There is no freedom living on the beach
In response to my recent blog post about freedom, how to live outside the system, by showing an example of setting things up with house sitting, and getting amazing opportunities to live by the beach in exotic locations, I got this comment:
“Freedom comes in many forms. Why is it so often portrayed in THIS light ( beaches, etc ). That’s not really my ideal…. but I get that it is for a portion of others. It can be found in many ways, not just on beaches and living in other people’s expensive homes…. recognize what freedom means to you!” – Rasputin
Right on! I couldn’t agree more Rasputin.
It is in the popular psyche of society, sold through the media, that people are taught to yearn for relief from their stressed out lifestyle by going to some white sandy beach in the tropics. Because of this, many have come to equate freedom with living by a remote beach, with people delivering you food and where no one bothers you.
Thinking that that is freedom is a total fantasy. It’s not a fantasy that such a thing exists. I’ve been living that very exact lifestyle in Xcalak, Mexico for 4 months.
It’s a fantasy that people would really want that! Most people would be bored out of their minds within a month, maybe even a week!
So clearly living by the beach does not equal freedom.
In fact it’s got nothing to do with it.
What is true freedom?
True freedom of course, is beyond words, and requires nothing. You actually don’t need the beach, or money or anything to be “free”. Freedom is a feeling within.
However, for most people this is a hard thing to grasp. Few will look for the feeling of freedom in every moment. Why? Because we are emotional beings, caught up with the drama of the moment. And because we are addicted to filling our lives with drama, we have too much noise going on in our minds to experience the simple freedom of being inside every moment.
It’s for this reason that I do write about fabulous beach lifestyles… to tap into an easier desire for people to latch onto. In this example, sharing the dream of some tropical fantasy.
For me, because I’ve experienced it, I know that this is just a fantasy. Thinking that I will find freedom in particular place is a mirage on the horizon that will remain unattainable. Why unattainable? Because as long as you think your freedom dream is out there, in some physical form, you’ll end up chasing your tail.
But this deeper enquiry into what it truly means to be free is not so easy to see. Or rather, it is so easy to see, that people completely miss it. And it’s for this reason that I think people need some encouragement, some pointers along the way.
It’s ok to seek, then attain the finer things in life, believing they will grant you freedom. Perhaps they are even necessary experiences along the way, helping one to really define what actually is freedom to me…
For many this may mean that freedom starts in physical forms. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with desiring, or working towards experiences of physical “freedom”.
After all, a lot (if not most) people on the planet are feeling a sense of frustration, despair and boredom with their situation. We could call this, the Stuck State.You actually don’t need the beach, or money or anything to be “free”. Freedom is a feeling within. Click To Tweet
I think most people want to move towards feelings of freedom in their lives, and away from things like:
- HAVING to go to a job
- HAVING to pay their bills
- HAVING to deal with healthy problems
- HAVING to deal with difficult teenagers
- HAVING to deal with commuter traffic
- HAVING to turn up…
- And so on…
It’s that feeling of “HAVING TO” that is the problem.
It’s like a weight in ones heart.
The things themselves are not a problem. In fact, you might even doing love them! But if there is a sense behind them of “having to”… then you never get that break to truly relax.
Because it’s the fear of what would happen if you don’t, that is driving what you do.
This is as compared to the…
This is the desire for feelings of:
- A relaxed mind with the space to think
- Easy breathing and a relaxed body
- A carefree loving attitude towards any situation
- Lightness of being without anxiety, fear or depression
With this in mind, the true desires of freedom are more about feeling states.
I have noticed and experienced that those feeling states are more difficult to find when we stuck in:
- Jobs we don’t like
- People that don’t listen or respect us
- Surrounded by bills and obligations that we no longer want to be a part of
How often have we found ourselves in these situations, with no idea of how to get out of them!
It’s that feeling of being stuck in a sticky web that is really irksome. That feeling of stuckness, where the very lifeforce within you is getting sucked out, suffocated by monotony and stress… this is the opposite of feeling free to do as you choose.
So even though being on the beach in a tropical location is a false impression of freedom… it is true freedom if you are experiencing those feelings experienced in the freedom state.
Which means, freedom is an experience within a certain context. And contexts are everything. The context of your life dictates your experience of life.
Shift your context, and you shift your life.
That is why you can experience a state of freedom even pilled up with bills, obligations and non-stop demands. However, for most people, that is a difficult task.
I know it certainly was for me!
So, we seek to shift our physical world first, which then helps us re-define our inner context. We want to show ourselves a physical representation of what we think “freedom” is, to help convince ourselves that we are now “free”.
This is even why Buddhist monks done robes and live in remote monasteries seeking to free themselves from the limitations of desire and attachment. It’s a physical alteration that shifts their context, to prove to themselves that they’re now closer to the truth, further along the path.
But again… all these things are mere fantasies. None of them are real.
You don’t “need” to do anything to be free.
You are free. You just don’t know it.
So, that’s why it’s ok to give ourselves permission to pursue fantasy manifestations of what we think are our hearts desires that involve dream locations, lots of money, adoration, sex and delicious food. Because we think those will demonstrate to us that we are now finally free.
It’s a process. It’s a game. Give yourself permission to feel all these things, and you’ll find out the truth for yourself.
Keep limiting yourself, and blocking your desires, and you’ll be forever trapped in on a tread mill, running fast, but getting no where. Not there’s any where to get.
So because it’s a game, you can give yourself permission to just play it. And the rules are, you simply follow your heart. You follow your authentic desires and allow them to guide you through the onion of unfolding layers of what you think freedom IS to you right now. Until it changes and morphs into the next thing. And so on.
Tim Ferriss tells a wonderful story in the “Four Hour Work Week” about a Mexican fisherman that demonstrates the illusions of our deepest desires.
American consultant was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied only a little while.
The consultant then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time.
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American consultant scoffed, “I am business consultant and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.
“You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American consultant replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?” asked the fisherman.
The consultant laughed, and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public. You’ll become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions, senor?” replied the Mexican. “Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
But typically we have to experience the depths of this for ourselves to really get it. Or perhaps not. Perhaps you can get it right now and fast track yourself through 20 years.
I took me the 20 year trip to get this message. Do you need to?