We read in The Science of Mind, “Freedom of will means the ability to do, say and think as one wishes; to express life as one personally desires.” Because everyone who lives in this world is spiritual within, that freedom belongs to everyone—no matter where, no matter who, no matter what. We believe this so much strongly that when it appears that some individuals are not free, we are willing to fight for their freedom. Yet, when some individuals express their freedom in ways that disagree with the way we think, and they behave in ways we don’t approve of, we may wish freedom didn’t belong to everyone!

But whether we agree or disagree, we can’t be free, individually, and experience our own independence and freedom unless we let go of our need to control anyone, but our self. A closed mind keeps judgments alive with the conviction that there no other way to see life but the way we see it, and no other way for anyone else to be in life but the way we believe they should be. When we try to control others, it is we, our self, that live in mental and emotional bondage. We’re imprisoned along with whatever judgments we hold in our mind because those judgments can’t get out unless we free them from the inside.

Ernest Holmes, the founder of The Science of Mind, was known as “the question mark” because as he the was formulating his spiritual philosophy, he sat down with scientists, philosophers, and individuals with varying religious views and a variety spiritual practices. And, as he asked question after question, he did so with an openness of mind that allowed him to see what he called “a thread of Truth” running through all things. Being “open at the top” in our mind is essential if we want to experience the independence and freedom that open-mindedness brings.

We all have our preferences for people, activities, food, music, art, and just about every other thing that can be seen, heard, tasted, touched, and smelled in this world. But freedom comes as we realize our preferences are just preferences, not Divine Declarations that anyone else must agree with or follow. As we come to understand that we have no Divine Authority to control anything but our self, we begin to let go of our need for anyone to do what we believe they’re supposed to be doing. And, as we allow others to express life as they individually choose to, we begin to feel more free to be our self without worry or concern that we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Open-mindedness allows us to live in harmony with the world around us. It allows us to appreciate the beauty of our diversity, and to embrace the views of others that differ from our own without anger or a need to change anyone’s mind. When our mind is open there is space for us to decide what we’ll focus on, and what we’ll allow to move through our mind and be gone from our attention.

Australian bush poet, Harry Morant wrote, “Live every day as if it were going to be your last, for one day you’re sure to be right.” If today were the last day of your life on Earth, how much time would you spend worrying about what other people are doing, or even watching the news? How much concern would occupy your mind about what others think of you? Would you not, instead, focus on happy thoughts, and allow yourself to feel as much happiness as you could feel today? Would you not allow your love for others to fill your heart and let go of anything that got in the way of that love? Would you not savor the appreciation you feel in being alive today?

Life is happening every moment whether we are mentally present as it’s happening or not. We can’t live life in retrospect. Even if we’re focused on the past, we are focusing on it in the present moment. If we’re thinking about something else, mentally off somewhere in the past or future, we don’t notice what’s going on within us, and around us, right where we are. And, then we miss out on the beautiful gift we’ve been given by Life, Itself, to experience our life every moment in any way we choose. We have to be present in the moments of our life to experience the moments of our life. Otherwise those moments will be gone before we know it and without our having known them. Thich Nhat Hahn wrote, “To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment and to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.”

We are the creator of our own experiences because we are the decider of our thoughts and attitudes about everything there is to have a thought or attitude about. We can call upon our spiritual independence and freedom to find joy in any moment if we choose to. And, when we don’t choose to, we forfeit all that spiritual power available to us in present moment and let how we experience life happen to us as if by chance or circumstance rather than by choice. Then we blame others for the way we feel.

In The Science of Mind we read, “As the Universe is run by an Infinite Mind, so man’s life is controlled by his thinking. Ignorance of this keeps him in bondage. Knowledge will free him.” It is essential for us to find a way to allow joy, love, and peace of mind into the moments of our life as those moments are happening. If we wait for something or someone to change first, that change may not happen in our life time. If we’ve been sitting on our asset of freewill, waiting for life to show us something to feel good about, or at least to feel less bad and sad about, it’s time for us to get up off our choices and use them to make joy happen for us by choosing it within us.

