Note: As this subject needs a deeper explanation the article is broken down into three parts.
1. The first deals with the nature of natural freedom
2. The second with misconceptions about freedom
3. The third about how to experience freedom.

Freedom is the absence of internal or external obstacles towards the fulfillment of our highest possible needs or happiness.

Happiness is a state we experience when our needs are fulfilled and we do not feel the pressure or pain of an unfulfilled need. A need can be physical, material, emotional, social, mental or spiritual. We can be just as unhappy because our emotional or spiritual needs are not being fulfilled as we can when our physical needs are not being fulfilled.

Our needs may also concern what we want for others such as our family, friends, society, the environment and the planet.

Our needs can be satisfied by ourselves, by others or by the “Universe” God or “Life”. When our needs are not satisfied, we feel pain, hurt, unhappiness, injustice, bitterness, disillusionment, discouraged, betrayed, depressed, angry and even hateful and revengeful towards those we believe are obstructing us.

When our needs are satisfied, we feel happy, safe, grateful and loving towards those who help us.

“Freedom” is the ability to direct our energies without obstruction towards the fulfillment of all of the above-mentioned categories of needs.

We can divide the obstacles to freedom into external and internal. In the end, however, we will see that they are all internal because an external obstacle can limit our freedom only if we fear the consequences of ignoring those external pressures or threats such as what others think or losing our job. In reality our only obstacles to freedom, happiness and love are fear and guilt and of course our beliefs that we are not free.

Freedom to Natural Rights

One type of freedom we all seek is the freedom to the natural rights of every human being – without exception. (Except perhaps for those who temporarily loose a few of those rights because they have misused their freedom in ways that are dangerous to others and thus live in prison.)
1. Freedom to move freely from place to place without obstruction from the ruling powers.
2. Freedom to think, believe and express ourselves in the ways that we are guided from within.
3. Religious, spiritual and political freedom.
4. Freedom to have equal opportunities to work, create and express ourselves.
5. Equal opportunities for education, work, economic development and expression.
6. Equal opportunities to fulfill basic needs such as food, housing, water and transportation.
7. Freedom to gather with others for the purpose of exploring common interests.
8. Equal treatment and protect by the systems of law, health and education.
9. Freedom of expression.

Freedom vs. others’ rights and needs.

It is logical and lawful that our freedoms should never create harm to others. Thus all of our freedoms are subject to the basic prerequisite that we never do to someone what we would not like them to do to us. Thus we are free to express ourselves as we feel, but with the prerequisite that we do not treat them in ways that we would not like them to treat to us.

This brings up the basic question of whether we are talking about, “freedom for the personality or for the soul?” There are times when our soul has different needs from those of our personality. Some of our personality’s needs are: security, pleasure, affirmation, power, acceptance, acknowledgment, wealth, possessions, superiority and others. Our personality needs these so much that it is often willing to ignore possible consequences to others and the environment. Our personality is very much isolated and sometimes alienated and easily forgets our ultimate oneness with all. Thus it is capable in the name “freedom to satisfy its needs” to make decisions that are harmful to others and the environment and eventually to its own self.

This is why human freedom is only now after so many centuries gradually appearing as an important factor in human consciousness. Our history until now has been one of very little freedom for the common person. This freedom is still lacking in many parts of the world that are still ruled by dictators. Another factor leading to freedom today is that of economic freedom, which allows many people access to many needs they would have never fulfilled in the past. Until now we have not had the emotional mental and spiritual maturity to use our freedom in ways that are simultaneously beneficial to us, others and the environment. This requires spiritual clarity, less alienation and greater identification with others and the whole. Only then can we use our freedom in ways that will actually bring us the happiness we seek.

We are now being given the opportunity to wisely use this new gift of freedom with clarity, love and wisdom.

Reactionary “Freedom”

Another problem is that we have been programmed to believe that others - the government, our spouses our parents and other outside forces are what limit us, suppress us and prevent us from being able to have what we need. This is especially true if we have been subject to suppressing or restrictive forces and as children.

We then tend to associate freedom with certain activities such as.
1. Being “free” to eat whatever we want and whenever we want.
2. Being “free” to spend as much money as we like.
3. Being “free” to smoke and drink as much as we like.
4. Being “free” to do whatever we want regardless of how that affects others.
5. Being “free” to have sexual contact with whomever we want.
6. Being “free” to say no when others request something from us.
7. Being “free” to ignore others needs.
8. Being “free” to break the rules and ignore the laws.
9. Being “free” not to work when we are supposed to.
10. Being “free” not to do what is being asked of us.
11. Being “free” from responsibilities and their possible consequences.

Confusion about Freedom

These “reactionary freedoms” obviously not real freedoms. Real freedom in many cases would be the opposite. For example
1. The freedom to eat what really serves my health.
2. Freedom to use our money in ways that actually bring long term happiness.
3. Freedom to not smoke and not drink so that we may create greater health and happiness.
4. Freedom from subconscious reactionary energies based on the past so that I can feel oneness with others and behave in ways that benefit myself and others simultaneously.
5. Freedom to use our sexuality in ways that really creates meaningful and lasting love relationships.
6. Freedom to be able to say “yes” when we would really like to respond to someone’s need.
7. Freedom to respect others needs in a way that we would like them to respect ours.
8. Freedom to respect and abide by laws that are there to protect the whole and create social equality and harmony
9. Freedom to work conscientiously with love as I would like someone working for us to do.
10. Freedom to respond with love towards those who request something from us.
11. Freedom to take on responsibilities and enjoy our creative abilities without fear of failure or consequences.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Elias Najemy is the author of over 20 books, 600 articles and 400 lectures on Human Harmony recorded on CD and DVD. Download for free 100's of articles and find wonderful ebooks, guidance, mp3 audio lectures and teleclasses at www.HolisticHarmony.com.
His books The Psychology of Happiness, Remove Pain with Energy Psychology and six others are available at http://www.amazon.com
As a life coach with 35 years of experience, has trained over 300 Life coaches and now does so over the Internet.
Info at: www.HolisticHarmony.com/introholisticcoach.asp