The Ultimate Freedom: Choosing Your Thoughts


When I was 11 years old I watched a TV movie that made a profound impression on me. I’ll never forget sitting down with my family in 1971 to watch the ABC Movie of the Week,  The Birdmen.

The Birdmen is based on the true story of British officers captured by Germany during World War II and imprisoned in the infamous Colditz Castle, a high alpine POW camp on the Swiss-German border. The prisoners built a glider in an attempt to escape the castle.

In the most memorable scene from the movie, the POWs are lined up in front of the guards who are harrassing them to give up information.  Defiantly, a lone prisoner begins to sing, then is joined by all the prisoners singing one of the oldest known protest songs, Die Gedanken Sind Frei” (My Thoughts Are Free). (Click here for an audio clip from that part of the movie.)

Thoughts are free, who can guess them?
They flee by like nocturnal shadows.
No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

I think what I want, and what delights me,
still always reticent, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

Your ultimate freedom, that which no man, prison, nation or political system can take from you, is your freedom to think what you want to think. You can choose to think freedom or slavery, victory or defeat, strength or weakness, hope or despair. You have the freedom of choice.

Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to think differently if you have always thought negative thoughts. It’s safer to remain in prison, rather than risk escape. To risk escape means to have hope, and to have hope means the possibility of disappointment.

Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, speaks of his first hand observations that those that gave up hope in the camps were not able to endure, and died. Even though he was enslaved, his mind was free.

Nelson Mandela, although imprisoned for years in South Africa,  kept his hope alive with a speech by Teddy Roosevelt from 1910, “The Man in the Arena”.  (They used the poem Invictus in the recent movie with Morgan Freeman.) Mandela kept his mind away from hatred and revenge and focused on reconciliation.

Born deaf and blind, all  Helen Keller had was her thoughts. Instead of allowing herself to live in a a silent prison of darkness, she eventually went on to publish 12 books, travel to 39 countries and meet every president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon Johnson.

These people took control over their thoughts, and they chose powerfully to think about freedom and truimph over adversity.

In order to exercise this freedom to the fullest, you must first realize where you don’t have control of your own thoughts. How much of your decisions and thoughts are shaped by television, the news media, and advertising? How much of what you think has been programmed into you by parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, friends, or by your social class or peer group? Is what you believe formed by your own consideration, or has it been given to you by religion, politics, or social convention?

The fact is, you will never be entirely free from social conditioning. We learn how to be human and we learn to accept the limitations that all humans accept.

However, we are always free to question what we know to be true, what we know to be possible and even what we think we know about ourselves.

Refuse to let any man or institution deny you your wish or desire to think what you want. Think freely, think powerfully, think courageously. Let your thoughts fly over the walls of your past conditioning, current situation, or future expectations. Realize that if you don’t control your thoughts, someone else will.

Your life is the sum total of your thoughts. Exercise your ultimate freedom to think and create your life. And so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

Your companion on the journey to transformation,


Ted A. Moreno 
Personal/Small Business Coach 
Certified Hypnotherapist
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Ted A. Moreno is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Success Performance Coach. Ted empowers his clients to transform their lives by helping them reach their goals of success, abundance, personal development, health and happiness. To learn more, visit


7 replies
    • Ted A. Moreno
      Ted A. Moreno says:

      Thanks for the comment. I figured that you would, Frank remembers it as well.

  1. Kyle
    Kyle says:

    Thanks Brother Ted! It’s true, what you think & focus on will bring more of the same so CHOOSE to think positively & have an attitude of gratitude. Thank you for helping others live more positively!

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