Power is a word that evokes a strange spectrum of thought forms and connotations, reactions and prejudices. I think this is largely because the power we are most familiar with is the type that involves a victim and an oppressor. We view power as the ability to cause events to occur despite the competing will of another. That is our definition of power– a definition that makes perfect sense in the minds of the separate and uncertain. But this is not power at all– not in the absolute sense– for being predicated upon falsehood it cannot express what is true. Real power is the expression of unity, relatedness, and truth.
There’s another definition of power we entertain sometimes, and that’s the idea of an occult power, the power of action at a distance. Ostensibly wielded only by a few– by the ones who know the secrets and perhaps have sold their souls to obtain them– this version of power carries with it the threat of sorcery and unreality. The word power sometimes brings to mind the notion that a true power would be magical or supernatural. If we could wield miracles at will, that would be power. But this idea is also of no account, and besmirches the nature of true power– the spontaneous expression of truth. Action at a distance takes many forms, but is also meaningless when it is not an expression of unity, relatedness and truth.
We could stop here and leave this idea of power alone, but I think it’s important to continue onward. I think it’s important because the recreation of our experience in this realm depends upon our willingness as individuals to offer the true power of who we are. This is the power of who we are in truth. Power isn’t something we wield, but something we become. Power has nothing to do with competing wills or desires, or sorcery or special effects, and everything to do with opening ourselves to the expression of the goodness alive within us. We become powerful by dissolving our false ideas of who we are, our false ideas of power, and the patently false idea that we understand the full parameters of what is possible of our existence. I think power is important to discuss, because without it we will not be able to heal the various tragedies of our current individual and collective experience. In a sense, it is the withholding of our authentic power that enables the world as we see it to exist at all.
A key step for each of us is to develop the insight that genuine power can only serve, not harm– and that it serves all beings. A Course of Love says it this way, “This is the new realm of power that few in physical form have practiced and that has never been practiced by many at one time. It is a major shift because it is not neutral but creative. It is of creation and can only flow through those that have mastered neutral observation because the intent of creation, rather than the intent of the observer, is the creative force, the animator and informer. This power cannot be misused because it is unavailable to those who have not realized their oneness with the creative force.”
The idea expressed here is that transformative, creative power is not available to us so long as we occupy a divided land of separate wills. It is not a skill we can practice and claim as our own to do with as we please. We cannot be in relationship to power, and still carry secretly within us the desire to be special, to reach some exultant state, or to have power over another. We must be unified within, and without. Becoming powerful isn’t about making a single life better– such as our own– but about allowing the energy and intent of creation to further the movement of the whole through the yielding of our presence unto its grace. Ideas like this leave me with the inspired feeling of how little I’ve managed to open myself, and how deep the experience of unity can truly be.
When we ponder ideas such as these, it is natural to wonder what the next steps are. How do we enter more deeply into a relationship with the power of creation? I am increasingly thinking that this type of questioning is a classic example of how a mind rooted in separateness might proceed. What do I do? What are the skills I must practice, and the knowledge I must perfect? Increasingly, I find myself trusting that this will all take care of itself as we open ourselves more deeply to the presence of Love. As we stay near to this holy life within us, we find we know what to do next. Our own role in the process dissipates. It takes care of itself. There is a sense of peace in the simplicity of this for me, for that ease of unfolding is itself a validation of the idea that true power never harms or divides. We know this, because it’s expression doesn’t require the focused efforts of any one of us to execute our will– merely the willingness to be open to the ideas and inspiration that speak to and through us.
Perhaps most importantly, power isn’t nothing at all. It’s something, and it’s big. I don’t want to leave on the impression that it’s just a nice idea. It is the potential within us, accessible through unity, to heal and transform this world, to make the unseen seen, and to move mountains. As we transcend the historical patterns of separation and specialness, we create the space for such power to express freely, through lives in which bitterness, uncertainty, scorn and anger have been dissolved, resulting in the discovery that true power is all that remains…