Freedom is the ability to choose; it’s having options, and it doesn’t always have to refer to tangible choices such as whether to eat an omelet or pancakes for breakfast, or whether to wear a turtleneck or tank top, or even with whom we associate. Freedom of choice applies to our perspective, how we view the world and our place in it. Happiness is a choice we make every day, and freedom empowers us with that choice.
On the topic of freedom, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Sometimes, when we stop and reflect, we need to believe that the work we are doing has a meaning beyond the tedium of the everyday. In fact, if we cannot see some larger connection in what we are doing, we often experience a feeling of loss or emptiness.
We know, somewhere deep inside us, that even if what we are doing doesn’t exactly have a great cosmic meaning, the way we go about it and the interactions we have with others around our work can give it meaning beyond itself. Regardless of what we do, we do have an opportunity to make it sacred work.
I always have the freedom for a sacred possibility.”
I often feel this way with regard to my work. Part of it, I believe, is due to the fact that it has become so ingrained in society (particularly for my generation) that we must deeply love what we do. It is considered noble to follow your dreams, even if it means being poor, and you are a sell out if you choose an occupation because it pays well. Today’s meditation, however, gives me reason to believe there is more to this feeling of emptiness and loss with regard to my career than simply the pressure to be passionate about one’s work. I do often feel a lack of meaning in the everyday tedium of my job. While I know my company creates technology that makes the world a better place, some days it feels as though I myself have little impact in my role. I’m not making the world a better place; I’m just trying to convince people to buy something. However, when I shift my perspective to view my role through the lens not of what I do, but how I do it—when I consider the lives I touch in the relationships I develop with colleagues and clients, or that I am working toward a greater purpose to attract more students to STEM and serve a wider community of people—I feel more positive about it. Freedom is the ability to choose how we perceive the world and our place in it. We have the ability to make our lives what we wish by the simple act of focusing our thoughts and perceptions.