News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

A word about inner freedom

Last week I saw a man carrying a sign on the streets of Sisters saying “take the diaper off your face.” I felt a flash of anger, then purposely squelched the fire. That man happens to live in a country where He is FREE to have an opinion and to express it, even if it shames and belittles others. He is free.

Still, I will suggest there is another freedom slowly being syphoned from our precious moments. It concerns the pursuit of happiness, inner freedom. This inner freedom is being replaced daily with provoked indignation, disquiet — a brooding spirit.

It’s fun to be part of a tribal thought, belong to an ideal. But do we really understand that we are being programmed? That our peace of mind and peace of heart are being channeled, replaced by anger and indignation. That our autonomy is being stolen?

All of us, on all sides, are being told our freedoms are being sabotaged by the other. Voices of righteous outrage spew from the thin, rectangular box in our hand, and the mental entanglements in the forehead — our thoughts — when we idolize the echo-chamber it creates.

We are being played, manipulated by principalities of the air — hot air. The egocentric breath of leaders and talking heads stirring the pot of chaos for ratings, or power. Which by the way, translates into money. Unfortunately, deep down, most of us know this and partake anyway. It’s become an addiction.

Pandora’s Box has always been open in America. We are free to choose our self-destructive focus. But we are also free to choose self-regulation, self-control, inner peace. We are free to be our best self. I understand it can be fun to utter anything that crosses one’s mind, casting the other in terms of babyhood and idiocy. America is divided. We always have been, but it is civility that unites us, makes this country The United States of America, and that is being eroded.

There is power in disdain, unity in herd mentality, but who wants to walk around with anger churning their gut for a false sense of self and belonging? I refuse to be inflamed and incensed by the idol of identity. I am done with that. I have better things to do and think about.

I acknowledge that what I pay attention to defines me, programs me. It is what I become. Let me repeat; I become what I pay attention to. Only I can redirect the programming.

I will place my focused attention where I can make a difference. I will fill my life with positivity and inner calm. I will recognize the egocentric pundits fighting for my attention as programing, and be careful what controls my mood and attitude. I will try to see each person as a nuanced individual, no matter the signs they carry, or self-branding they display.

I am hoping we will all start to address the disquiet in our lives and begin to ask questions. What am I giving away? Am I losing inner freedoms to outer programming? Am I bringing life to my community, or adding to despair? Do I spend my precious moments on this planet in pursuit of indignation, or the pursuit of happiness?


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