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Some thoughts on Sovereignty

I have thought a lot about the notion of sovereignty in recent years. It seems to me that self sovereignty is associated with a yearning for authenticity. This means the ability to be true and real; to choose the direction of one’s own life, being free to chose and being the exclusive authority over one’s own body and mind.

Clearly then, freedom is a key aspect of sovereignty, but this existential freedom is also grounded in responsibility. In the realising of freedom, I am also taking responsibility for my self and for my life. This reminds me of the famous words of famous existentialist, Jean Paul Satre, “condemned to freedom.” Satre's philosophy was influenced by the trauma of spending 9 months as a prisoner of war. This time taught him that even when life impinges in the cruellest of ways, each person is endowed with existential freedom to chose who they will be in response to what the world presents.

Acknowledging our ultimate freedom/responsibility or, as I like to think of it, standing in our sovereignty, can feel scary. It probably entails the sense of exposure or 'putting one's head above the parapet,' perhaps risking failure or disapproval from others. If we can find the courage though, if we can drop the fear and the false, self-limiting securities, the rewards are great. Unrestricted by our fears, we can begin to truly take responsibility for our lives, living life as we wish to live it.

While conditioning may have taught us that it is selfish to live as we wish, I have learned that quite the opposite is true. In our natural state we are profoundly social beings and as we liberate our authentic self, then we have available our own unique gifts to give to others and our own unique presence to offer to the world.

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Nelson Mandela

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