If there’s anything that seems to create both longing and repulsion in our society, it’s power. People see it, and are both drawn to it and repulsed by its misuse. Even if we try to avoid power, we cannot avoid it completely. Power is a need as much as breathing and connections are. Without power, we would have no energy, and would only be a husk instead of dynamic beings.
However, the manifestation of power can vary greatly in its degree. Here’s some examples (those of you into Michael will recognize them) :
- Power from obtaining blind unquestioning obedience from others.
- Power from learning how to follow “the rules”.
- Power obtained from positions in society.
- Power from being an active member in a community and the support that means.
- Power obtained from knowing yourself.
You can see a progression there. This comes in to what true power means to me:
You know when you have reached a state of true power when your power cannot be taken away.
If you look at the above list, only the last item cannot be taken away. Others can refuse to listen and obey you, rules change, positions can disappear, and communities can undergo upheaval. Jobs can be lost; friends can be offended. As Buddhism teaches : everything in this world is transient.
However, I’m discovering more and more in my life things which are not transient, but are simply intrinsically part of who I am. Here are some things that give me power.