Michael's July 4th Celebration Article


Happy Independence Day 2012, Everyone!


History tells us repeatedly that we gain our independence as a nation, as a race, as a gender, as a faith, or as any community of people with a vision for a better life, when we band together, stand up against our oppressors, and break free from the shackles of tyranny and injustice. For an outsider looking at history and the long-fought battles won by the courageous heroes and heroines of justice and freedom, it all appears to be true. And, we begin to define our freedom as "freedom from" that which limits us. We celebrate and enjoy our hard-won emancipation for a while, even for a whole generation, until we begin to notice that our former oppressors have been replaced, quietly, bit-by-bit, by a new, often more insidious ones.


It is time for us to step out of this cycle of global karma by seeking what offers each of us our true and everlasting freedom. It has been said by one who demonstrated the nature of real freedom, that we will perish by the sword if we live by it and brandish it, even in the name of justice, liberty, or love. True freedom can never be taken away. It cannot have an expiration date for it is to be realized in our relationship to eternal life rather than in our resistance to those who seek to create the temporary illusions of tyranny. Freedom can be neither divided nor conquered. It is woven into the very fabric of that limitless, all-loving joy that is forevermore the essence of our being. Whenever we realize the fleeting and insubstantial nature of the seeming limitations and conditions in our lives, we forgive ourselves of them and heal that which we created against ourselves in our heart. If we are not divided in our heart, we cannot be conquered.


It is when loving, courageous souls choose to set aside the divisions in their own hearts, in forgiveness, and unite together with a shared vision of a more joyful, loving life for all, that the poison arrows of injustice and oppression fall short of their intended victims. For, in the presence of forgiveness, there can be no hostages or slaves. Forgiveness lifts us up from the ghettos of our victimhood and restores us to our birthright of mastery and freedom. So, today, rather than mistakenly wielding our swords of hate and blame in a victory dance over those who threaten us in ignorance, let us extend this day of celebrating our national independence to include all nations and peoples. Let us re-vision our freedom as the treasured fruit of forgiveness and healing that restores us all to a greater wholeness.


May you discover that freedom that carries you beyond the eagles soaring across the limitless sky and peace grace your every breath.


With gratitude and love,