I want to speak about a particular ‘concept’, a ‘concept’ which I personally live by, and this is ‘inner freedom’. For many, they never really reach this point in life. Often people are so very broken due to previous experiences, insecurities or life circumstances that they feel it is impossible to reach it or refuse to believe that it exists in reality. And for many, it is and remains so throughout their lives, but for me, it is a reality and I will explain why. In doing so, I will explore the phenomena of self-acceptance and love.
Inner freedom is a process of self-acceptance, accepting yourself as you are and in every way possible from your insecurities to your experiences. It is the ability to understand yourself and the ability to grasp and form your own path towards the truth in life – inner freedom. It is this greater understanding one must endeavour for and I understand that although it is extremely difficult to reach, it is not impossible; it can be a reality as I will show.
What I mean by “self-acceptance” is understanding and accepting your natural flaws/insecurities and welcoming change, whether this change is good or bad because it is this experience which sculpts your inner being.
By self-acceptance, I mean accepting and understanding your past. I mean to never dwell on a past experience. A past experience remains in the past and there is nothing that one can do to change it, whether this may have been a good or bad experience. The issue I find with many people, however, is that they never really learn to let go of previous experiences and, as a result, the insecurities that they have developed determine their present and future in everything they reach out for. It affects everything in their life – from relationships to their work, and every single day that passes they die inside. They never really feel “complete”. They instead feel a great sense of emptiness. So, they are never really living. This is what you call “self-destruction” and the destruction of your inner being. You must live for the present! Thinking about yesterday and tomorrow drains your beautiful time today. For me, this is a waste! You must accept yesterday as it is, no matter the pain and misery you suffered and endured. By accepting your past and forgiving anything that may have happened, you are digging your path towards inner freedom. You are stronger as a being; you are in the process of making a god within you.
As the Omar Khayam rightly says: “one thing that is certain is this life”. There is no guarantee of another life, whether I or you like it or not. So why continue allowing yourself to die, every day, by not accepting and forgiving anything that may have happened in your past? So, I ask you again, why do you allow yourself to die every day?
When you do come to this understanding and realisation, your approach to any worries or insecurities that may arise now, or in the future, will have changed, and you will not allow it to destroy your inner being. Your previous worries may still be there in some way, but they do not burden you as they did before. As such, you can overcome and assimilate your previous experiences and inner worries. With this sense of inner freedom, you are no longer emotionally and mentally tied to any previous experience which you have suffered immensely. Your mind is free, and through this understanding you start feeling complete. This is when life starts all over again because you are only alive if you are living.
With self-acceptance comes love. In Plato’s symposium, Socrates says:
“A being who practices the mysteries of love will not be in contact with a reflection, but with truth itself. To know this blessing of human nature one can find no better help than love”
And I agree; only through reaching this final element can you reach inner freedom. As Abdullah Ocalan rightly says: “the truth in life is love and love is truth”. Now “love can only arise out of your consciousness not your body but your inner most being, lust arises out of your body”. Often many confuse the two and, as Osho rightly says:
“‘Very few people have come to know known love. Those are the people that become so silent, so peaceful and out of that silence and peace they have come in contact with their inner most being, their soul. Your love becomes not a relationship, but a shadow to you. Where ever move with, whomever you move, you are loving”.
They are ultimately “two names of one experience” (Socrates). Love is not attachment, infatuation, nor mere lust. Love is a state of freedom; one can never depend on their oneness from another being, a being to complete them, because this would otherwise be a state of dependency. Dependency is not freedom/love, and as I just stated, love is a state of freedom. Only through self-acceptance and love can you then start loving others.
As Osho continues:
“Love is not a phenomenon that can be confined. You can have it in your open hands but you cannot have it in your closed hands. The moment your hands are closed, it is empty. The moment they are open, the whole of existence is available to you”.
This phenomenon is the most beautiful thing we are capable of as beings. Understanding love does not come easy at all, but we are all capable of grasping it. This is the truth in life, and once you do love you love everything in a loving and passionate way. You learn to appreciate and adore the beauty of life regardless of the reality. The ability to live and feel alive comes from within and not from other beings. If it did, though, that would be dependency. And this is everything but love. This is what destroys the inner being, and you have to move back to step one to ever overcome this self-destruction – self-acceptance.
So very often I see people getting involved with one another who confuse lust, attachment, dependency, infatuation or other things for love. In so many marriages, all I see is emptiness and unhappiness. Why is this the case? They have entered into social contracts, but only to realise it was never love because they never understood what love is – they confused everything else with love. Even within relationships, people are eager to enter into them, but, of course, as soon as they do, it doesn’t take long for them to take the other for granted; they feel they know the other person inside and out. This is why their understanding of love becomes confined – love is not something which can be confined.
What Osho and I encourage is to relate to oneself and another. Because it is through relating that we are eager to know the other, every day, and thus stop taking them for granted. Through relating, you move from lustfulness to love. As Rumi says: ‘Anyone who knows me, should learn to know me again; for I am the moon, you see me with a new face every day’.
It is in this way that we love because love is a state of freedom – not one of imprisonment. Regardless of that person being in your life or not, you must wish them the best in life, to see them happy. You must forgive and accept this as your past. You may have love for this person for the rest of your life, or even in lives after this one. However, this does not mean you cannot love again. Love is a state of freedom! The moment your freedom is threatened or taken over, love becomes something else – not love.
So very often I see people getting involved with one another when they have yet to overcome their past experiences, experiences which have left them with many great insecurities, experiences which they once thought was love (or they still continue to do so). This is the very definition of self-destruction. The destruction of your inner being drives you far away from inner-freedom and the truth in life (Love). Throughout this process, they never loved themselves. However, they were willing to get involved again and again only to create and encourage more insecurities and emptiness. In aiding this self-destruction, they hold onto their broken feelings, which often leads to many other things such as depression, low self-esteem and/or the supposed fact that love does not exist.
Now, I say this again, once you experience self-acceptance, the ability to love comes. Love is a state of freedom. Even when we start loving others, sometimes, “you do not really know the depths of your love, until the hour of separation”, as Khalil Gibran says. We do not realise the depths of our love for this other until they are not there any longer, by then it’s often too late. Something I have grown to believe, however, is that you can love again. Now, this does not mean your love for this other person disappears, it may still be there and it may continue to be there even in lives after this one. However, you can love again. Just as a good friend of mine once told me: “just because a beautiful being walks into your life, it does not mean they have to stay”. Something we should all bear in mind.
I am not telling you how to love. However, through loving and accepting yourself you are free. From this comes the ability to love others. It is only through this understanding that you feel no state of emptiness. Though this, no matter what issues you face, you are able to overcome them. This has worked for me personally. But we all have our different paths towards the truth in life, and by sharing my own experience and thoughts I hope that everyone will be able to reach theirs. For me, the truth in life is a state of inner freedom, which can be achieved through self-acceptance and love. The truth in life comes down to this very reality or ‘concept’, as I described at the beginning of this writing. It is up to you, in whether you believe it to be a concept or whether you live it as a reality, because it is the foundational pillar towards the truth in life. Once you come across this understanding, your problems will continue to arise in life regardless, of course, as I mentioned before, but your attitude and inner being will have changed in the way it perceives such worries or problems. But you feel a state of completeness with this understanding, and I, personally, do feel this and live with this understanding. Now, this is a great time to state something very important: that each being is different, and their experiences are never truly the same. But one thing we are all capable of is that you can love and, yes,can love again.
Kojin is an LLM law student at the University College London.
He is also the co-founder of the Kurdish LGBTQ platform – UK. Besides his studies, Philosophy of life is a passion of his.