PROBABLY everyone at one time or another has felt trapped--by a job, a relationship, perhaps even by a body that seems too weak or too ill for us to do what we'd like to. It is possible to quit a job or sever a relationship in an effort to find freedom, but this often doesn't help. We may simply find ourselves feeling trapped in another situation. We need to find a more satisfying, lasting solution.The good news is that we're not bound to go from one form of bondage to another. There is freedom for us in understanding man's spiritual existence. Spiritual existence isn't reserved for life after death. Rather, spiritual existence is native to us and always at hand. In fact, it's the true state of being for man, who is in reality the child--or spiritual image--of God. The Bible has a lot to say about finding the freedom of spiritual existence. And the Bible brings out clearly that this freedom is something we can experience here and now. But we have to accept actively the spiritual understanding that frees us. As John's Gospel records Christ Jesus' famous words: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. And the Psalmist expressed a similar concept when he sang, "I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. As we seek to understand the underlying truth of being and strive to live in accord with this truth, we will find freedom and "walk at liberty. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out: "Truth brings the elements of liberty. On its banner is the Soul-inspired motto, 'Slavery is abolished.' The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love. What is this liberating truth? It's quite simple. But because it is radically different from the conventional beliefs about existence, it does not always seem easy to accept. The truth is that because God is Spirit, and because He is infinite, all is Spirit. This means that man, the image and likeness of God, is completely spiritual, not material, not bound by material limitations. Living in accord with this truth requires first an acceptance of the truth and then a willingness to yield up the worldly habits and desires that would turn us away from Spirit, or divine Love. This is demanding. But although it takes effort to turn from material-mindedness to God, the reward is the sweet peace and joy of spiritual freedom. And this understanding of spiritual freedom begins to release us from the traps of materiality--from stress, from fear, from destructive habits, from illness and i njury. I had an experience that helped me understand this. I injured my leg while running. The injury was painful and restricted movement. A few days later I was praying about the hostages taken by Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. As I prayed, I found myself expanding my prayers to include everyone who seems to be a hostage of some kind--a hostage to poverty, fear, violence, ignorance, illness. I saw that God's child cannot be held hostage by evil--whether that evil seems to be sin, physical injury, or a cruel tyrant. This is impossible, because God's man is actually forever governed by infinite, divine Love. I realized later that my leg was healed. I felt so free and strong the next time I went running! I was also, of course, very grateful when the hostages were released. There is much more praying--and freeing--to be done, for those who are literally held hostage and for everyone who feels trapped by the limitations of material existence. But we can start by acknowledging man's true, spiritual selfhood and actually doing what it takes to express more of this pure, loving selfhood. This will help bring man's inherent, spiritual freedom to light.