Are we truly able to achieve “freedom”? “I ride because I feel free;” the one statement we hear most when discussing why we ride, isn’t it? But what are we seeking freedom from? And, if we desire freedom, are we not making ourselves slaves to that desire? Freedom from what, from whom? Freedom from pain? Freedom from an abusive soul supposed to love us? Freedom from a government we disagree with? Freedom from emotions we can’t get rid of? Freedom from addictions?
WEBSTER defines freedom as follows; “the quality or state of being free such as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another: INDEPENDENCE, the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous, freedom from care, unrestricted use, the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken, answered with freedom, boldness of conception or execution”
“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” and “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a point, one can only fight fire with fire.” Nelson Mandela
Sounds great, does it not? But underneath that, what is there? What is it about really? On one hand, we can see all this as a blessing but on the other, does it not sound deeply rooted in the “me me me” mentality? This “me me me” mentality we all detest because it reveals poisonous selfishness in the human heart from the beginning of time. The “me me me” mentality that insidiously penetrates the heart of an unhappy spouse resulting in selfish betrayal or abandonment. The “me me me” mentality of entitled individuals. The “me me me” mentality of those who love to play victims.
I don’t have answers to all these questions but I do have them and the more I reflect, the more is revealed to my mind. What is this life about, really? Seeking freedom? For who? For what purpose? I actually feel most free when I don’t seek or claim my freedom. I feel most free when I give. I feel most free in altruism. I feel most free when I let go. I feel most free when I take the high road responding to anger with kindness. “A soft answer turns away wrath”. Ever tried that? It powerfully discombobulates your adversaries and defuses the most heated conflicts.
Do I feel free when I ride? If I am honest, not really but I feel closer to the rawness of this beautiful creation. Truth is, none of us will ever be free and the moment we accept this reality we start falling into place feeling free from the burden of our prideful rebellion against the required humility to become decent humans. We suffer from the illusion we are not free when we seek freedom, yet we realize our freedom when we let go.
“The truth shall set you free,” Jesus said to the Jews back in His days. What truth? Truth about what? What is the truth?
I will share one thing with you. I personally went through, and continue at times, to experience what I feel to be the most incredibly abusive evil persecution of lies I thought a human could go through by people who were supposed to love unconditionally. The one thing I can honestly tell you that helped me beyond any imaginable hope was an uncompromising search for truth in all that encompassed my existence. That is, emotions, mental, physical, spiritual, and any and all situations I faced. “What is true?” was and continues to be the question about every detail in my life at times of reflection, studies and hardships for myself, my children, those I love, and those who are not so lovable. This question guided me in understanding and forgiveness of myself and others. This question even helped me gain understanding and compassion for those most difficult to love.
Watch the movie “The Shack” and you will understand the power of what I am saying. I do not excuse evil, but understanding those who fall prey to its lies provided me with the most incredible sensation of freedom I could ever pursue on my own. So if you ask me why I ride I will tell you it’s because in those moments, in the open air, there is a space that is intentionally created for the path to understanding.
*Top photo credit: 323 Photography Studio