Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America and profound social and political analyst, wrote a great deal on the power of freedom, something he identified with the United States as a fundamental dogma that other countries lacked, which would be their inevitable fall. He praised the country’s ability to open the door for the individual, the free individual, might I add. He said, “Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
Granted he took the political route when discussing how countries and societies who squelch personal freedoms will ultimately kill off their people. We would become blind sheep. However, I note his correlation to quietness, ahh the eventual topic of this post, in a special way. Society has proven its fundamental goal: self-destruction. Many might disagree with me, however, through any series of events, it is evident the breakdowns of positive living society wishes to impose, e.g. the family. Tocqueville contrarily upholds the notion of rejecting society and uplifts the beauty of personal freedom. So, what do we see as freedom?
It is a term defined a billion different ways, some obviously more accurate than others. It can take on many shapes and sizes, but for the purpose of this post, I will argue that freedom is ability to choose whether you want to make the right or wrong decision. It is emblematic of free will, an empyrean gift from God. But to obtain this freedom, we must maintain a healthy approach to the difficult concept – a clear and quiet mind. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of my personal favorite philosophers and author of many spectacular books, states, “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” If we are able to break out of our world, break away from societal norms and expectations that drive us away from our divine route to God, then we are boundless. Some might suggest that last sentence is a contradicting, but it is not.
God gives us free will, what we believe can become freedom on Earth between all human beings. Society inherently refuses freedom and seeks to entrap humans in ungodly trends. God unbinds us and society binds us. If we are bound by society, we cannot be boundless by God.
Now, I could go into another who spiel about why we must be boundless, but I want to connect to quietness. I believe, to achieve freedom on Earth as well as free will with God, there must be a scale of availability on our parts. The accessibility from God is guaranteed, and though we do experience limitations by humankind, it is the availability we open ourselves to, to make the freedom more attainable mentally – quietness of the mind. Think of it this way, if I’m stressed out, got school or work, deadlines, practice, etc., I will naturally have a cluttered mind. This is all a complex way of thinking on a simple subject, but keep reading. My cluttered mind is no optimal stage for my mind to explore freedom. I should and do aspire to clean my conscience and breathe into peace, which ultimately allows for a healthier connection to God and to my own freedom.
Furthermore, Tocqueville also wrote, “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” We should adhere to the fact that quietness is hard. Very hard! It is not a simple task of being quiet. Quietness is not silence, yet silence can and should be part of quietness. It is the special space where the mind can be quieted and focused, maybe even a form of meditation. This special space I would happily call a sanctuary. Lemony Snicket said it simply about libraries, “The world is quiet here.” His library was his quiet sanctuary. Find your sanctuary. Make it quiet. And find matchless peace.
To attain quietness, you can partake in any number of exercises, this being just outside sitting in a quiet room with your eyes closed and nothing task-oriented surrounding you. There are resources I will provide below that have a plethora of advice and methods for quietness. I’ve attached a YouTube video with peaceful, meditative music.
1 Peter 3:4 – Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Psalm 131:2-3 – But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.
More on Jean-Jacques Rousseau: