Democracy may have given us the frills of political freedom, but we are still prisoners of our minds. The demons of anger, hatred, jealousy, resentment and greed keep us incarcerated. When we are still slaves to these, how can we call ourselves free? Real freedom for us is when these are exorcised. But how do we make this happen you will ask.
So let’s think about this. What democracy has given us is the choice of voicing our opinions and gathering where we wish, to speak our mind individually or collectively, in silence or in clamor. Unfortunately, we have chosen clamor. Ironically, this can only worsen the status of our condition as these demons that burrow deep within us in our psyche unrelentingly goad us to be vengeful, spiteful and divisive as a community. They push us to feel that freedom is about aggression, to win by hook-or-crook, and enjoy the moment. Their myopia is reflected in our trashing of any thought for the consequences of our actions in a tomorrow that must come inevitably, but just urge us to enjoy the spoils of today, and don the clothes of hedonism. They keep us mired in a dream from which they would not want us to awaken.
It’s time for us to realize that true freedom is achieved in our hearts – by the demolition of these demons of hate, greed, resentment and jealousy. And that can only be done through reflection on how these got into us in the first place, and through that knowing, accepting them as being in us, and deciding categorically to shred them, which is only possible through silence, meditation and prayer. But do we have the time for that? At the rate we are going, obviously not, for we are spending any free time we have from our daily duties to family and occupation, demonstrating on the streets or hurling unkind words and negative thoughts to each other in households, at street corners, and in coffee shops. Our minds are busy in chatter. With this restiveness in our midst, reflection may not reach even skin deep. There is a much deeper depth to delve and scour for us to reach these burrowing fiends whose affects are packaged in what we know as our ego. Fuelled by these dark forces within us, the arrogant ego compels us to go on rampage for its only goal is to win – at whatever cost. We must wake up from the dream and begin reflecting and praying. Let’s use the opportunity of this holy month of Ramadhan to begin the healing.