Okay, you might be feeling a bit skeptical or incredulous at the moment.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to give you some fanciful monologue about how we’re all free spirits. That would be ridiculous because it’s simply not true. Nor am I going to give you the same old hackneyed stereotypical definition.
If you want to discover whether you’re a free spirit or not, you need to ask yourself one question:
What’s more important to you in life, complacency or freedom?
I’ll help you figure out what your true answer is in a little bit.
But first, I know you’re a busy person, so let’s get to the good stuff:
Table of contents
The Free Spirit Has the Essence of a Wolf
Yes, you heard me.
The free spirit has the same essence as the wolf. (On a side note, maybe that’s why wolves have been so feared and respected throughout millennia?) I’ll explain why soon. But let’s examine the time-honored image of the free spirit first.
Traditionally, a free spirit is seen as one who doesn’t like to be tied down, who wants to run free, liberated from confines of family and society. Think of all those famous derelicts, hippies, and brooding heartthrobs seen in TV, film, and pop culture.
But there’s one big problem with this depiction of the free spirit: it’s still enslavement. These supposed “free spirits” that we wish to model ourselves upon are still not free. Superficially they look liberated. On the surface, they seem to be living the dream.
But if you’ve ever met a so-called free spirit who indirectly models themselves upon the pop-culture-ideal, you’ll soon realize that something’s off with them.
They’re still running away from something.
And yes, having the guts to rebel against big corporations, the oppressive modern lifestyle, and society at large is brave. But is it truly freedom? Is it truly what defines a “free spirit”?
Freedom is not only external– it is also internal. Free-dom, or being free from domination, is just as much about our own minds as it is about the outer state of the world.
If you don’t have the desire to liberate yourself from the outer and inner voices of oppression, but prefer to be a respectable sheeple of society, freedom isn’t important to you. Convenience and complacency are.
If you don’t have the drive to be liberated from ALL sources of enslavement, whether in the outside world or inside reality, the term “free spirit” is just a stylish feel-good label with no real substance. It’s on par with dressing in gypsy soul boho clothes, adorning yourself in exotic jewelry, and getting a big “free spirit” tattoo and plastering it all over social media – it looks nice superficially, but it’s not the real deal.
The inner wolf is the embodiment of the free spirit. She can be all things and thrive in all states. She can be the nurturer and protector, the observer and the instigator, the gatherer and the fighter, the solitary one and the pack member. She is not limited by one state of being. Above all, courage defines the inner wolf, and it is this essence that forges the true free spirit.
Are you willing to use your teeth to shred through outer AND inner oppression relentlessly? Do you crave for freedom more than complacency? Let’s find out …
How to Know Whether You’re a Free Spirit
I’m going to ask you one question.
This question, more or less, will help you to honestly assess your real desires, and therefore whether you’re a free spirit or not.
Question 1 – Choose one statement you most resonate with:
a) I prefer my spirituality to affirm and comfort me.
b) I prefer my spirituality to challenge and deconstruct me.
Take a few moments to seriously consider this question.
(Of course, you can take our free spirit test if you struggle with answering this question and need more variety.)
If you chose (a) you value complacency and freedom is of secondary importance to you. If you chose (b) you value freedom and are therefore a free spirit.
As spiritual teacher Adyashanti writes, “Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”
We often think the spiritual path is a feel-good journey – and at the beginning stages that may be true. It’s also fine to use spirituality to create comfort and security. But at the deeper levels, it is a journey towards freedom through self-realization (i.e. enlightenment), and that process is messy, uncomfortable, and challenging.
Ultimately, it’s neither good nor bad whether you’re a free spirit or not. We’re all at different levels of growth, and that’s okay. You don’t HAVE to be a free spirit any more than you don’t have to be a ballet dancer, truck driver, or reiki healer. Different strokes for different folks as they say. Some people need to be comforted and affirmed, others don’t.
Also, if you discover that you don’t have a free spirit essence, I want you to know that a ‘free spirit’ isn’t who you’re naturally born to be, it’s who you BECOME.
Yes, you can choose to become a free spirit.
If you’re starting to discover that comfort and complacency aren’t nourishing your soul any longer, you can absolutely make the decision to live like a free spirit. It will take time, practice, and authentic guidance, but the door is always open to you.
So with that being said, what is a free spirit? Let’s create a formal definition here:
What is a Free Spirit?
A free spirit is a person who desires to be free from all external and internal oppressive forces above all else. The free spirit is by nature a rebel who may appear eccentric, weird or otherworldly to society. They choose to walk a different path in life that empowers them to listen to the voice of their soul, be free from suffering and enslavement, and fulfill their destiny.
Forget the stereotypical image of the bohemian traveler: a free spirit can be a homebody or adventurer, a family person or a loner, an outspoken extrovert or a reflective introvert. Being a free spirit is an ESSENCE, not an external image or label. If you value truth and freedom more than you value comfort and complacency, you’re a free spirit.
