If you are celebrating independence day with your loved ones, reflect on the interdependence it takes to pull a celebration together; then focus on interdependence as a way to freedom from the slavery of materialism and addiction to the things and ideologies that perpetuate violence and ecological ruin. We hold the power to true freedom in our hearts… it’s time to use it!
This was the place where I settled after meditating on the historical, conventional, and philosophical roots of the American holiday. My inner pragmatist views this day as a farce; a country celebrating it’s independence from an empire, to become the new empirical power just seems wrong to me. Furthermore, the idea of using the day to promote our service men and women in the military as freedom fighters rather than defenders of material slavery and corporate greed is sickening. However, being an American, I do feel a surge of hope and pride when I read the words of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Yet I also feel an overwhelming sense of shame that this country has not been able to live up to those words.
The land of opportunity has become a society of people who are addicted to an easy life that mocks the lives of those who have no access to clean water, or enough food or safety at our expense. It takes the resources of other countries, but witholds the benefits of those resources from the citizens of the countries to whom those resources belong. Holidays like this give lip service to the idea of gratitude for modern convenience with shiny, colorful emblems, flags, and fireworks to distract us from the idea that we are really celebrating the freedom to exploit and enslave the world that supports our lifestyle.
I can’t celebrate a holiday under these auspices, but I do use the time to visit with my loved ones, and try to share some of my experiences and ideas about ecology and independence from corporate slavery. I also try to foster the kind of love and cooperative spirit it takes to achieve something small, like a large family dinner, for it is these smaller gatherings that teach us the skills we need to learn to cooperate with others on a larger scale. It is also the level at which true revolutions begin… the level of the heart.
So today, I celebrate a revolution of interdependence which promotes cooperation, innovation, equinimity and sustainability; or in other words, what I see as the original intent of the words of the Declaration of Independence. Will you celebrate with me?