Human Freedom Affirmation on July 4th

Of course, we Americans celebrate freedom on July 4th every year. It’s the day that marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

That document posited an idea that 245 years later Americans and humans across the planet see far too narrowly. It posited the idea that we humans are endowed, by our very being here, with certain freedoms that cannot be legitimately taken away from us by any earthly force.

While the words in that declaration are a seed and a starting place, it’s not the whole picture. Those freedoms are not limited to political considerations. In fact, taken the the ultimate extent, they mean that EVERY person walking the planet is a being free to explore and express the highest version of themselves possible.

No institution, no other person, and not even our own limiting beliefs should stand in the way of realizing that potential.Can you imagine a planet with seven billion people striving and being supported to strive for that potential? What a different world that would be from the one where so many suffer under repressions that start with their own mindsets and work their way out from there.

This affirmation a declaration of that kind of freedom. It’s a freedom that continues to exist for few, if any, humans on this planet. However, as I celebrate the inroads we’ve accomplished in human freedom today, my thoughts turn to that possible world and to doing all we can to make it, not only possible, but a reality.

Wherever you are on your journey today, remember that you ARE awesome!


Let the Earth Be Your Witness – Day 113 of 365 Days to a Better You

from You have a right to be here and be who you are!

As you might have noticed, I enjoy pulling concepts from a wide array of sources. Today I want to talk about your inherent right to be the person you came to the planet to be and where that right comes from.

declaration_of_independence-national_archives-2In western philosophy, there’s this idea of Natural Law. Its principles were readily accepted by many of the American Founding Fathers, Jefferson particularly. It’s the idea that there are certain rights we have simply by virtue of being human. They flow from God, Nature, the Universe…however you wish to term the foundational source.

This is evidenced in The Declaration of Independence when Jefferson wrote:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

This is, perhaps, history’s most famous expression of Natural Law principles. What is a Natural Law and why are they inalienable? In a nutshell, they are inalienable because they are held to be true regardless of any “Positive Laws” (human-made laws) instituted by any government. In the Natural Law philosophy, any Positive Law that abridges a Natural Law is not deemed legitimate.

Buddha touching Earth in the Earth Witness Mudra.

There’s another very famous expression of this concept from a very different time and part of the world. In the story of the Buddha’s enlightenment, he is tempted and threatened by Mara (essentially the devil in western terms) to prevent him from attaining Nirvana.

“What right have you,” Mara questioned, “to be sitting here making this claim? Return to your life of luxury, Oh, prince.”

Buddha simply placed his hand on the Earth and asked it to bear witness to his worthiness and it is said the Earth shook in assent. He was calling on what western philosophers would call Natural Law to prove his worthiness to be right there making his claim to enlightenment.

Mara bowed in defeat because he had no answer to the Earth’s approval.

Power hack: You live in a world where many authorities attempt to assert control over you, your thoughts, and your selfhood. You should be clear and know that there are rights inherent to you for no other reason than you are a living, breathing human being. They cannot be taken away from you by any force.

That’s not to say these forces won’t try. Many authorities in this world will not accept defeat, as Mara did. Many people who wave flags on patriotic holidays don’t really believe in these principles.

You, however, are the ultimate arbiter and the final decision-maker of your freedom in this regard. As Viktor Frankl, author and holocaust survivor wrote:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

These Natural rights are yours, regardless of anyone’s opinion. Knowing that is power. Acting on it is self-actualization.

Be your truest self!


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The Declaration of Independence

Originally posted July 4, 2008. Edited for repost July 2, 2016.

This weekend we celebrate “Independence Day” in The United States; more commonly known as the Fourth of July. The Declaration of Independence is the key document that expressed and continues to express the American desire for freedom. Most Americans view the day as the birthday of our nation. However, the day really holds greater significance than that for the entire world.

Perhaps the event would not be so well-known or remembered if the Continental Congress had simply passed a resolution declaring Independence in the middle of what looked like a hopeless war against the 18th century’s global superpower. They did pass such a resolution on July 2, 1776.

At the time, John Adams believed that date would be the one remembered in history. He proclaimed,

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

However, it was the accompanying Declaration of Independence that explained to the world the justifications for the colonies’ break from the Great Britain that became world famous. It is the date (July 4) – when the final wording of that declaration was approved by Congress – that the nation celebrates.

