Happy 4th, but are you really? Independent, that is. When are we truly independent? The German philosopher, Kant, had the idea that we were not yet mature or independent if a book takes the place of understanding, or when an outside authority takes the place of conscience, or a doctor is given greater authority over our body than our own knowingness.

Inherently, we are free and independent, in equal degree to the level of our awareness. The more you know, the more you understand what is truly important and what is not. Most important to independence is our own integrity. Integrity is very real and tangible. Integrity is measurable and embodies such traits as: taking personal responsibility, keeping your word, and being faithful in the little things. It’s about being honest, standing your ground for what is right, maintaining your honor and sense of virtue, being morally upright (however that looks to you personally), making right choices and doing what you say you will do. Integrity, like love, is something you cannot pretend to have. You either have it or you don’t, and the majority of life’s circumstances will ask that you prove that you have it. If your core belief is one of integrity, your decisions will bear that out. If not, that too will become obvious. The more you stand in your integrity, the more independent you become. You are less guided by outside influences than you are by your own center of wisdom.

Independence is firmly standing up for what you believe. Independence is about speaking your whole truth, even when to do so may not be popular. Independence is making choices from the center of your soul and not from the outside pressures for conformity. Independence is having a sense of safety and knowing the Universe always has your back.

Independence means knowing that you are the master of your own reality and taking personal responsibility for the quality of your own life. Independence is about a willingness to really know your self.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, the unrelenting identical that I fled from.” Real independence take courage, it’s not for sissies.

But, the truth is that as long as you keep seeking your good feelings and applause from outside yourself, you are clearly not yet independent. You can’t be independent if you let others tell you what your values ought to be.

I guess that last sentence is why my take on this holiday might be different than most. No, I am not crazy, and yes, I really do know what this holiday is supposed to be about. However, I cannot yet wrap my head around any notion that our independence comes from out side of us, or that we can, or should, ever be independent from our human family in the world, or that we will find independence by taking it away from someone else. I don’t know how we get to be independent by forcing others to believe as we do, or live as we live. I’m not sure how we get independent by pillaging the earth’s resources, or the minds and bodies of our young. I have never understood, my block, my city, my country, and my rights over your rights. So I guess my lack of awareness about these issues leaves me with no other alternative, but to create independence in my own heart, in my own home and in my own mind. After all, one thing I do know is that you have to have it before you can give it away.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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