One of my values in life is freedom – I don’t accept any kind of restrictions or limits or control while making my choices. I never understood why I have also been a very responsible person… right from when I was a child. I didn’t like anyone telling me what to do, but I intuitively understood that if I chose something, I am responsible for that choice. A simple thing like wanting a dog … I did clean Jaggu (my first dog), take him out for his walks and I knew he was my responsibility.
Now when I am 48, I see that many people keep saying “once all my responsibilities are done, I will be free” or “I couldn’t pursue the career of my choice because I had a child” or “I got married to the wrong person, now am stuck” or “my parents are my responsibility and they don’t let me travel” etc etc etc.
Today morning my fellow coach Atul sent this beautiful story that Osho shared in one of his discourses (Atul, I confirmed it) –
A man came to Junaid, a Sufi mystic, and asked him, ”What do you say about pre-determination, kismet, fate, and the freedom of man? Is man free to do whatever he wants to do? Or is he simply a puppet in the hands of an unknown puppeteer, who simply dances the dance that the puppeteer chooses?”
Junnaid is one of the few beautiful mystics. He shouted at the man, ”Raise up one leg!”
The man was a very rich man; Junnaid knew it. All the disciples, the whole school knew about it – and he had shouted so loudly and so rudely, “Raise one leg up!” And the rich man had never followed anybody’s orders; he had not gone there to follow orders. And he could not conceive even a far off, far-fetched, off-the-wall relationship between his question and this answer. But when you are facing a man like Junnaid you have to follow him.
He raised his right leg. Junnaid said, ”That is not enough. Now raise the other, too.” Now the man was at a loss, and angry also. He said, ”You are asking absurdities! I had come to ask a philosophical question – that you simply dropped without answering. You asked me to raise one leg, I raised my right leg. And now you are asking me to raise the other, too. What do you want? How can I raise both legs?”
Junnaid said, “Then sit down. Have you received the answer to your question or not?” The man said, “The answer to my question has not been given yet. Instead you have been training me in this parade!”
Junnaid said, “See the point: when I said, ‘Raise one of your legs’ you had the freedom to choose either the right or the left. Nobody was determining it, it was your choice to raise the right leg. But once you had chosen the right leg you could not choose the left too. It is your freedom that has determined the fact of your bondage. Now your left leg is in bondage.”
Man is half free and half in bondage, but he is free first.
And it is his freedom, how he uses his freedom, that determines his bondage. There is nobody sitting there writing in your head or making lines on your palms. Even an omnipotent God must be tired by now, doing this stupid thing of making lines on people’s hands. And so many people are coming… writing in everybody’s head what he is going to be, where he is going to be born, when he is going to die, what disease, what doctor is going to kill him. All these details!
You are free, but each act of freedom brings a responsibility – and that is your bondage. Either call it ‘bondage’, which is not a beautiful word, or call it ‘responsibility’. That is what I call it. You choose a certain act – that is your freedom – but then the consequences will be your responsibility.
Need I say more ? And can I really say it any better than Osho has – No. So the message is simple, you are free to choose, your choice makes you responsible for the consequences.
My suggestion to parents is – read this story out to your children as a bedtime story. Its very important for children to know that they are free to do what they choose to but they automatically become responsible for the consequences. If they choose to watch TV instead of study for their exams, they are responsible for their marks being lower… Also parents who force their children towards a course of action, like studying to be an engineer (my pet peeve, nowadays), are assuming responsibility for their child’s misery if becoming an engineer is not their child’s choice.
Lets view this in the adult world – we are free to elect anyone in a democracy to the highest office of the country, but we also suffer the consequences of our choice… so choose wisely. India chose wisely after 67 years !!! When we got our independence in 1947, Pakistan did too – they chose to let religion run the country, and are suffering the consequences. India chose to let dynastic democracy run the country, and we suffered the consequences. Ok, you want me to say it? Closer home, Delhi chose their CM …. Hahahahahahah, do you get it? Stop having that pained expression on your face, dear Delhiite.
Bottom Line on Top – stop blaming anyone else for your misfortunes or the state of your country or even your personal finances – everything is a result of your choice and you are free to choose the life you want to lead, just remember, every choice comes with consequences ! Choose the consequences you want in your life and then take the actions that will result in that consequence. Stephen R. Covey also said the same thing “Begin with the end in mind” :):).
So, if you are wondering whether you are free, I declare, you are free !! Go ahead, be responsible too.