War is a great example of the false power we're used to seeing. People who chose to go to war operate under the assumption that causing pain and death will bring an outcome that the individual or group of individuals desire. War is unnatural, and that's why war requires a huge amount of energy to destroy people and structures. This extreme example of false power inevitably leaves people on all sides of the confrontation deeply wounded physically and emotionally. Because this false power doesn't resolve real issues, the deeper issues that created the conflict will rise up again in a few decades often when the losing side has recovered enough to fight again. Thus, we see cycles of war that continue between different peoples for generations.
Rising Up to Face Abuses of Power
True power arises from several avenues that ultimately are all interconnected. It arises from knowing yourself. It arises from true love--the profound acceptance of everything as it is. It arises from the timeless presence that moves us intuitively to action. It arises from truth--the ability to see and speak about reality and not ego fantasy. True power is a profound force to build your life upon, and it allows us to co-create with life in extraordinary ways. Someone acting from true power does not force their will onto others, but that does not limit the individual's ability to act responsibly for those who are incapable of acting responsibly. Just as parents set firm boundaries with their children, a person wielding true power can set firm boundaries for those who are out of control and causing harm to themselves and/or others.
This all leads to the question of how to embrace the true power within you. It starts by going within.
The Sincere Journey Inwards
The sad truth is that most people don't want to go inwards. They don't want to challenge their assumptions and ideas about themselves. They just want whatever their ego and society tells them to want. This attitude carries itself right onto the spiritual path. Many people just want to hear certain types of spiritual stories and ideas even if they won't truly help them. They want to hear that they'll be safe, find true love, make lots of money (usually by doing whatever they think their "purpose" is), and so on. It often takes a near death experience or another tragic event to shake up people enough to be willing to deal with their internal landscape and accept truths that don't fit with their ego desires.
Near Death Experiences and Spiritual Awakening
In facing one's pain and discovering truth, this is the start of discovering what real power is like. True power gets unleashed as old ideas and silent wounds are addressed because so much of people's power and energy is locked up in holding pain, avoiding pain, medicating pain, and so forth. Many of my students and those of you who have done significant inner work know how much energy can come up when you let go of an issue. It can be startling. A person can be like, "Wow! How could I be holding this much energy inside? Is this really me?"
Yes. It is really you.
People are used to disempowering themselves first and foremost, and that's why the discussion for embracing true power naturally takes us inward first. Learn to break down all those old walls and inner lies to unleash you energy. That is the start to embracing your own power...at least in its immature state.
Maturing in Your Own PowerGive a child a hammer, and they won't really know what to do with it. They'll hit a lot of things--maybe even themselves--before finally hitting a nail. As someone discovers what true power is like, they generally have to go through a time of integration--a time of learning what true power even is. Too often those who are immature on the spiritual path will want to dash off and save the world before they're done saving themselves. So--as per usual--my advice is to sit and be still. Get used to what power actually feels like in your own space. Get used to the strength within your own soul. This is not the time to do anything if you've just released a couple of issues. In fact, you need this little amount of newfound power to help break through the deeper issues.
Like so much of the spiritual path, we seem to get a little bit of power at a time. But because we have no perspective on it, it tends to feel immense when we're first handed this little water pistol. We feel like it's a fire hose on full blast! So, we have to get used to holding and wielding this little amount of power, and then we have turn that energy on ourselves to open up the next level of issues. If we don't, we often don't have enough intensity to break down the next set of issues. The inner fires aren't hot enough to melt the base metals inside of us. So those old pains stay stuck. Thus, we have to learn to remain in the fire and get accustomed to the discomfort of inner work that frees us from deeper delusions and pain. In releasing those energies, our own power expands again so that we can go deeper still. At each step, the intensity tends to get greater, but the more you are set in your resolve and trusting in the power of your own energy, the more you can handle the intensity. In handling your own pain and inner intensities, that naturally matures you and helps you to understand how to wield your power mindfully.
Drawing Deep Into the Well of LoveAs I mentioned earlier, a central aspect of true power is love. This is not the lovey-dovey, kissy-kissy love, people. This is the profound acceptance of all of life as it is.
What Is Love?
Acceptance of all of life is critical to embracing your power. Most of the time, we see the ego using false power out of a rejection of the world. It is attempting to change people and situations to fit its own goals about how the world should behave. Many wounded healers attempt to help others, but this is a corrupted attitude when the person thinks that things should change. The deepest healing is what arises when we do not seek to change things. True power arises most strongly when we have no need or desire to change things, and ironically enough, that tends to lead to the strongest and most powerful kinds of change possible--changes we might not have been able to envision before.
This concept tends to bend people's minds, but this is good. We need to learn how life really works rather than imposing more misconceptions onto the world. In all of our misuses of power, we can see a long testament to our stupidity and ignorance in the history of wars and atrocities. It's like an extensive list of events, saying over and over again, "We don't get it. We don't get it. We don't get it." What we don't get is that love has to be the basis of all action. It has to be at the core of power. Otherwise, it's just the ego flailing about, imposing its will on life, and creating more suffering.
Seeing the TruthThe more we accept things as they are, the more easily we see what is real and what is not. Consider if a doctor were to operate on you, but they were stuck in the fantasyland of wanting to believe you needed to remove a kidney . However, the reality is you need to have your appendix removed. What would happen? They would remove the healthy organ and leave the unhealthy organ inside, which could cause you even greater problems. Removing the healthy organ would also have unhealthy repercussions. This is essentially what a lot of human beings do via ignorance and wanting to believe their own ego stories. So when a real problem arises, they don't see what is really happening; they misdiagnose; and they take action in a way that doesn't address the real problem and potentially makes things worse. Perhaps you can think of a couple ways that you have done this. In general, looking at your own misconceptions of past situations can be a helpful journaling exercise.
But when you see the truth, everything changes. That makes you very powerful because you can address real issues. You can address the appendix issue of the patient mentioned above, and what will probably happen? That patient will get healthy again. What happens if you address your abandonment issues instead of trying to get others to treat you differently? You can heal and be happier just as you are. What happens if you address income inequality in a poor neighborhood? You can get a reduction in crime. I'm offering these scenarios to give you an idea of the importance of seeing life as it is. It makes things easier and often resolves multiple issues because you can clearly see and address the root problem.
How to Create Conscious Change
I make distinctions like within and without because we are human beings living in a dualistic world. However, the more you go inwards, the more you really feel that oneness that permeates you. You are not separate from anything. That reality is where we go to understand what is flowing and where we feel most divinely called to go. In this way, we become powerful just by understanding this divine ocean and feeling its currents. Fighting these currents is exhausting. In fighting the Divine, we are fighting ourselves, and that inner division leads to a loss of power. Uniting your energy with yourself and with the divine ocean of consciousness leads to tremendous power. You can influence great change with little effort when you join with this flow. But at times, there may be great efforts required of you. However, those efforts feel different when you are plugged into this vast energy source--the Divine universe.
Trusting the Divine Power Within and Around You
Trusting this flow guides you to action and rest because both are expressions of true power. A lot of times people only think of power in terms of action, but there are many ways where non-action has a huge influence too. Sometimes, we say the most when we are silent. Silence, in and of itself, is a truly powerful force, but we do not understand these things until we know ourselves and trust this divine flow.
That trust often challenges additional core beliefs that people have. We want to believe that we control our lives. We do not. We can only choose to paddle our boats as the river of life dictates. Otherwise, we can be lost in a constant, exhausting struggle with life that causes us and others to suffer greatly while going nowhere.