Freedom what does it really mean?
From a very young age, I longed for release from pain and war. Born as a freedom-loving Sagittarius to German Jew Refugees during World War ll, my desire for freedom guided my life until today.
In my search for self-liberation, I have gone through different stages of understanding. I grew up in a warring environment and a home where my parents fought bitterly, particularly since they too dealt with a heavy cloud caused by the loss of family in Germany. In addition to the inner turmoil at home, outside we suffered the fear of physical attack and death in the streets of Jerusalem, Palestine under the British mandate rule (now Israel.) Influenced by my parents and the overwhelming atmosphere, I wanted to get away from such oppression. I longed for the privilege of having food rather than going hungry, and freedom from the fear of war and guns. The wish to unload the heaviness on my shoulders from the age of three, guided my urge to escape and find another way. Later, as an adolescent, I reluctantly succumbed to parental supervision and the provincial rule-based society I lived in at the time. But I dreamed of liberation as soon as possible.
Luckily for me, my father left us and emigrated to the U.S.A. When I reached my late twenties, he invited me to visit him in New York for the summer. My encounter with the American culture greatly enlarged and transformed my idea of freedom. Visiting and then living in a leisure-oriented society void of any inkling of real war or hunger on the land, I found America to be the pinnacle of abundance and plenty, so opposite from the culture I came from. I had just arrived at the end of yet another Israeli war. The American culture focused on undoing oppression by fighting the established conservative political structure and by supporting the change in my attitude toward the underdog. Specifically, I saw the black community fighting for liberation from injustice based on history’s legacy of slavery. Kris Kristofferson and Joplin’s timely Bobbie McGee, song -“freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’ brings in another version of the topic of liberation as surrender for a cause bigger than life. This invited me to consider surrender as the next exploration for my evolution.
A bit later, when I landed in California, freedom looked to me as license to indulge in hedonism, criticisms of the system and the rest of what the Hippie movement offered: sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, as they called it then. Initially I felt aghast, then joined in and enjoyed the hedonistic experience until I burned out on it. It didn’t bring me immunity from anxiety, or negative reactions to work, or relationships.
I urgently searched for “real” freedom that would allow me a state of contentment, peace of mind and satisfaction. I realized this was different from carte blanche behavior.
I wanted to find inner freedom, a true liberation from suffering. I chose meditation as my path now. It presented a challenge, but helped me look squarely into my inner resistance, unhappiness, and arrogant judgements. I knew I had finally found the true source of freedom. This journey continues to offer opportunities and an interior wisdom. It also opens my heart with more love, something I longed for from the beginning of my life. To learn more about the journey I took to come home, check my memoir: From Mud to Lotus: I meant to behave but there were too many other options. There you can find more in-depth explorations of the topic.