On the Nature of Power (Part 2)

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Course Ideas

In the previous post I began an exploration of the theme of power, and in writing it, as so often happens, I discovered something.  These discoveries can’t really be put into words, because I probably had once read the words I wrote in one form or another, could recite the words, but had yet to inhabit the words, or to fully embody the words.  But I think it’s also important to note that in the process of coming to live or accept, or to encounter within, the meaning of the words, that I was never less than I am now.  I wasn’t screwing up.  I wasn’t a person stuck at a particular intersection or still “on a journey” to “get somewhere”.  I was one of you, one of us, an extension of what this all is, in a movement of discovery.  We’re already complete, and we’ll never cease coming to know what that means.

We have a habit to think we were less than- less than we could be, less than we are perhaps meant to be, less than we might have been had we done this or that sooner, whatever- when we discover that today, we are something more, something different, the product of something that has been revealed.  This is a great way to rob ourselves of our true power, for we will always and forever be in the process of becoming, of moving into, of differentiating from, and of authenticating the whole by living into the open doorway that we are.  We were not previously less than.  This movement is who we are.

The feeling I had in writing the previous post was this fresh understanding of means and ends being the same.  I love that line.  It sounds sweet and delicious, but every time I read it, it’s like taking Algebra I all over again- I have to break it down slowly in my mind to get the feel of it.  Yes I could divide both sides of the equation by the same value, and see what happens, but what am I really doing?  What does this really mean?  I said previously that the effect of expressing our power was transformation, and that our power is linked to knowing and sharing the truth of who we are.  How do we experience this outside of the linear sequence of cause and effect?  I think it comes from the realization that we come to know ourselves, and come to discover ourselves, by sharing ourselves in relationship- and at the same time it is this very sharing that has ripple effects that reach out into forever.  To share ourselves, is to be transformative, and likewise, this sharing opens up space for the new.  There is no sequence to that.

After writing the last post I found these words in A Course of Love, a few pages farther in the text than I had been reading recently (Day 33 of the Dialogues of A Course of Love).  They said, “The power of God exists within everyone because all are on in being with God.  And yet this power cannot be used.  It can only serve.  What does it serve?  The cause of holy relationship.”  Later in the same section of the text it says, “This is the power of being.  The power to individuate the Self.  The power to be who you are.  This is power and the source of power.  This is the force of creation, the only true power.”

This is the type of power we can feel living within us.  It is a power we can feel flowing through us, and in which we can learn to abide with every day.  It is not the power of a unique ego.  It is not the power of being separate.  It is the power of uniquely expressing wholeness and unity.  Whatever our perceived situation, whatever our perceived circumstances, we can access the power of expressing the truth- the real, deep, unifying, truth- of who we are.  When we do this, and make it a daily practice, the world is transformed.  I received some wonderful comments to the previous post I want to think about and further develop, but for tonight this is how far my power stretches…  Ha!

Thank you for being here.  Thank you for sharing in this power.  We are coming to know something beyond words, something we have been waiting to witness for some time, the ability to be fully true to who we are.

22 Comments

  1. Yes..being who we are.. it seems a little silly now to have done it differently now.
    I will scroll back to the last post. It’s good to have some company in all of this.
    🙂

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  2. “I think it comes from the realization that we come to know ourselves, and come to discover ourselves, by sharing ourselves in relationship- and at the same time it is this very sharing that has ripple effects that reach out into forever.”
    Love, love this! It has taken me too many years to not only grasp this, but to let go of fear enough to be open to learning to live it by extending myself outward into the world and to retreat enough to make room to hear and consider other people, their presence, their words, their hearts.
    Thank you Michael! I concur, it is wonderful to have company in these explorations of the whole and our place in it.
    Debra

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    • Thanks for being part of this sharing-conversation, Debra. It is amazing how good it feels to share these little bits of feedback, those moments when you realize another shares a common understanding, maybe a common dream. We help each other while we think it’s about help, and then we simply share “what is” when we discover it’s about the simply joy of doing so… We are each other’s meaning, each other’s opportunity…

      Michael

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      • Yes!
        We just do what we do. Often times we never know who or what is helped, yes?
        Thanks for doing what you do…
        Debra

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        • PS… I was humbled-touched-warmed you dug into some older posts and found Many Faces of Being. I had a lot of fun writing some of those early posts, which tended to be more like vignettes or short stories. Thank you…

