The last car payment I made was in early 2003. I had paid two payments at a time whenever I could, so my present car was fully my own almost a year before the due date of the loan. In fact, the bank sent me a sizable check to refund the loan interest I had paid but was not due anymore.
Yes, I hate car payments. To me car loans feel like death looming over me, like the Sword of Damocles. They’re part of an ages old dilemma, the obligations we incur from indebtedness.
In order to exist in today’s society, we are expected to acquire a place to live and a mechanized means of transportation. Both of these are very costly. Whether we pay a home mortgage or rent, housing costs are ever present in most of our lives. Transportation costs are much more flexible. It is much easier to get safe, reliable motorized transportation than to find secure, affordable housing.
We’ve seen the Internet advertising of people advocating that we can become multi-millionaires. They tell us that freedom is found in possessing great wealth. If one uses their techniques, a person can enjoy the freedom to have nice things like Lamborghinis, jet-setting, mansions, and even philanthropy. There is a nugget of truth to the message, a healthy nest egg can enable a happy lifestyle.
It’s easy to forget that people can easily become fixated on becoming multi-millionaires or billionaires. They yoke themselves to the idea of depending on wealth to provide the “finer” things like fancy homes and cars. This results from the belief that value lies in how much you have in your bank account and how many beautiful things you own. What often results is an unhealthy bond with materialistic desire and becoming controlled by bondage to the lifestyle.
Most of us don’t worry about our grand estate mansions nor our Lamborghinis, because we don’t have them. We are more prone to have concerns over unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, gambling debt, over obligating ourselves to others, unproductive careers, consumerism and materialism. It’s so easy to become burdened with habits and attachments that create feelings of bondage and helplessness.
It’s easy to believe we are being controlled by outside powers even though we create our own imprisonment and powerlessness. Eventually we become aware that we are stuck and we want freedom from all these artificial concerns.
It is when we reach this claustrophobic state that we become open to new perspectives in order to shake off the chains of bondage. This is a dangerous space. We might be tempted to exchange our chains of bondage for the yoke of a new religion or philosophy that promises to ease life’s journey. The righteous search for ultimate truths is a seductive trap with delicious baits to entice troubled souls. (I’ve been down that road.)
People who honestly want to be truly free understand that authentic freedom is hard won. It is a journey of discovery, experimentation, and setbacks. With practice, it becomes easier to avoid the dead-ends of glorious promise that intersect with our paths.
There is the initial audit we take of life. We set about to eliminate the things that are harmful to our lives and our inner psyches. It is necessary to be brutally honest and to do so with compassion.
Just as each of us has autobiographies unlike any other, our paths to freedom will be unique as well. We might be ensnared by overeating, substance abuse, over indulgence in media, consumerism, political radicalism, spiritual fanaticism, etcetera. These are not abstract things. They can be challenged and actually dealt with.
When we are ready to get on with living the joyful, free life we deserve, we’ll face that “dark night of the soul” and refocus on what truly, personally matters. Forget about proxies in the form of trendy techniques, shortcuts, and authorities. There will be a lot of actual letting go of fears and anxieties to do. The rewards will be many and ongoing.
Breaking free is entirely up to you.