Scottish artist, writer and comedian, Sir William Connolly, said “Life is supposed to be fun. It’s not a job or occupation. We’re here only once and we should have a bit of a laugh.” If our mantra has been “Are we having fun yet?” and we don’t know the answer, there is no one in the world that can answer that question for us. Time is going to fly by whether we’re having fun or not. The choice to have fun is ours. There is nothing happening anywhere else for us except right where we are and what we’re aware of in the moment we’re there. The moments of our life are our life. There is no other life for us but our experience of it now.

Just because a situation in our life, right now, appears to have gone wrong, or seems to be going in a direction we’d rather it didn’t, doesn’t mean we’ve done anything wrong or we’ve lost our power to turn things around. No matter what may be going on in our life or the world, we’re free to choose happiness. And, when we do, happiness chooses us too! It’s drawn to us like a magnet. We experience happy improvements in our life—improvements in our health, in our relationships, and in all we do that reminds us we’re alive.

There may be certain things in our life we prefer to experience, and some we’d rather not go through, like medical tests and procedures, a conversation someone else initiates, a long drive in traffic. But, if we realize there is a thread of Truth running through all we do that connects us with all life as it’s happening, and that it’s not what’s happening but how we’re choosing to experience it that matters most, those “un-preferred” moments will have a more positive outcome.

Freewill means we are absolutely free to live in misery and no one can stop us. We can sit in a sunbeam and feel gloomy if we choose to. But, if we’d prefer to smile as we feel the sunshine on our face, if we’d rather live our life in as much happiness and peace mind as we can (and who wouldn’t if we truly knew we had a choice), we need to decide to focus on happy, healthy thoughts, to find a way to control our thinking rather than letting our thinking control us. We have the power and freedom to change negative thinking that brings misery into positive thinking that brings joy, no matter what’s going on. No one holds our thoughts in place but us. However, using that freedom will seem impossible to us if we look to a world that seems outside us, rather than to the power inside us, for the changes we want to experience in our life.

Zen Master, Shunryu Susuki, wrote: “Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.” Life is supposed to feel good while we’re living it. That’s why when we are sick or sad we say, “I’m not feeling good.” It’s actually an affirmation that Good is there to feel, but we’re just not feeling It. We may not feel Good sometimes, but we need to find a way to feel Good most time if we want to create life we enjoy living. Wouldn’t we rather live our life as if it’s meant to be enjoyed rather than filled with drama and struggle, and then perhaps find out later, after we’ve enjoyed life here on Earth and left it, that we were wrong; than to live life in this world as if it’s meant to be filled with drama and struggle rather than joy, and find out after we leave this world that we were wrong, that we could have enjoyed every moment of it!? Let’s not take any chances! Joy just may be the Key to Heaven!

We live in a Universe created by God’s Love, and God’s Love is Unconditional. We’re never punished by God here, and we won’t be punished in the hereafter. The Science of Mind tells us, “There is no sin but a mistake and no punishment but an inevitable consequence.” We punish our self by not loving our self and those around us. But even then, when we say in our mind, or through our words and actions, “I’m not feeling the Love,” it is still an affirmation that Love is there to feel, but we’re just not choosing to feel It. In The Way of Knowing we read, “For you cannot know Love until you have set all beings free. You cannot know your Creator until you love as your Creator loves. And, there is no one who is reading these words that does not long to know Love completely, to come home. To come home means to know Love.”

Isn’t it time for us to come home? Isn’t it time for us to open our mind and set every one free from our judgements, including our self? Being open at the top allows every condition, limitation and restriction to our loving to move through our mind and be gone from our attention. When we set all beings free, we become aware of the harmlessness of the Love that lives in us and in all that live in the world with us. An open mind allows more and more love to pour in until who we are overflows with Love. Ram Dass said that “we’re all just walking each other home.” Home to Love here and now. Home to Love hereafter and forever.