Nor a friend to know me;
All I ask, the heaven above
And the road below me.
These last four lines of Robert Louis Stevenson's ballad "Vagabond" are for me a declaration of the highest freedom that a human being can reach while living on the Earth. This freedom can be enjoyed by a vagabond and a hermit alike. These conditions are not necessarily physical. We can live a free life of a vagabond or hermit while living in and working for the society. Freedom does not mean the absence of external constraints, but the presence of internal fullness. In other words, a really free person is equally free on both sides of a prison wall. This kind of transcendental freedom is the privilege of people whose inner residence is placed beyond the boundary drawn by ego or self-love.
"Wealth I ask not" is the declaration of liberty from material things, and "hope nor love," from egoistic desires and emotions. "Nor a friend to know me" is the liberation from the need for social recognition and look-at-me kind of ego trips. The "heaven above" is the highest human ideal, divinity, and the "road below me" is the mission to accomplish to make the Earth life meaningful for humanity. The "heaven above" and "road below" do not represent a dualistic separation of spirit and matter, but a monistic union of these two poles. It means the merging of the negative (matter) and positive (spirit) poles into the eternal spiritual heaven, the destination of the path of spiritual evolution (involution).
Vagabondish or hermit lifestyle pursues a path of liberation from the attachment to all temporary things. This can also be described as a continuous process of gradually moving from the realm governed by material and egoistic principles to the realm governed by spiritual and universal principles. The mission part of such life as expressed by the "road below me" is the process of fulfilling the meaning of human existence by using personal talent for the good of humanity. For me, this mission is something worthy of pursuit for everybody and it is in essence as simple as being happy and good for the self and others.