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Freedom is an Inside Job

By Karen Wright

I've often contemplated the true meaning of freedom and independence and have come to realize that these are not rights that I receive as much as they are responsibilities that I have. Yes, in the outer world, to have freedom I must uphold my responsibilities for governance. But, true freedom and independence are only realized when we choose responsibility for our thoughts, our beliefs, and our way of being.

As Viktor Frankl, WWII Holocaust survivor and Austrian psychologist, recognized during his internment in the Nazi death camps - man's last human freedom is the freedom to choose his response to any situation. Even when his body was imprisoned, Viktor realized that no one, other than himself, could imprison his mind. Are you free? Do your thoughts imprison you in doubt and worry and regret? Or do you consciously choose to take responsibility for your thoughts and thus choose freedom?

Focus: Attention
Many words and phrases in our lives have lost a subtle, but crucial definition. One such word is FOCUS. We use this word to mean a targeted attention to something. When we tell someone that we can't seem to focus, we usually mean that we get distracted from the issue upon which we are trying to concentrate.

This version of focus indicates that we're in a high state of observation - ATTENTION to what is. When we use our sight to observe, we become spectators in life - a very passive role. Even if we take action on what it is that we are observing, our actions are chosen in response to the thing we are paying attention to.

For instance, let's say that someone backed into my car in a parking lot. The situation itself has no inherent meaning. Simply, an event took place. I decide what its going to mean to me and align my behavior and thoughts with that meaning.

If I interpret the situation as intentional, I might get angry and seek revenge for such disrespect and abuse. If I interpret the situation as accidental, I might get annoyed that my car is damaged, but I'll probably be less angry. In either case, I take my cue for reacting from how I interpret and give meaning to the situation. I observe, interpret and respond.

We have endless opportunities to respond to what is in life. Our response will either cause us additional stress or it will offer greater peace depending upon how well we manage our emotions and stay focused on what outcome we really want.

Focus: Intention
But, let's consider a higher level of FOCUS. Instead of merely using our thought to observe something that is, we can use the power of our thought to create what we want. Think of a laser. It is an intensely powerful beam of light used to act upon something else. Your thoughts are like that light - concentrated into a powerfully creative force to bring about your desire - your INTENTION.

This is a highly directed form of focus. This isn't about observing what is, it's creating what is not yet, but desired. This is the truest and most powerful use of focus. To intend into being, not attend to what is.

Using thought to create what we want rather than merely observe what already is, is the purpose of consciousness. How do you use your thoughts? Have you considered that thought is creative? Thoughts become things! What will you intend into being with your focused thoughts?

"It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny."—Jean Nidetch "Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself."—Robert F. Bennett "Responsibility is the price of freedom." —Elbert Hubbard
Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.
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