In her book about her 50 state voyage, Packing Light, Allison Vesterfelt wrote, “Freedom is less about circumstance than it is about perspective,” while she was camping in the Rocky Mountains.  I love this quote because it shows how important our mental approach to life can be.  In my personal life I have had thousands of experiences where I feel limited or trapped by job, school, money, and more, but when I consider this quote and look at those times in my life from new perspectives, I see how instead of being trapped I was often times offered new opportunities or had the ability to choose how I spent my time.
Two of the most common forms of meditation are focus and awareness meditation.  With focus meditation your goal is to learn how to control your thoughts and bring them back to the things life you want to focus on, while in awareness meditation your goal is to become more aware of your surroundings and thoughts. Both of these practices help you find new perspectives in your life. (Unfortunately I have not managed to build any form of meditation into my daily life, but I do hope to get to a point where I do find a way to make meditation a habit.) Meditation can help you avoid the trapped feeling I mentioned in the first paragraph because it opens your mind to the world around you, and you begin to recognize your thoughts and actions so that you can focus them in a more productive way.
Feeling a sense of freedom when others may feel trapped really can depend on perspective and the mental approach you bring to a given situation. For me I have just moved out from my parents house into my first apartment. It has been easy for me to feel limited now that I live farther away from everything, must drive longer to get places, do not have a nice yard or large kitchen. With this whole process I have had to practice changing my perspective to see the positive changes I am making. Refocusing my thoughts helps me find a sense of pride in myself and where I am.  This is a process (and a state of life) that I am sure most people go through, but I have felt as though I have been aided in this process thanks to my commitment to self awareness which started about a year ago when I was introduced to a brilliant young writer named Paul Jun. His blog can be found at, where he writes all about meditation, self awareness, and self control.