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          • I plan to read more Michael. You’re a terrific writer bubbling with ideas that feel akin to my own. It’s fun to read your posts.
            Debra

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  3. I really liked this. Seeing the power that’s hidden in the ignorance (condition of ignoring). Maybe it’s exploitative social mechanisms that have developed which don’t encourage us to discover the ‘power to be who we are’, and instead we’re totally engaged in maintaining a separate identity, trapped forever in the process of becoming something we think is real but it’s not. The good news is that, even so, there’s this ‘feeling’ that it’s there, living within us, ‘the power of uniquely expressing wholeness and unity’. Thank you again Michael, just knowing it’s there is enough…

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    • I love your sentiment, “just knowing it’s there is enough”… That rings true to me. It reminds me of the notion that once we know something, we cannot unknow it- which I mean in the context that, once we realize things are not what they once may have seemed, we can’t stuff them all back into the old perceptions. It’s blown apart, and the Truth must inevitably emerge. Knowing it’s out there feels like recognizing the end is inevitable. Freedom is the only genuine alternative. This is enough… I love that…

      Michael

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  4. [This movement is who we are. . . . we come to know ourselves, and come to discover ourselves, by sharing ourselves in relationship- and at the same time it is this very sharing that has ripple effects that reach out into forever.]

    Social media and the blogosphere are like jazz bands… We seem to be “jamming” — our concepts, metaphors, and intuitions all blending together — more or less adequately expressed, perhaps, but at times, extraordinarily beautiful.

    Your discussion of the identity of “means” and “ends” brought to mind once again the difference between Kantian (deontology) and utilitarian ethics which I have been thinking about for the past few days. For the utilitarian, the end is everything–simply calculate what course of action will result in the greatest happiness and make it so. In contrast, the moral law, for Kant is “autonomous” (it is the law the Self gives the self) and unconditional (it commands categorically):

    “So act that you could will, without contradiction, that the maxim of your action should become a universal law.”

    Or, in another formulation:

    “Act in such a way that you treat humanity– whether in your own person or that of another –as an end and not merely as means.”

    But the utilitarian in us is incorrigible. As we begin to get a sense of what life — what the law of our own true nature — demands of us, we immediately begin reflecting on its practical ramifications. And this is not all bad–we are, after all, God’s boots on the ground, so to speak–gathering “intelligence” of a certain kind. But we deceive ourselves if we think the meaning and purpose of our lives is to be found in the future or that “the Artist” and “the work of art”– both of which we are –can be realized through any kind of hedonic calculus, however sophisticated. Rather– realizing that means and ends must ultimately coincide –let us treat this moment, here & now, as an end and not merely as means. So doing, the union that exists between the mind and the whole of nature (a la Spinoza); between God and humanity (in Christ); and between each of us, as unique human beings (members one of another) can, in-deed, be realized.

    These lines from Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit” also come to mind:

    “Consciousness must act solely that what it inherently and implicitly is, may be for it explicitly; or, acting is just the process of mind coming to be qua consciousness. What it is implicitly, therefore, it knows from its actual reality. Hence it is that an individual cannot know what he is till he has made himself real by action. [!!!]

    “Consciousness, however, seems on this view to be unable to determine the purpose of its action before action has taken place; but before action occurs it must, in virtue of being consciousness, have the act in front of itself as entirely its own, i.e. as a purpose.

    “The individual, therefore, who is going to act seems to find himself in a circle, where each moment already presupposes the others, and hence seems unable to find a beginning, because it only gets to know its own original nature, the nature which is to be its purpose, by first acting, while in order to act it must have that purpose beforehand.

    “But just for that reason it has to start right away and, whatever the circumstances are, without troubling further about beginning, means, or end, proceed to action at once.

    “For its essential and implicit nature is beginning, means, and end all in one. [!!!]

    “As *beginning,* it is found in the circumstances of the action; and the *interest* which the individual finds in something is just the answer to the question, “whether he should act and what is to be done in a given case.”

    “For what seems to be a reality confronting him is implicitly his own original fundamental nature, which has merely the appearance of an objective being–an appearance which lies in the notion of action involving as this does self-diremption, but which expressly shows itself to be his own original nature by the interest the individual finds therein.

    “Similarly the *how,* the means, is determined as it stands. Talent is likewise nothing but individuality with a definite original constitution, looked at as the subjective internal means, or transition of purpose into actuality. The actual means, however, and the real transition are the unity of talent with the nature of the fact as present in the interest felt. The former [talent] expresses that aspect of the means which concerns action, the latter [the fact found of interest] that which concerns content: both are individuality itself, as a fused whole of acting and existing.

