This holiday weekend I Googled “July 4th” to brush up on my national history and found this description on Wikipedia:
“Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776.”Wikipedia, “Independence Day”
Pretty straight forward. But I found the word “commemorate” particularly interesting, and since I love the etymology of words, I looked it up.
To my surprise, the roots of the word come from Latin words that mean “mindful” + “together”. In other words, commemorating something is an act of collective mindfulness–of remembering why we are here and for what purpose.
Mindfulness, at least in some capacity, was already baked into what the holiday of July 4th was meant to be about. The question is whether we’ve truly honored this day?
I reckon this day did not become a federal holiday so we could grill burgers, launch fireworks, and drink beers – although I did all of those things and they were fantastic! 🙂
It was established as a day to remember that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to and subordinate to the King of Britain.
July 4th meant we were now united, free, and independent.
But here in 2020, I ask whether we are really united, free, and independent?
- What are we still subject to and subordinate to? Racism? Unbridled Capitalism? Individual Materialism?
- How are we united? By language? By state? By city? By sports teams? By race, class, or color?
- Who is actually free? Can I truly be “free” if you’re not? What is the cost of that freedom?
- Are we dependent? Independent? Or interdependent? How much do we depend on those around us? How much do we depend on those in countries halfway around the globe?
Independence day mindfulness means you must ask these same questions about yourself:
- Are your head, heart, and belly united?
- Are you living as a “United Body of States” or taking part in some kind of internal civil war?
- Are you free to choose the actions you want or driven by unconscious habits and compulsions?
- How do you balance your need for independence and interdependence?
All of this leads to a very provocative question:
If you were celebrating your personal independence day, what would you commemorate?
- What are you being mindful of in your life today?
- What freedoms do you express?
- How are you united or fragmented?
- Where do you put your attention?
- Do your thoughts reflect your highest aspirations?
- How are you training your mind to focus on the things that really matter?
If you’re not training your mind on a daily basis to know it’s own freedom and establish unity, why not?
Freedom begins when you act intentionally rather than habitually.Jeff Siegel
It would be a shame if you waited for one day a year to remind you of what’s most important. Why not start now? Why not build a daily practice of living mindfully?
Meditation is the perfect tool to help you be free. And now I created a course designed to help you make it part of your day, every day.
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