In India, as in many countries, we celebrate Independence Day every year with fireworks, flag-waving, and remembering those lost in the fight for freedom. We commemorate the day when our country was freed from foreign yokes and became a sovereign nation – truly a day of fulfillment. But amid all this, political and religious conflicts continue. This makes me, along with many others, want to understand more deeply what true freedom really is.
Many of us may feel that we are already free to some extent, but freedom from oppression means more than just political liberty. It also means being free from destructive feelings such as hate, envy, and cutthroat competition. Freedom from those feelings can go a long way to contribute toward world peace and help make this world a better place in which to live.
Twenty years ago, when I was struggling with enslaving ill health, insecurity, and difficulties in my job, a friend gave me a copy of the book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy. In this book I read: “Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: ‘Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!’ Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right” (p. 227).
I was amazed at this awakening call. My research about the author’s life revealed that Mrs. Eddy had this desire for freedom. As a woman of the 19th century, she spent the first half of her life struggling with the oppression of ill health, personal tragedies, and a society-wide negative view of women’s potential. Then her spiritual journey led her to the discovery of how God truly created us and to a view of Christ Jesus’ healing ministry as something so relevant to our lives today. She glimpsed that in truth we are spiritual, perfect, and complete. This view changed her life and led her out of the oppressive conditions. In her battle for independence she saw clearly that submitting to evil of any kind, including ill health or political oppression, is not our true, God-given nature, and that freedom and dominion are divine rights. This inspired her to spend the second half of her life sharing these ideas with the world through her book Science and Health. She also devoted her life to Christian healing and teaching others how to heal, and established the Christian Science Church as well as a publishing society, which produces The Christian Science Monitor and weekly and monthly religious periodicals.
As I read Science and Health and applied its ideas with the help of the friend who gave the book to me, I began to find freedom from problems in relationships and in my job, and I was also healed of asthma, chronic fever, and other health problems. The change started when I realized that I had to break down the walls of limitation in my own thinking – to stop clinging to a concept of myself that was not true. More and more as I saw the true identity of myself and others as the expression of a common source, God, I gradually found freedom.
Eddy declares in Science and Health: “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love” (p. 106).
All of us can take steps today to find total freedom. You can make your spiritual declaration and celebrate your independence every day of the year.