Inside the pages: Jazz of the Spirit II: Freedom.

Excerpt from the book:

Freedom Constraints:

Fear and guilt—these are the most common emotions
used to control you This is a specialty of institutions,
families, religions, governments and relationships.

Why constrain your freedom? It is a powerful way to
make another person do what one wants. However, the
result is disastrous. In essence, when we alter another’s
behavior to conform to our way of thinking, we inhibit
their ability to feel good about themselves.

Elements of society, religion, families, and significant others might attempt to control your behavior by using fear and guilt. The essence of your freedom reflects in your quality of life. Maintaining consistent and healthy images of your self-worth and your self-image depend partly on avoiding emotional thieves. Freedom does not mean that you can do anything you want. Society must
have some order to survive. What it does mean is that you
have the right to free will, the ability to control your
mind and your body.

Power is also a good thing. Power is not always evil.  When you use power in a positive way, it can lead to growth and opportunity. It is the abuse of power, which makes it evil. When you use power to make positive changes in the world, this is a good thing. Any
actions that abuse, violate, disrespect, or harm any
creation, especially humans, are profoundly evil.

Each of us has the capacity for good. However, things can
go wrong along the way. There are distortions of the
mind that can make one focus on evil. Some people
are evil because they do not understand. Others will
turn to inward or outward violence out of desperation
or hopelessness. Some are just plain evil.

Recognizing the difference will make it easy to avoid being a victim.
When power is abusive, there are either victims or
persecutors. Be cautious that you are not a shade of grey between these two extremes.

In order to understand freedom, you must first look at how you lose it. We will explore the ways that fear and
guilt inflict on us and it will demonstrate the influence
that others have when forming and maintaining the paradigms that are good for them, bad for you.

Religious Constraints
Effective faith breeds a fertile ground of hope and a spirit of charity. When we see ourselves as weak, it is impossible to fi nd the strength to better the world.  Many religions advise us that if we do not follow the
tenants of their specific faith we will go to hell. This is a fear tactic. No one wants to spend eternity in hell.

Even though we may feel like your living in hell on earth,
apparently we need to adhere to the rules so that
this hell does not extend into eternity. Ha! The leaders of
religious institutions have perfected the use of both
fear and guilt. More than any other source, religions
infl ict guilt throughout the execution of organized faith
experiences. The authority figures, the ministers and
clergy, place themselves above the laity to accomplish
this. It is as if there are two separate hierarchies. The
tenant of the scriptures promotes the servant ideal.
The clergy, as representatives of the higher power, are
there to serve us; to help us attain increasing levels of
spiritual growth. How can we accomplish this when
faith leaders dwell on our weaknesses? When they deny
our fundamental self-worth and assail us as sinners,
how can we have any hope of success?
I do not condemn all ministers or all faiths. I have
experienced both the positive and the negative. When
faith has the ability to help us rise above the ordinary
and soar to new heights, this is good.

Effective faith experiences are those that can energize us. Faith has the ability to lift us to higher ground.
A faith structure must assist us in interpreting the ancient writing within the perspective of life today. All the earlier writers, including those who wrote the scriptures, were people like us, with the same frailties. We learn a great deal from these writings when we see their joys, sorrows, struggles, and triumphs within the context of the message. Just remember that scripture
translations have transpired over thousands of years
and many times over. Each translator, out of necessity,
had to guess or compromise in the choice of language
to convey the original authors’ ideas. The scriptures
written long after the fact include the writers’ personal
interpretations. There were no recorders or videos of the
events, so we must rely on the perspective and point of
view of the scribes.

Corporate Constraints
The corporations of the modern world are a major part of our socio-economic life. US Corporations operate under the rights and privileges of people and enjoy the protection of the 14th Amendment of the
US Constitution. I believe in the free market. I have the conviction that freedom relies on our ability to have adequate financial resources to maintain an effective life style.

Economic support and economic
interdependence is a case for world peace.

In the developed nations, gone are the days when we could easily trade chickens and
pigs as our bartering system. Money is the barter of today. However, people run corporations. As people, any corporation can inflict the same constraints as any
other institution. Corporations have a responsibility to all of their stakeholders. The stakeholders include the customers, employees, community, and stockholders.
When corporate leaders act irresponsibly, they inflict harm and constraint on the community of stakeholders. Corporations have a responsibility to grow and protect
the integrity of the enterprise. When short-term profit becomes the focus, at the expense of the future of the enterprise, it results in constraints for everyone.

Family Constraints
Families have perfected the ability to create guilt. In fact, the family is the most prone of all the institutions to inflict it. The family brings its collection of cultural and ancestral traditions to the arena of life. In addition
to the family, the sub-cultural and faith traditions of the entire community combine with your early formation to establish a model that controls your actions and behavior.
Loving families are significant instruments in your ability to function but all families have a great influence on your behavior

Relationships form the domain where you spend the
majority of your life. Sharing life with others requires a
balance of respect for the beliefs and life style of others,
with the ability to maintain sufficient self-reliance.
When the equilibrium of this balance distorts the scales
away from you, things become difficult. It does not
mean that the other person is evil and attempting to
control you. Although many times this is really the case,
it is not the norm. It simply means that the other person
is so absorbed in his or her own thoughts and patterns
that he or she does not really see you. You must first
determine the level of control that the other is exerting.

In closing, there are many different ways that you can
lose the quality of freedom. Control is a state of being,
in which you deal with situations that try to victimize
you. Control is impossible when you are aware of
what is happening, when you have the knowledge to
understand the nature of freedom and you value the
critical element of self-worth.