The Prophet: “Freedom” by Kahlil Gibran

Today’s Thought:

Our world needs vision; it needs visionaries. Why not you and yours?

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Truly, Kahlil Gibran stands among the most intriguing voices ever to scratch words onto a page. His mystically beautiful and profoundly poetic prose burns to the very root of what it means to be human. He masterfully tackles issues we are all warned not to talk about and gently illuminates the darkness that separates the sides.

Gibran was born in Lebanon in 1883. In 1912, he moved to New York where he pursued his writing and art. Most consider The Prophet, published in 1923, to be his crowning achievement.  The work is a series of 28 short essays depicting an unnamed prophet answering the peoples’ questions about important issues in life.

Gibran’s writings are noted for their intricate wording that invites the reader to ponder their deeper meaning and link the ideas to his or her own life. He died an untimely death in 1931, but his work remains popular and relevant in a modern world seeking answers.

Freedom is one of the 28 essays from The Prophet. Few concepts resonate as resolutely in our 21st century world as freedom. Peoples the world over living under dictators, theocracies, and other repressive regimes still fight for their freedom. Meanwhile, the people in “free nations” struggle against the onslaught of intrusive technologies and power hungry governments to keep their freedom from being swallowed whole.

Internally, we are constantly fighting our own personal battle against the impediments to freedom that we construct in our own lives.

Gibran offers gems that set you on the road to freedom. Read his writing through a couple of times as it always yields more than the first reading. Recognizing the chains, within and without, is the first step on the road to true freedom.

“Freedom”

And an orator said, “Speak to us of Freedom.”

And he (the prophet) answered: At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom, Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Aye, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle your eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free? If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.

You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them. And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride? And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.

Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling. And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

Copyright @ Kahlil Gibran.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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