A Definition of Freedom That May Surprise You

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924 (Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, California)

In Journey to Self-realization, Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, wrote:

True freedom lies in doing what you should do when you ought to do it.

If that sounds like the opposite of freedom to you, you’re not alone. Yogananda noted that “many people think that whatever comes into their brains they may do—and believe that to be freedom.”

It’s not. Until you wrestle control of your mind away from your ego, your thoughts, words, and actions will be weighed down by chains of karma and entrenched habits. In other words, while you may think yourself to be free, you’re pretty much running on autopilot, unaware of the factors that are influencing your decisions.

How do you become free? Paradoxically, through surrender. Surrendering to the Source of all that is, which essentially means aligning your will with God’s will, is the cornerstone of a spiritual life.

On the other side of surrender lies unimaginable freedom. When your every thought, word, and action is saturated with the desire to please God and God alone, you free yourself from the tyranny of your ego, which automatically frees you from everyday fears, worries, and doubts.

A truly free person is influenced only by the discriminative wisdom that comes from attunement to God's will, which naturally aligns their every thought with that which is right.

When you surrender unconditionally, you will know the beauty, power, and freedom of living life as an unceasing love poem to God.

Journey to Self-realization is Volume III of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays. (Self-Realization Fellowship, copyright © 1997, Los Angeles.)

Click here for more information about the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.

Click here to view all my posts about Paramahansa Yogananda and Self-Realization Fellowship.

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