I sometimes hear people talk about freedom in connection with spirituality.
It makes sense, from one perspective. As long as we take ourselves to be a separate being in the world, it’s easy to also experience a lack of freedom and desire for freedom, and spirituality may seem to offer a hope of that freedom.
And yet, that’s not really how it is, in my experience.
Here are some ways of using the word freedom, and also where the word doesn’t make sense anymore.
There may be a relative freedom as a human being in the world, for instance freedom of speech and religion, political freedom, the freedom that comes from access to opportunities and money, and so on.
There is a sense of “freedom” that comes from realizing (more of) the nature of reality and the nature of illusion. A freedom from being blindly caught in certain beliefs. At least, it may be experienced as a form of freedom in the early honeymoon phase.
There may also be a sense of lack of freedom from being bound to God’s will (aligning with reality, what’s here) and God’s guidance (the quiet inner voice, the guidance of the heart, the guidance of the soul). There may be a struggle with this, and it’s also a sweet “lack of freedom”.
There is also, as Adyashanti points out, freedom to. Freedom to welcome what’s here, to be with it, to meet it. A freedom to that comes from noticing that what’s here is already allowed, that it’s already awakeness, presence, love, that it’s what “I” am. And that may be supported by inquiry, prayer, meditation, contemplation etc.
And yet, if all is Spirit the word freedom doesn’t make sense. The me that seeks freedom is the dream that reality wakes up from.
So does spirituality have to do with freedom? In a very limited sense, yes.
And yet, if anything, a process of reality waking up to itself is humbling. It’s a process of this human self aligning with Spirit, with the will of God – as what’s here, and as guidance of the heart and soul. It’s a process of Spirit recognizing itself as all there is, and this human self functioning within that recognition.