7 Signs of the Free Spirit
Stereotypes aside, here are seven authentic signs of the free spirit:
- You’re a rebel and non-conformist
- You’re an innovator and dreamer
- You thirst for truth
- You have an inner “BS” detector
- You welcome challenge
- Your heart is your compass
- “I will not be enslaved” is your unconscious motto
I’ll go more into depth below:
1. You’re a rebel and non-conformist
By nature, you’re a non-conformist. You don’t like walking the path other’s set before you. You want to trailblaze your own destiny. You instinctually fight against anyone’s attempt to put you in a box, contain you, suppress you, silence you, or numb you.
2. You’re an innovator and dreamer
As a free spirit, you’re not afraid to let your mind wander to new horizons and realities. You have big ideas that may sound far-fetched or bizarre to others. Being rejected for your goals, plans or inventions is a big thorn in your side. Others can’t seem to get on the same page as you! You’re a visionary who always enjoys finding new ways of doing things differently than others.
3. You thirst for truth
How can a person be free when they’re living a lie? Or believing lies? In your heart and soul, you long to find truth, both in everyday life and metaphysically. The old aphorism “the truth shall set you free” is something you carry deep inside your heart. You are willing to be wrong and are open to many different explanations. What is most important to you is what is real.
4. You have an inner “BS” detector
Part of that thirst for truth is the desire for authenticity – in yourself and in others. You can smell bullshit from a mile away and it disturbs you. How can you (or others) be free when deception and phoniness are running rampant? You despise playing roles and putting on masks and you can’t be around fake people for very long before the desire to run for the hills bursts like a howl out of you.
5. You welcome challenge
Life becomes dead and stagnant when there’s no challenge. Although you may find it a bit scary and intimidating, being challenged is welcome by you as a free spirit. You know, deep down, that to be free from inner and outer oppression you must grow. And to grow, you must be challenged. You don’t seek comfort or complacency. You seek to feel and be alive. You seek to transform into the highest version of yourself possible.
6. Your heart is your compass
Your heart is your compass and you direct your life accordingly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re reckless, but it does mean that you’re always striving to do what you love – because when you accomplish this, you feel free. Furthermore, you don’t just let what you’re passionate about sit on the back burner or fizzle away into oblivion, you find some way of incorporating it into your life. Even if you have abandoned your passions, you become passionate about trying to reconnect with them. You want to live a life that you love and offer something to the world that you truly believe in.
7. “I will not be enslaved” is your unconscious motto
As a natural rebel, you seek to remove beliefs, ideologies, habits, careers, and people from your life that cause you to feel oppressed, and therefore enslaved. You do this on both a physical and a metaphysical (or emotional/mental/spiritual) level.
You are attracted to people and paths that encourage the growth of your passionate spirit. You refuse to be tamed by the opinions or desires of others. You may be perceived as selfish, but deep down you know that you must respect and love yourself in order to share your gifts with the world.
If the beliefs, habits, and traumas within YOU are the source of your own suffering, you’ll try your utmost to free yourself from them. You realize that in order to be fully free, you must be comfortable and at home within yourself. Therapy, self-exploration, inner work, and spiritual practice will all be methods by which you seek to liberate yourself from suffering. Being a free spirit will become less about traveling the external world as it will be about traversing, and mastering, the inner landscape.
How to Be a Free Spirit?
You might be unsure about where you stand right now. You might want to be a free spirit, but your behavior may indicate otherwise.
As I mentioned before, being a free spirit is a choice that arises from deep within you. When the pain of staying the same becomes more than the pain of growing, you will choose growth more than complacency.
And if you don’t feel that pain intensely enough yet, don’t worry. Just look at flowers: they start as tightly furled buds. But eventually, life demands that they open. You are the same. We all are.
So ultimately, no matter what happens, eventually Life demands that we arise out of our stupors, free ourselves of the shackles that bind us, and unite again with that Divine essence which lies in the heart of all of us.
Whatever the case, you are destined to be a free spirit, you can be assured of that.
I realize that my definition may be different than others, and that’s fine. But when examining the word “freedom,” in relation to the “free” spirit, I apply it holistically to the entire spectrum of a person, which means the outer and inner worlds.
A major part of embodying the free spirit essence is liberating yourself from everything that holds you back. This is an external and internal process.
Let go of the stereotypical notion that you have to cut ties with everyone and wander barefoot through the world to be a free spirit. You don’t even have to like traveling to be a free spirit. Nor do you have to be a modern hippy or bohemian.
Being a free spirit is an essence, a call that emerges from deep inside. When we are in touch with this inner fire, we are in touch with the inner wolf; that powerful force that craves freedom above all else. We might have to become a lone wolf for a while, we might have to leave the confines of social convention. But the journey is worth taking, for without it, we’ll eventually wind up feeling empty and dead inside no matter how comfortable our external lives look.
Do you agree with the definition of the free spirit put forth in this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with living as a free spirit. Please share below!