For some Americans, July 4th has become a caricature, a complicated and courageous moment distilled to a day of beer, BBQ and fireworks or, less benignly, jingoistic expression. We celebrate independence, and freedom, but what do these words really mean on a societal level if, as individuals, not everyone is independent or free? Here is my spiritual version of the Declaration of Independence:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to dissolve the bonds which have connected them with past incarnations of themselves, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humans are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, mentors, guides and gurus are enlisted and spiritual practices embraced, deriving their just powers from the consent of the human. That whenever any form of inner talk becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of humans to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new self talk, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to her/him shall seem most likely to effect her/his fulfillment, self-expression and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that habits long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that humans are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and denigrations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such inner talk, and to provide new guards for future well-being. Such has been the patient sufferance of many people and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of relating to themselves and others.
The history of the present internal despot is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over many humans’ internal states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
The despot has refused his assent to love of all kinds, the most wholesome and necessary for public and personal good.
The despot has erected a multitude of attitudes, beliefs and standards that harass humans and eat out their substance.
The despot has kept in humans’ brains standing armies who perceive the world as a threat.
The despot has rendered financial matters independent of and superior to spiritual matters.
For quartering doubt, despair, lethargy and inertia among our inner life.
For cutting off trade, visitations and correspondence with friends nearby and around the world.
For imposing limiting beliefs on humans without their consent.
For suspending humans’ trust in themselves, and declaring itself invested with power to legislate for them in all cases whatsoever.
The despot has plundered self-esteem, ravaged self-discipline, burnt bridges, and nearly destroyed willingness for self-actualization.
The despot has excited internal insurrections against people’s true selves.
We have reminded the despot and its minions of the circumstances of their emigration and settlement in the land of the emotionally free. We have appealed to the despot, et. al. to leave us alone. They too have been deaf to the voice of reason. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation from anyone or anything that speaks to us or treats us like a second class citizen or as unworthy of self-expression, emotional freedom and personal fulfillment.
We therefore appeal to the Supreme Lover of the world for the rectitude of their intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of Planet Earth, solemnly publish and declare that they ought to be free and independent of the negativity of the past, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the past, that all psychological connection between them and any negative internal state ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and interdependent beings they have full power to make peace with themselves and others, contract alliances and form friendships, establish revenue sources that are not in conflict with the environment, with other human beings and with who they are fundamentally, and to do all other acts and things which interdependent adults may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
I wonder how many people would be willing to sign such a document today.