Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power - Abraham Lincoln
Power is a theme strongly prevalent in our society that is often portrayed as the ability to control others. It’s often been presented on TV or in the movies as manipulative, controlling, fear based, ruthless and many other adjectives that focus on ego centered dramas. If you recall the TV show “Dallas,” its main character “J.R. Ewing” was a prime example. This character embodied the worst aspects of those who have power and lord it over others. In this particular case it was through money however, it’s not only in fiction that this attitude is portrayed. Sadly, the basis for this type of character is drawn from real life and can be seen throughout our society.
In government, for example, corruption and abuse of power on the federal, state and/or local level is seen far too often. Elected officials regularly abuse the power given to them in trust by the electorate for their own greed and/or political cronyism. The same pattern can also be seen in businesses, schools and other institutions. It seems that one can’t open a newspaper or listen to the news these days without some new form of corruption, scandal or abuse being reported on. So the question becomes, why? Why do we allow such people to have power over us? Why do those to whom we give our trust stomp on that trust so frequently?
The answer may surprise you.
It’s We who are Responsible for these abuses and scandals!
How can I say that we are responsible? Because each of us in different ways, have been giving away our power to others by allowing them to make choices for us rather than making our own choices, literally from the day we were born.
For example, as we were growing up, it was our parents who initially made our choices for us. This was further impressed upon us in school, when our teachers and the school system basically told us what we could and could not do. It was further impressed upon us when we left high school to enter college and even more so when we entered the working world. Yes, of course, on each of these levels we were generally granted increasingly greater rights and privileges, as we demonstrated our ability to make decisions wisely and with good judgement. But this is also a generalization and not necessarily true in many cases. This is particularly so, where the degree of freedom to choose was limited by fears, doubts and uncertainties in those who had the power to grant those privileges. By this I mean our parents, family members, teachers, etc. The regiments of our societal structure tend to erode our ability to make our own choices in favor of holding out others, as more capable and able to decide for us. Yes, its necessary to have a certain degree of conformity in order for society and structure to coexist and of course, there will always be those who know more or are wiser than others in various situations. As a result we have often let others make our choices for us rather than take the responsibility ourselves.
Making our own choices is a skill to be learned.
Unfortunately, the price we pay for not taking responsibility has become the gradual deterioration of our ability to make our own choices, to effectively plot our course in life, rather than just accept what is presented and most importantly to face the fears and traumas that have kept us from exercising our natural gifts, talents and innate ability more fully.
There is another reason why we abdicate our choices so readily. As noted above, the representation of power in this society is mostly negative. In my opinion, the phrase that would best describe the generalized view of power is “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When one comes from this perspective, it’s easy to see why we might shy away from exercising our own power.
Yet, there is another reason that is even more pervasive. Within each of us, is a fear that we rarely acknowledge - that we are actually far more powerful than we allow ourselves to be. In a deeper part of our awareness, we remember who we really are. A being of such presence and intensity that, if we were to allow our light to fully shine it would be blinding to those around us - friends and foes alike - bringing up the greater fear that expressing this power would eventually ostracize us from our friends and family.
Why do we fear our own power? We fear our power because we have been taught that only the elite, those special few, know how to wield it appropriately. That someone who has made a lot of money is a positive role model and is worthy of emulation - regardless of how that money was made. This concept is heavily propagated by the media who regularly report on and glorify those who are held out as celebrities, usually for a specific accomplishment or some excessive purchase and much more rarely because they are self actualized people. (I guess the old adage “sensationalism sells” sums it up best). Of course, there are those who are acknowledged as self actualized and deserving of emulation, but they are far fewer than those whose celebrity is primarily superficial.
On the other hand, what we view as true power, how it’s wielded and what it means is rarely given such focused attention. In fact, it seems as if our view of true power is more akin to the comic book stereotype of the overly egoistical mind. That in order to have power one has to be tough, strong and able to make hard decisions where emotions do not play a role and compassion is often a secondary thought - overshadowed by political considerations and/or economics.
So, What is True Power?
True power is the exact opposite of what we have been talking about - which is more properly defined as positional power, i.e., drawn from the structure that provided it. However, if the structure were to fall, the positional power would be lost. This is what happens to many who define themselves by their work or possessions without acknowledging their own true talents and abilities.
True power, sometimes referred to as authentic power, comes from a sense of safety and acceptance of our self and expresses itself in the form of compassion, understanding, acceptance and empathy for others - without fear of being seen as weak or ineffectual. It’s about creating situations where everyone benefits and not just a select few. The win/win scenario is a concept that supports this ideal. Where positional power needs a focus and a forum in which to be exercised, true power comes from within the individual. This power doesn’t rest upon any structure or platform that can be taken away. It’s authenticity comes from deep within, built upon a foundation of relinquished fears and traumas of the past - recognizing that our real strength comes from letting go of what was - by embracing our fears and moving past them.
FDR’s exhortation during the dark days of WWII -
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”
says it all. Letting go of our fears, allow us to be that powerful being that we really are.
