True Freedom vs Issues with Authority and Resistance

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This post will explore the complex interplay between freedom, authority, and resistance. I will share my personal journey as well as philosophical insights. My hope is that these reflections will encourage conscious, empowered living.

My Personal Journey

I have recently gone through a series of personal events that challenged me to reconsider my understanding of freedom, especially in relation to resistance against authority.

For some time at my previous job, I felt uninspired and limited, as if I could not make a positive impact. Despite having a fulfilling personal life, I was consumed by a desire to escape. My choices felt binary – either stay in dissatisfaction or leave fuelled by resistance. Gradually, I came to realise that both choices are in fact reactionary. Neither is empowered. The illusion here is the stagnancy and limitation.

With hindsight, I realised acceptance is key. By embracing reality, we can transform every crossroads into a step forward. Instead of being pulled by resistance, we become free to move in any direction we choose.  Our path is no longer determined by what we want to escape from but by what we want to move towards.

This acceptance extends not only to our external environment but also to our inner world. We must embrace what wants to be birthed through us – the words that need to be voiced, the life that wants to be lived. Like a chalice overflowing, we should neither resist the inflow nor the outflow. To be and to breathe is freedom.

Resistance, Acceptance, and True Freedom

Freedom is a concept that resonates with the deepest aspirations of the human spirit. Yet, its pursuit, particularly when born out of resistance, can paradoxically lead to self-enslavement.

In “The Prophet,” Kahlil Gibran offers a meditation on freedom, warning us of the potential pitfalls in our pursuit, especially when it is driven by resistance. He writes, “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. Ay, 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.”

The quest for freedom, when it is the by-product of resistance, can turn into a form of self-enslavement. Consider standing in an open field with 360 degrees of directions to choose from — the epitome of freedom. However, when the mind is occupied with resistance, the desire to be free from something, the myriad of choices collapse into two: to succumb or to struggle. You are no longer free to choose any direction; instead, you are bound by the object of your resistance.

Powerlessness Against Authority

Just as I saw no escape from the binary choices of succumbing and struggling, new lessons on authority appeared. My job was eliminated in a corporate restructuring, which I felt powerless to influence. Just like I mentioned in my other post (Embracing Authenticity), as we reach for the stars, a chasm opens beneath us.

I felt powerless during the entire process. This brought me to the deeper lesson regarding freedom and resistance, which revolves around our relationship with authority. This could be in the forms of managers in the corporate world, or governments in society. I also observed my sense of powerlessness when watching news of war, for example.

Examining Authority vs Freedom

Objectively, authorities enable order but can overreach. Total freedom means anarchy. Accountable, decentralized authority balances freedoms. As individuals, we can meaningfully shape political authority. The ideal is synchronizing freedoms with shared values.

The Importance of Personal Power

If figures appear in your life that present themselves as authorities, or figures that are authoritarian in their communication, a key reason that happens may be to stir up you awareness where you feel your power diminishes in their presence. 

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Instead, we can recognise that we need to foster a fundamental cooperation and better consensus between ourselves and those we need to cooperate and work with. 

On a larger scale, we may also feel oppressed by authorities in the world through the unfolding world events. We need to realize that our need to monitor what is going on is often born out of concern. The fundamental motivation is a concern for the well-being of individuals, for fairness, for equality – all noble causes. However, we need to be conscious that through our focus we give energy to something. If we focus on injustice, we are energising injustice. This is not to say we should put our head in the sand and be oblivious to certain social, economic, and financial trends and occurrences, but not to become emotional investors. Instead, focus on the things we want to create, on thriving, and choose to spread that energy, so more people in this world can thrive. 

Looking back, my sense of powerlessness was an illusion, as I always have power to shape my life, to collaborate with fate through my choices. And I always had a choice, externally or internally. I could have chosen to see the positive contributions I had made by being conscientious and kind instead of judging myself for staying. I could have chosen to free myself instead of being freed by external events, and go towards any direction in life, without fear of loss, of security, and stability.

We can be a living example of thriving, of open-heartedness, kindness, equality, and liberty, and let this be our energetic focus rather than resting our awareness too long on the negative trends. Even though this is focusing just on ourselves, because we have generated that energy internally, we are then a more empowered battery, of positive energy, we will have a more positive effect on the development of humanity.

We can be a catalyst placed in certain environments, companies, collectives, in order to uplift the energy of these places. To bring about change, we simply need to hold positivity in our chest and think kind, loving, positive thoughts.

Even in corporate life, we can develop the ability to be flexible, to know how to transition and how to switch back and forth between what is the most appropriate degree of loving, personal, comforting touch versus being a completely detached business person.

Claiming Back Our Power

To claim back our personal power, we must examine self-limiting beliefs about powerlessness under authority. We must release some of our unconscious fears that are distorting our perception of true freedom, despite that they can seem very real and be supported by events:

  • The highest authority will always misuse power, be selfish and arrogant, exploit and pressure those below them, be unaccountable and cowardly, and in this way, will drag down society, forcing me to witness suffering and deterioration of society in general. 
  • If we maintain presence in this system, we will not be able to stop this trend, but only make a small contribution for the betterment of society. 
  • Everything is doomed and will get worse, and that we are an insignificant force in the greater picture.
  • Our contributions will never make a difference, and it is impossible to change the system from within.
  • When we empower ourselves and follow our heart, and make the heart our ultimate authority, there will be less security, less friends, less income and finance. 
  • When we become the leader of our own destiny, the journey will be more difficult, more of a battle, and we will still not be able to escape the fact that humans with more power will always abuse the power and push those down who are less than them.
  • We have to tolerate a compromise of our values, in order to maintain stability and security. This is the only way to survive in this harsh world.

In doing so, we also can release ourselves from judgment towards humanity, authority and ourselves, especially ourselves, for choosing to participate in the system, submitting ourselves, playing along, and release ourselves from the shame and guilt of times when we played along and protected our own interests. 

It is not our responsibility to carry this burden, and it is our role to thrive, to welcome all the blessings of the Divine, and to receive them from every avenue, even from authority, not limiting ourselves in terms of how much we receive, and even expecting blessings to pour forth from authority itself.

By cultivating awareness of these limiting beliefs and releasing them, we can reclaim our personal power in the face of authority, without resistance, and attain true freedom to live our destiny.


The journey to freedom is a profoundly personal one. By examining my own experiences with authority, resistance, and powerlessness, I gained insight into the nature of freedom.

True freedom is not defined by resistance or by any external conditions. It comes from inner emancipation. When we release limiting beliefs and unconscious fears, we reclaim our personal power to live and choose freely.

Cultivating presence allows us to accept what is, without judgment or resistance. From this space of empowered awareness, we can craft our destiny. We become the authors of our own stories.

While we may not control all external events, we always have a choice in how we respond. Our power lies in choosing love over fear, hope over despair, wisdom over illusion. When we live consciously moment to moment, we synchronize our inner freedom with outer accountability.

The journey continues. But now I feel equipped with new tools to navigate. I hope these reflections may support others on their own path to freedom. May we all find the inner light guiding our way.

2 thoughts on “True Freedom vs Issues with Authority and Resistance

  1. I like that idea about personal freedom, and the fact that it is our own choice to participate in that system that enables such self-limiting beliefs in powerless against authority. It sounds like these insights came out of bitter struggles in corporate life, and so it is all the more impressive that you were able to find strength in these experience. In a not-very-deep reading of Seneca, I recently had the opportunity to review his letter 21:

    “You suppose that the things you are about the leave behind are important; and just when you have set your eyes on that tranquility toward which you are headed, you linger over the gleam of this life you are leaving behind, like one who is to go down into the mire and darkness… You know the difference between a glow and a gleam, how one gives off light from its own sure origin, the other reflects light from something else. There is the same different between this life and that. This life is suffused by a brightness that comes from outside itself, so that anyone who stands between will cast it into thick darkness; that life is radiant with a luster of its own.”

    The attachment to the gleam of success (however you may define that) in this life is what enslaves us to circumstances and whims of authority. That difference between the gleam and the glow is similar to that idea that we can reclaim personal power and live freely.

    This is outside of the scope of your original post, but one question is whether this is a choice that can be made by all of us — for example, those who are dependent/have dependents, struggling in poverty, oppressed/persecuted, or whose loss of livelihood would be destructive. Could they ever have access to freedom?

    1. Thank you so much for such illuminating thoughts! I shall remember the glow vs the gleam. On whether freedom is a choice that can be made by everyone, I do believe so. All those external circumstances produce difficult feelings and an inner sense of powerlessness. At least a degree of freedom starts from acceptance of the reality of their personal circumstances. Like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in psychotherapy.

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