Updated: Jun 17, 2020
In the book The Bird from the Kingdom of Heaven, I portray the image of bondage and freedom in the story of a caged bird. Throughout the book, the story illustrates the consequences of bondage on one hand and freedom on the other. Understanding that they are both an identity and what we identify with, we also reap its fruit, the book details what our human’s experience is like from the moment of our birth till the moment we decide to become our true selves and experience rebirth into our original image.
Through my visitation of inmates for over two and a half years, I have come to see more and more that freedom is not so much about our outer experiences, but our state of mind. A mind that is in bondage will make every place into bondage; a mind that has been set free, will give freedom to others and bring that experience into every place he or she walks into. Seeing inmates behind the bars and realizing how free some of them are and then meeting people in the outside world and coming to sense that they are so bound by their circumstances, has made me to question the reality of freedom and my understanding of it.
There was once a little girl who saw herself in a long line— hearing people shouting “Freedom, Freedom”. By listening to those voices, she started to shout out loud too but realized her voice was not reaching that far. It seemed every person in the line had the same goal in their mind but something was still missing. The little girl stopped shouting for couple of seconds and started to look around her with awareness and something caught her eyes— people’s feet were chained and yet they didn’t even realize it. Upon her realization, she started to walk to other side— facing the other direction and in her silence, said “ Bondage, bondage”. Once the little girl realized the way to freedom is dealing with the roots of bondage within her, she started to experience freedom more and more by breaking every chain within her. She was no longer interested in shouting or fighting for freedom but realizing both bondage and freedom are within her heart and there is nothing more important to look within herself.
Christ once mentioned, “ Why worry about a speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own?” When we realize how we see and treat others is through our own filter of mind, we turn the focus from the outside world into our inner heart. Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest authors of all time, said, “ Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”. When it comes to freedom, what is the meaning of being free? Is it by the result of a revolt or a change of heart? Even if the whole world is free, a good question to ask ourselves is “Am I free?”
Story & Content Written and Copyrighted by Parsa Peykar