the waves, it’s tossing and tossing. Therefore, no matter how much one tastes that shallow freedom, one cannot get rid of the emptiness in the heart, the darkness in the soul, the troubles and depressions in the chest.

The place where bodily instincts dominate the human spirit is the place where true freedom succumbs to bondage. Moreover, that captivity is so insidious that he appears in the squares as a freedom fighter, let alone showing his true identity. Reason is very valuable in such times. He is the one who can use his intellect, comprehend the truth of bondage and freedom, and build bridges from the body to the soul.

If we can turn away from the culture of consumerism and look inside, we can see the glimmer of true freedom. How is it possible to attain true freedom when our greed for consumption, our jealousy that we inflame by comparing with those who have more, our anger that grows huge at the point where we cannot make the other our own, our arrogance that we inflate with brands handcuff our hearts?

In a modern world that uses psychological science to increase consumption by stimulating impulses, we can open a door to true freedom by choosing voluntary simplicity. We should know that our impulses have a nature that cannot be satiated no matter how much we give them what they want. Because man cannot smell the eternal, the beautiful through these superficial means, he cannot get enough, he cannot be satiated. All those physical searches and attacks to satisfy your hunger for eternity, for the beautiful. If he knew that there is a grace that comes from beyond physics, if he knew that he would taste eternity, beauty and true freedom at the point where he can escape the bondage of shallow freedom, he would surely stop lingering on the surface. He dives to the bottom and starts looking for the pearl.

“One world is enough for two kings, but one rug is enough for two dervishes.” said the elders. It is as if all the sentences I have consumed along the lines have been freed from their excesses and become fresh and liberated. Do you think it is possible to be liberated with a sentence, a rug?

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