As we can see more clearly now, the idea that real power is just for those who are elite thinkers, the movers and shakers of this world is outdated. It’s perfectly appropriate to acknowledge others and support them for their accomplishments and positive deeds. It is also necessary, however, to balance those accomplishments equally with those who make their contributions on levels that are not just economic, but humanitarian as well.
Within each of us is an immensely powerful being that has waited quietly, calmly, patiently for us to recognize its potential. It is this part of us, the unfettered aspect that recognizes who we are and what our path is that lays waiting for discovery. In fact, if you wanted to give it a title, I would be quick to call it the “The Last Frontier.” Why? Because it’s here that our greatest ambitions, accomplishments and achievements lay waiting for us to discover them. Healing the sick and afflicted, feeding the world’s hungry, easing the suffering of those who have less are wonderfully humanitarian goals that deserve acknowledgment and support. But not one of those wondrous goals can be fully accomplished without healing the fears, traumas and issues within us that keep us from accepting ourselves and each other to become all that we can be.
To quote Eleanore Roosevelt - “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face”
So how do we accomplish this goal? By actively moving through the things we fear - not pushing them away, but acknowledging the hurts and pain of the past. Not all at one time of course, but here and there as we’re able to - recognizing that fear of dealing with an issue keeps us a prisoner of the past.
Below are some simple suggestions to help you move through your fears and develop your own authentic power:
When you become aware that you are holding fear around an issue, experience or trauma of the past - regardless if you understand why you feel this way or how it was created - acknowledge it. Then immediately call upon God, your Higher Self, any of the Angels, Ascended Masters, a religious figure you feel comfortable with, call on any or all of them if you like and ask for help in releasing this feeling. Don’t try to think it out or get an intellectual understanding of why you feel as you do - just ask for help to release it. When you feel the emotion, you are in direct contact with the event that created the fear. This is when it is most ready to be released. Thinking about or intellectualizing it, takes you out of the moment and the opportunity is lost. This method is very much about listening to your emotional, feeling nature without engaging ego. It’s a very effective method and the more you use it the easier it will become.
Another area that keeps us a prisoner of the past is guilt, regret and remorse. So often we are told to forgive those who transgress against us, just as we are told to ask for forgiveness from those whom we offend. However, it’s not often discussed, but there is a third action to consider which is asking forgiveness for ourselves.
Guilt, regret and remorse are the most useless of emotions. The beauty of this exercise is that regardless of how much guilt, regret or remorse you feel - it can all be released just by asking for it.
The best part is that it doesn’t matter whether you were the aggrieved or the aggressor in the situation nor does it matter if you were right or wrong. Judgment is not a part of this process. Simply asking for the release makes it all happen.
The more you honestly wish to release your pain, the greater your success will be. Just as in the previous exercise, this method works with your emotional feeling nature and can be utilized anywhere and anytime.
As before -
call upon God, your Higher Self, the Angels, Ascended Masters or any religious figure you feel comfortable with and ask for forgiveness for yourself as it serves the highest good
and watch how quickly your guilt, regret and remorse leave you.
This exercise always brings to mind a special woman. This client was carrying a great deal of guilt over how she had been treated by her mother while growing up. She was neglected, verbally abused and made to feel worthless. She spent much of her adult years trying to prove she was worthwhile, all the time hearing her mother’s voice telling her that she was no good. The physical effects of this abuse were significant. Aside from low self esteem, she also experienced depression and diabetes. I asked her if she were tired of carrying the guilt around with her and ready to let go of this difficult experience and she said she was ready. The release brought up a lot of sadness and hurt feelings. After several minutes she felt lighter and more centered. A few days later she called to say that her depression, which had made it difficult for her to get out of bed before 11 a.m., had lifted and she no longer able to sleep past 8 a.m. on any given day.
In some cases, you may need to use this exercise several times or more on the issues or experiences to help it release. Remember, this practice is tied to your willingness to let go. If you say yes, I’m ready to let go but it’s only an action of the mind, it will not work well for you. However, if you ask for release with the conviction that you really mean what you say, you will experience the most wonderful feelings of peace and ease. As I’ve said to many people over the years, this exercise can change a person’s life with just a simple, focused thought. I can’t stress its benefits enough and you have nothing to lose but the thoughts and fears that have held you back from being more of whom you really are - the loving, compassionate, empowered being of light that is your true self.
When we see our fears for what they are, shadows of what was once our truth, and recognize that the way to heal, is to move through them, momentarily experiencing the emotional pain in order to release this old hurt. By this process we find our true, authentic power. Letting go of fear and stepping forward into greater acceptance of our self is the single greatest effort we can make in order to take our power back. Each time we do this, we reclaim a small part of our larger self that enables us to more readily embrace our ability to accurately and effectively chart our own course.
As we continue the process over days, weeks and months, we begin to see an accumulation of more and more strength and ability to choose our own path. This is the course that will allow us to step forward into true compassion and consideration, which are the hallmarks of personal power - without the egoic aspect of fear that supports the energies of greed, avarice and engorgement. This is the change that needs to occur if we are to truly heal and become the realized beings that we really are.
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear - Ambrose Redmoon