Why do Americans and others around the world so remember and revere this document 240 years after its writing? It certainly contains the flaws in understanding and ethics of its drafters and their time and place. It does not declare all people equal – just white landed men. Despite the efforts of some members of the Continental Congress, it left slavery intact. It refers to the Native Americans as “Indian Savages.”

It is remembered because Thomas Jefferson‘s rousing words became not only a cry for independence in the American colonies but a ringing endorsement of the right of people everywhere to be free. The Declaration stands as a light and a hope and a reason to push forward for people asserting their selfhood and liberty throughout the world.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

In 2016, it is almost impossible to recognize how ground-breaking this claim was in the 18th Century. No colony had ever broken from its parent state in the history of the world. The entire known world lived under divinely ordained monarchs who believed that all law flowed from them. The concept – that ordinary human beings had rights or were equal to their noble masters – had been written about by philosophers such as John Locke, but no one had tried to apply it to the world.

The United States was the first nation whose founding document declared these audacious principles and set them as the foundation for a country. It has been a slow journey to fully realize these ideals even in The United States. Women, racial minorities, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and even just common people have not always fully realized the promise of these words. While not excusable, it is not surprising that it has taken centuries for such a radical paradigm shift to occur.

There are some in elite power circles who would like to undo these words. They don’t view all people as equal to them. The rushing river of history has pushed these forces back in many places, but they remain present in every society – even the “free societies”.

Outright calls for a new feudalism run by a noble class would be rejected. So these people – longing for “the good old days” – often clothe themselves in the rhetoric of freedom and patriotism. They use fear to convince people to willingly relinquish their freedom the way their predecessors used the sword to take those freedoms.

The common person seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be ever-vigilant if he or she is to remain free. We should view this day as a reminder and a reason to take these ideas on to the next level. For it is not merely political freedom we seek. It is the freedom to be, to explore, to understand existence and our relationship to it that we and our children are entitled to.

So maybe today we state a new declaration or affirmation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that every human being born on this planet has a right to freely explore his or her true potential. To create a world where every person is ensured this opportunity, we declare that there ARE certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are non-negotiable and not subject to the whims of any institution or situation. The ONLY and just limits to these rights are when they deny others these same rights.

At this moment, such an idea is as much a pipe dream as Jefferson’s words were in 1776. His words began something and so can we today.

For today, remember and enjoy the freedom that is ours. Revere the ideas and the men who “pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to make it so. For tomorrow, remember that we are yet capable of so much more!

Stay inspired!


We Hold These Truths – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday May 14, 2008

Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. What do you think? Please click here to comment on today’s blog.

ray_launchpad.jpgYour Fifth Affirmation is Always Free at The Affirmation Spot

Whenever you download four affirmations at The Affirmation Spot your fifth affirmation is free. Simply type five in the coupon field at checkout to get your fifth affirmation free. (Offer valid only on a per order basis. Multiple single downloads do not receive this discount.)

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“I am passionate about life and my prospects for the future.” (repeats 8 times)

“You are passionate about life and your prospects for the future.” (repeats 8 times)

Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.

Thomas Jefferson penned one of the most powerful affirmations in all of human history. His words are the first of his preamble to The Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

How powerful is that? For me, this is the beginning point for how we should view the other people who share this planet with us. Each one is innately endowed with these rights and qualities.

In our modern world, there are people picking apart Jefferson’s affirmation. I hear people complaining that, “He says ‘all men’ and not all people.” Others devalue the affirmation because they don’t believe in a creator.

Still others – mostly government – have replaced “creator” with “government”. They are actively trying to convince you that the real reading is “…They are endowed by their government with certain situationally revokable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All of this misses the key point of Jefferson’s affirmation. People are innately equal in their right to be and to pursue their lives. Each and every person has enormous potential that can only be unlocked when they are granted the freedom to explore it. That is more important than his wording. That is the principle we must all strive to embody in our own lives and allow others to embody in theirs.

These innate rights, freedoms, and qualities are unrevokable. They are yours simply because you are here – a human being living on this planet. They are not subject to situation or fad. They cannot be denied by governments or institutions. These entities may do so, but when they do they are violating the most sacred aspect of the human being.

You are sacred. Your rights are sacred. Your dreams and potential are sacred. Your right to pursue happiness is sacred. So, too, is everyone else’s sacred.

In my view, we must “Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident” if we are to create the beautiful world that is our destiny.

Stay inspired!