When I look at birds:
The inherent emotion of being free…as free as a bird gets stronger and deeper. Many times when I look at the birds I feel the urge to fly and reach wherever I wish within seconds. This thought fills me with an air of independence, of being my own master, away from the bindings and attachments of this world.
And then this reflection of Charlotte Bronte comes to my mind:
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
And I become astutely aware of all the nets that ensnare us! Growing up in a close- knit family, bound by the love and fear of stepping away, guided by the ethics and sermons of our parents and teachers!
Where was the feeling of freedom?
Two questions often come to my mind:
Was it good to feel tied? Did those shackles harm my personality?
I’ll try to answer these questions in the later part of this post.
When I look at children:
Their presence around me infuses extra enthusiasm. Have you noticed the efforts of children to break free of all the restrictions to get out of our hands and move away, to explore all the nooks and crannies around the house and even outside, wherever they can reach?
When they have explored the approachable surroundings, their curiosity doesn’t cease…it intensifies!
We are by nature, inquisitive and independent yet we have to face fetters at each step. “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains,” said the famous philosopher, Rousseau.
We may possess the will to be independent but do we have the power to follow that will?
When I look at youngsters:
I marvel at their will power and determination. This is the freest stage, with hardly any restraints because they can flout all of them, without actually admitting that they have done so… rarely having a feeling of guilt! Any so-called fetters do not bind them because they have the power and the tactics to break them in their own adroit ways!
They believe in the dictum: “Freedom is never given, it is won”—A.Philip Randolph.
They don’t let any boundaries hold them from exploring… except the values, if they have been inculcated at the right time and in the right way.
They say… we should have the freedom of choice once we cross the teenage and many people on this globe do have the liberty to take their own decisions, marry according to their choice and live their life as they wish to, sometimes like an island!
And this brings me back to my questioning attitude:
Are they all happy?
Don’t they regret many of their decisions, later in life?
Don’t they want to put restrictions on their teenagers and even young adults?
I know, as young adults, we resist those barriers, we wait to break free, learn our own lessons and rightly so but do we understand the fact that our life is connected with so many people…those who raised us, those who protected us from thorny and dark alleys but suddenly they have to snap off those ties to give you your life, the way you want to live?
When I look at it as an adult:
In a way, I appreciate the eastern values of responsibility and attachment, the delicate threads of relationships that bind us in social norms and contracts, which we understand only when we become mature adults.
We start loving those chains, which appeared oppressive at a young age. We realize the significance of attention and care, which we now expect from our own children. We become more empathetic towards our own parents, siblings and other close members of the family.
As our mental horizon widens, we realize that real chains that we need to shed are the burdens of racial discrimination, economic disparity, religious dogmas, intolerance and social injustice, which still weigh heavily on our shoulders.
Emotions run rife over many such issues in many parts of the globe, questioning freedom of thought and action.
Do we ever think about those who don’t even have the basic freedom, whose emotions are trampled upon even before they can communicate them? Such people crave for bird like freedom.
What is your definition of freedom? Do you have emotional freedom? I would love to hear your views.
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