    “What we find, then, is *first* circumstances given ready to hand, which are implicitly the original nature of the individual; *next* the interest which affirms them as its own or as its purpose; and *finally* the connexion and sublation of these opposite elements in the means.

    “This connexion itself still falls within consciousness, and the whole just considered is one side of an opposition. This appearance of opposition which still remains is removed by the means. For the means is a unity of inner and outer, the antithesis of the determinate character it has qua inner means (viz. talent): it therefore abolishes this character, and makes itself–this unity of action and existence–equally an outer, vis.: the actually realized individuality, i.e. individuality which is established for individuality itself as the objectively existent.”

    http://thefourprecepts.com/waynesworld/hegel.html

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    • Hi Wayne, I’ve read this a couple times, and each time I think I get a little bit more of it. It’s like I’m jamming with it, but realizing I suddenly walking into the studio with a pretty accomplished musician, and I’m trying to keep up with the changes! This guy changes tempo, accent, and chord structures on the fly! There are moments when I read those quotes from Hegel when I go, “Aha!” and I think, :That just happened… I just felt that…” 🙂

      I really liked the line about the means removing the apparent opposition between the inner and outer. I think that is a really insightful way of looking at it. The actions we take are the bond between the inner and the outer, the place where they’re united, and that makes a lot of sense to me. This isn’t action with a predetermined purpose, per se, an action intended to produce an end that was already fully in mind, but action that reveals purpose, action that reveals who we are, action that is both discovery and expression of what is discovered, action which by its nature allows the purpose we discover to inhabit and vitalize the world. I really like that thought.

      If I’ve grokked that with any reasonable accuracy, it’s very similar to a concept described in A Course of Love where Jesus describes “three princples of Creation” as Movement, Being, and Expression. Jesus describes them as all coming together simultaneously. He says, “Movement, Being, and Expression, are not separate principles, but a single unifying principle of wholeness. One did not occur before the other…”

      I hope I am not mapping something foremost in my mind onto this in a way that wasn’t intended. Clarify for me if I have please! I thought these were meaningful parallels. Thanks for jamming here for a bit!

      Michael

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      • I think you grok it at least as well as I do, Michael, and the comparison to ACoL seems apt. BTW, since I posted that comment, I recalled from whom I am borrowing the metaphor of “jamming” — perhaps you will enjoy this as well:

        “Release your inner ‘Holy Rascal’ through play and creativity as a way of freeing our Spirit to spiritually culture jam the dominant memes of our society!”

        * Act Kindly
        * Do Justly
        * Walk Humbly With God
        ~ cf. Micah 6:8

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  5. I love to read that The movement is who we are, along with your great connections of the power experienced through the sharing! I will carry this with me as I consume my own tail and roll around the block! Oroborus words that you produce appear and then they eat themselves. do you know what i mean?

    You also remind me of the physics illustrations of dimensions in which we are undulating worm like versions – stretched out over the space of time from birth to death – never knowing that the movement is who we are; we could not be here in this now without having been there and yet it is now and then and now at once; we are our stretched out oneness of the wholeness over time. Deep connecting Maren linked this to a post of mine a while ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg85IH3vghA. (this is long, but the part I’m referring to is at the beginning until about 5 minutes or so)

    Wonderful riffing from the start point of power…thank you for your diving board words

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    • Marga, I have watched the first 6 or 7 minutes so far. The presentation approach is great. It is really interesting to me you bring this up because on Sunday of this week I started writing a short story about a character who retains a memory of their previous 4D path(s) when they make that leap from one track to the other, what that video is call the “5th dimension”. This idea has been rattling around with me recently. I don’t know if you have heard of or read a book by Julian Barbour called The End of Time, but he is a physicist who didn’t stay on an academic track, and basically worked outside of academia, freed from some of the urgency to publish, and he eventually came to a notion of time as this landscape of possible points, or possibility, and that we track through them, advancing from slide to slide, like a hiker exploring the Himalayas. The landscape is fixed. There is no time- just an exploration of a field of states. I said that horribly, and it has probably been a decade since I read his book, but this video reminds me of what he was saying, (although he may disagree that string theory has anything to do with his theoretical work)…

      I personally like to combine these notions into the idea that the Universe isn’t a meaningless exhauster of possibility- meaning that the Universe doesn’t need to obligate itself to ensure every single thing that could be conceived, happens. Math may say all realities are possible, and therefore exist, but I am not convinced we are obligated to adhere to the rules of a language- of any language, even mathematics. Yes, it is possible every conceivable thing happens, but does that require they be actualized? Why, when we understand the futility of a particular way of thinking, would we insist on exploring it? This is like insisting we finish a horrible book, just because it exists in the library. This is like insisting on more World Wars, on many more planets, simply “because we can”. I think we are curing the Universe of these issues forever…!

