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April 12, 2004


Freedom is freedom. It means you are free to make your own decisions, your own moves, your own mistakes. It even means you are free to choose repression or coercion.

This practice of freedom is not an ideal; it is a practical thing. Forcing people to do things against their will never really works. Repressed energy always comes back in destructive, draining ways.

The practice of freedom informs my interactions with my family, friends, associates, and clients. We are free to express what we think and need, even in a strong way. We may not be met with agreement, but that's life. We are free to continue to respond.

The same is true in larger social and political situations. The Bush administration say they are trying to implement a brand of democratic freedom in Iraq. Many Iraqis are resisting, and the US are resorting to military violence to impose this "freedom." This is complete, illogical nonsense. Attacking people to free them is like beating someone to make them love you. By definition, beating isn't love, and coercion—no matter what the intention—isn't freedom. In fact, resistance to coercion and occupation is an expression of freedom. And that's what many Iraqis are doing.

What the Bush administration really want is control—in the guise of freedom and democracy. But nature, which loves freedom, always resists control.

In personal growth, we are moved to discover our true selves and our own power. To do this we need support and freedom. On the other hand, if we are directed and controlled by friends, family, and therapists—even with the best intentions—we will know their way—not ours. Supporters and helpers need to sit back and let the process happen.

Like all people, the people of Iraq need to be free—free to discover freedom in their own time and their own way. I hope they are given the opportunity to do so.

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