Freedom in a Fatigued World

Peace at Christmas

December 2021

Delta. Omicron. New wave. Mask up. Scan in. Christmas. End of year chaos.

Anyone else feeling plain ole fed up? I hear you. I’m with you. Life is hard right now.

I wanted to end the year by reflecting on how I’m navigating through the current density of life. And my navigation tool is so painless I felt compelled to share it!

When my mind is churning and burning with thoughts and fears and worries about Christmas and COVID and desperately missing Australia, I take myself off to a quiet place, I get still, and I watch my mind. I wait for the tiny gap between each thought. Bingo. That space, that little gap, is freedom in its truest, purest form. It is the birthplace of peace. And every time I enter that space, I am no longer at war with anything. Despite what madness may surround me, that place always remains untouched. It is like some kind of infinite reservoir of strength and love – one that feels like, well, freedom.

How I came to find that reservoir is a long and nuanced story (that’s why I wrote a whole book about it), but I’ll try and give you the nutshell version.

Essentially, to even find it, I had to first get to the point where I was so darn disillusioned – with my cancer, with people, with the system, with the greed, with the house chores, with the destruction of the planet, and with life full stop.

Little did I know it at the time, but that disillusionment was freedom’s gateway.

For so long, I looked to ‘the other’ as the source of my disillusionment. Sometimes ‘the other’ was a person or a group of people, sometimes it was a situation. The biggest wars I’ve had in my own life were when I was trying to get ‘the other’ to yield / change / admit they have it wrong so I can live in peace. And it did feel good to blame cancer, or that person, or the pandemic for my woes - well, at least on the surface.

But the true source of my disillusionment was never with ‘them’. When I stopped waiting for the situation to change and shifted the attention to my own mind, I observed something that floored me at first: my very own righteousness. Starring back in the mirror were my tendencies to be correct, envy, judge, complain, and win. That mirror revealed one simple truth: I was adding to the war I desperately wanted to end. And those tendencies delivered nothing but suffering. I had arrived at the place where I was simply fed up – no longer fed up with life but rather fed up with the suffering caused by my very own mind.

The challenges and hindrances at this time of year (and, let’s face it, the last two years) may have taken you to a similar point - the point where you’ve had enough. Before freedom is even possible, this stage is necessary, essential even. The world is unsatisfying. So, now what? This is freedom’s front door. It is the opening to the very core of your being. When we have had enough of looking outside for contentment, only then do we look inwards. This is where the rubber meets the road.

But we have to go deeper to rest there- beyond the mind, beyond our thoughts about what is right vs wrong, vaccinate vs don’t vaccinate, left vs right– to our essential oneness.

And, as a collective, I think we get there by asking ourselves one simple question: do I want peace or do I want war?

If it is peace, we have to start with the peace in our own minds. In all the frenzy, it is possible to simply stop - stop and enter into the space between every thought. Rest there for a few scared moments. Feel the ease wash over every cell of your being. Come home to that again and again. Life doesn’t need to be any different to enter that space.

That space is freedom. And true freedom is not bound in any injection, any government, any location, any agenda, any mandate. I can be vaccinated, and be free. Freedom is what sits underneath the war.

The war that is gripping the world right now is ultimately about ‘our rights’ versus ‘our obligations’. But the irony is our primary obligation is also our primary birthright – to awaken. And awakening happens through that tiny gap between every righteous and non-righteous thought; it occurs through stillness.

From this stillness, I’ve learnt (yes, the hard way) that we can speak our truth, but now we speak it without the need to control any outcome. We speak without any expectation that ‘the other’ will change. We throw our seeds of truth, dug up from the depths of our hearts, out into the world. Sometimes they land in the fertile soil of ‘the other’. And sometimes they don’t. So be it. This is truth-telling without criticism, judgement, blame or control, without the war.

Eckhart Tolle says, “It is inner stillness that will save and transform the world.”

I couldn’t agree more. Because from that place, what do we possibly have to fight over?

So, to anyone feeling disenchanted, I want to honour you and say one thing: the freedom your soul is aching for is within arm’s reach.

It is as close as your breath, as close as the space between each of your thoughts.

It doesn’t involve any war.

And Christmas feels like a good time to give up the war.

I hope you have a happy holiday full of fun, love, laughter, peace and freedom.

Thanks again for being part of this community of everyday seekers. Until next year!

With love,
Lara x

~ © 2021 Lara Charles

About the author

Lara Charles is an Australian writer and mama living in Aotearoa, New Zealand, with her husband and four children. She is a storyteller, here to give rise to the everyday person searching for meaning and completeness.


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