      I enjoy thinking that this “probability landscape” we navigate is itself changing, updating as a result of what we “learn” and express. If we take the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles “seriously”, Jesus talks about healing as collapsing time- and that is what I mean about our healing and heart-opening moments as perhaps transforming all of these dimensions. Maybe yesterday the possibility in which I endure a path of significant suffering is not only plausible, but meaningful, from a particular perception, but as a result of expressing love, or offering forgiveness, it simply is no more. There is no need. We don’t need to read that book. The whole landscape changes. This is Creation? The reshaping of the multi-dimensional landscape through which we explore/walk, by exploring/walking into truth? We literally reshape every point around us, through our discovery-action…

      Means and ends combined? You with me, Wayne?

      You got me going, I’ll give you that! And it has been oh so enjoyable!

      I confess to being not quite clear on the ouroboros of the words, but it doesn’t matter. We are reshaping what is. I am ecstatic.

      Michael

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  6. The ideas you play with tingle on the edges of my comprehension – expressing some things known within that are unaccounted for in words, but knowingly tease with the energy of yes, push out into this fascinating maze of the unknown.
    Your probability landscapes feel so intuitively correct. As you describe the infinite landscape of EVERY possibility having to play out as seen in some physical theories to me illustrates not an intelligence behind everything, but just a statistical and inefficient playing out. The elegant universe seems to me to contain the efficiency of the learning process you describe. I see the collapsing fields where redundancy is reduced instead of obsessively playing out without purpose. The idea of endless, meaningless playing out of variation seems evil – a stab at reducing the actual beauty, even at the smallest of levels, of our universe as just the playing out of a infinite math problem trapping us all in such a mechanistic machine – an Archonic nightmare. I love your idea of a growth or learning translating across the board into other dimensional expressions. The hundredth monkey on steroids 🙂 Holy rascals in a Holy jam based on the single note of Love Love Love! Love it!

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    • I love thinking about this stuff, too. The discovery or recognition of parallels between discoveries in science and what I was discovering was “true” about the universe and our place in it was exciting propellant along the way. There are so many threads we can pull on, so many connections that can be made. And then I think we start to realize that, you know, we’re ALL of this stuff. The connections just aren’t going to stop. There are connections or symbols playing out that mimic elements of the truth on both sides of many arguments, and in discovering that, the quest for understanding kind of turns to mush! There’s no “right” way of viewing the cosmos, no finite understanding of it’s mechanisms that will cap the story… I don’t need to understand how it works to live. I can accept it works optimally to afford us the opportunity to live… And along the way enjoy these discoveries and visions and reminders that bring on that feeling of being a whole part of a whole.

      Michael

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  7. I have not heard of Barbour, as I scratch the name in my list of things to look into. Oh and I’m very curious about the short story you are working on. You seem a fountain of endless ideas – which mirrors source, eh? You remind me of the visuals from the movie Waking Life in which the characters seemed to create and collapse landscapes just by the sheer course of their attention and will. Your use of the word slide had me mentally sliding the steep slopes of the Himalayans to those Points in the created Landscapes along the way.

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    • Thanks, Marga. I will send you a draft when it is complete. I think most of my writing efforts are somewhat transparent expressions of what is going on inside of me, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. I read some site that was giving advice to first time authors, and it was basically saying, “yeah, that first novel you write that is basically your personal story, write it, get it out, and move on…” But then I got to thinking the other day about the idea that maybe there is also creative power in writers who are more closely known by their readership, where it’s more than just an external story, but a witnessing of what is passing through and transforming someone, and since you know them, you are pulled into this same process. It would be kind of like this WP community- as you get to know someone and through their writing observe as they transform through the exploration of ideas, you are transformed yourself. So, anyway, thank you…

      Michael

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  8. Thank you for sharing, Michael. I need to read that book, A Course in Love. Thank you for incorporating the passages from the book in your post. Blessings and love to you.

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