The topic of this post is the process of becoming “free.” Not in the sense of living in a country where we talk about our personal freedoms and what it means to have freedom of speech and such. Being truly free is when you are at peace with yourself (mind, body, soul) and everything else (world, environment, etc.). Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this as “Flow”: when we are so focused on purpose or so enthralled by it that we become utterly and truly free.
Free Through Actions
I once observed this in a snowboarder. His every movement looked like it was the perfection of movement. The way he would glide over the snow and flow from one form to the next guiding his soul through space and time almost has no comparison. The closest thing may be watching a child play, dance, or run about — it is simply graceful and enjoyable.
Free Through Self-Exploration
Reading about meditative experiences or states of those gifted in articulation does the same thing. The author is becoming one with herself and acquiring the state of being that seems pure. There is no judgement, no loss of experience through the critical self. And what can be so amazing and noteworthy is when such individuals realize or become completely aware of how much of this has been part of an ongoing process over years of their lives. The culmination of existence and practice can approach flow state, but only if the person has awareness of their process and refrains from criticism.
Free Through Sport
I am such an avid believer in sport being able to teach you everything you can know about yourself — which, of course, both remains the same and changes over time. The self who you know today will be the same self in a decade, but that self, paradoxically, will also be different as well. Without sport, or undertaking particular challenges with mindfulness and reflection, you face a difficult time understanding yourself and how you respond to obstacles and discomfort. Challenges are what make us face ourselves and ask more of ourselves than we believe we are capable. I cannot even begin to explain how every athlete will have to face this mountain — doubting themselves when friends, coaches, colleagues, teammates, etc. all tell the athlete that they are fully capable of something that they are struggling with. Once the athlete starts to climb, they start to engage that part of themselves that will blossom into Flow — and become absolutely free within themselves.