Tunes of wisdom No.2: Redemption Song, Bob Marley

In Changing life, Joy, Life goals, Positivity, Productivity on April 29, 2012 at 12:06 am

The release of a new documentary about legendary reggae singer Bob Marley, reminded me of one of my favourite songs – ‘Redemption Song.’ I’ve always loved the song, not only because of the beautiful melody, but also the lyrics, especially:

 “Won’t you help to sing, These songs of freedom, ‘Cause all I ever have: Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.”

The lyric – “emancipate yourself from mental slavery” really captures the goal of living life focused on making the best of yourself and whatever circumstances you’re in. If you set aside some time to sit and really think about this lyric it is quite profound in what it says about overcoming mental and emotional restrictions that hamper you. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. It is stark. It captures the struggle and the drama to try and free yourself from all the things and experiences that you allow to keep you down, belittled and less than what you could be.

By ‘mental emancipation’ I mean an emotional and ‘spiritual’ experience – not a theory, philosophical ideal, advertising con-trick, political aspiration or economic target. It is taking part in this ‘mission’ to emancipate yourself from mental slavery that can make the crucial difference between experiencing a life that you truly yearn to live, or living life on the terms of others.

  • Emancipate” is what Bob Marley sings that we should do. That is the action that needs to be taken.
  •  “Yourself” is the subject of this most important effort. And to emancipate yourself you need to start seeing, viewing, feeling and thinking of yourself as worthy, strong (and bothered) enough to experience emancipation.
  • From “slavery” – and specifically “mental slavery. Not an easy task. It might be hardest thing you ever attempt to do. Immense patience is needed of yourself (and of others). Nor, is it always obvious what mental slavery is, or where your mind is in bondage, by the weight of others ideas, views or expectations.

The lyric following Bob Marley’s “emancipate yourself from mental slavery” is “none but ourselves can free our minds.” This again captures something so important in trying to become more aware of yourself and life – it is only you who can change your mind.

You can only do that by choosing. Choose. Life is so much easier when you choose. When you decide.

But, a lot of the time, we don’t choose. We forgo making a choice. We get nudged into situations. We get railroaded by others and situations. Sometimes by force of will, more often than not by the “oughts” and “shoulds” of others, the “do this” and “do that” brigade. What happens? Life certainly goes on; as it must, but the spirit of living fades, it gets drained, we give up faith in our dreams.

The benefits of letting go of mental slavery

Through striving to let go of what blocks your mental freedom, bit by bit you will start to discover the whole you, rather than just part of you. Mental slavery limits. Keeps you partial, divided and limited. Emancipation gives you strength, confidence, self-honesty and eventually true power. True power because it is grounded from within, not dependent on random events or validation from others. Mental emancipation helps you to know your self worth, with the benefit that in different situations and at different times of your life, this will help you make the choices best for you and not what others want. Not that mental emancipation is easy. As you try to shift your own focus, mind, time and energy to let go of old restrictions and unhelpful mental habits it is inevitable that you may start to make choices that are different which can cause friction within. Mental emancipation is rarely a straightforward or linear journey. You go around and around in circles, until one day, you hopefully stop. Emancipating yourself from mental slavery may also cause differences with people around you, who intentionally or not, may try to ‘keep you in your place’ (metaphorically speaking). But, you’ve got to keep on hanging in there, even when things get tougher than you expected. Sometimes it is through these struggles you’re strength and true character will decide to make an appearance! Keep going!

As you take off the chains of mental slavery, you are always creating space in your mind for more vitality and positivity. Emancipating yourself from mental slavery will give you the life-changing inspiration, impetus and fuel to go for your dreams (or re-evaluate them as you start to re-evaluate yourself) and see these achieved.

The effort of trying to let go of mental negativity can be enough to create a few precious insights that are enough to grab your attention, give you a good metaphorical slap, and turn your life from heading in ‘wrong’ direction.

Emancipating yourself from mental slavery will help you develop perspective. And perspective will help take you out of a morass of negativity, restriction and self-condemnation. Emancipation will help you develop self-compassion, and the practice of not being so judgmental against yourself. It can help you find the courage to take a different path and make different decisions. In the long-run, this will help you develop the feeling and firm belief that your own worth is so very priceless. This helps lead to real confidence, because it is confidence that is rooted and firm; not flaky. It is inner confidence that equips you with the spiritual, mental and emotional tools to overcome all the random things that knock you for six.

It is not an easy journey. It seems full of highs and lows, self-inflicted drama and rocked by unexpected, random life events. But the more you can stay committed to emancipating yourself from mental slavery – come hell or high water – the more inspiration will spark within your mind, to help find the strength, focus and determination to gently dislodge your mind from thinking little thoughts about your hidden worth, latent potential and amazing ability.

For info: another post I wrote inspired by uplifting music is about ‘Step by Step’ (Annie Lennox; Whitney Houston). Check it out if you enjoyed this article.


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