I am sitting in the train today, reading a book and travelling to meet a dear old friend who has taught me a lot about religion and peace. I am reading about oppression in dogmatic regimes. I ogten realise that the liberty we enjoy here in the West is not something we should take for granted. Even though this liberty is still relative (we are still consciously and unconsciously controlled by politics, media and marketing), people fought for it, bled for it and died for it. Still others bleed and die for it daily, so that we can feel free.
Sitting here, I have the freedom to be here. A younger girl sits down next to me, buries her nose into her phone and stimulates the senses with music and media. I used to be annoyed by this, but now I am just grateful that we have these possibilities. Our legs gently touch as the train sways. We briefly smile at each other. In this country we can sit next to each other, man and woman, our past, religio or ethnicality does not matter. The touching of legs is not impure, it just happens accidentally. We do not have to ritually cleanse ourselves or feel bad.
I am also free to travel to a friend. I am Buddhist and Catholic. He is Baha’i. He lives a half country away from me. I am not a wealthy man, but I am still at liberty to visit him. I do not take my friends, my life or my liberties for granted. I am thankful of living in this state of perceived freedom. This is my home. Although I am often discontent with the current society’s norms and values, I am thankful to call the Netherlands my home. I am thankful to be at liberty to write this and share my ideas in liberty. Every day again. This I’ll defend.
Namaste, dear readers. Not the hipster namaste, but a well meant recognition of my mind meeting yours in freedom.