In nearly every nation, people are brought up in a culture of power and struggle. We are taught to put forth effort to subdue our inner nature. We must make ourselves useful for those who need to use us. Most of us end up believing the programing and live mostly passive lives.
Some of us saw that the program was a poor fit, so the indoctrination did not take hold. Yet, the culture continued to pressure us to submit. The norm had to be upheld. We may have tried to conform, for awhile, but we still didn’t fit the mold that was presented to us. Some of the “misfits” fell into lives of crime. Others of us became thought of as eccentrics.
The message is still strong. Advertising shows us images of beautiful individuals. Smiling entrepreneurs or sales “associates” display the artifacts of power and success. Eager families awash in the spoils of cultural victory encourage us to be just like them. It’s sometimes a chore not to become cynical.
The perfect homes, shiny crossover vans, and ever happy faces in the images come with a heavy price tag. We are told to twist and form our energy with supreme discipline so that we, too, can attain such fine rewards. The game, “King of the Hill” is taught to us at a very young age.
If sheer discipline doesn’t do the trick, we’re told that we need to change our spiritual course. The latest up and coming spiritual advisor will dispense just the right message to motivate us to achieve her version of inner perfection.
If none of these strategies work, an even darker template tempts us into yet another version of conformity. We’re encouraged to relax into the blame game. Advocates of this dark game, present scapegoats as the reasons for our unhappiness. It is easy to become distracted and hypnotized by those who wish to convince us to join their team. Many people do surrender themselves to this way of thinking.
After awhile, “King of the Hill” and the “Blame Game”, become exhausting. We just want to chill out and kick back. After all we’re entitled to our escape because we’ve worked hard to earn it. There are so many ways to mentally get away and so few hours to enjoy them all. We just put our power on hold so we can surf the Web or spend the night playing electronic games. We become vulnerable to addictions and fear if we fall for the illusions and deceptions that come our way.
We allow our life blood to slowly get sucked out. Most of us submit, but other people decide to crawl out and reclaim their personal power. How do we remove the chains that keep our positive power enslaved?
When I feel restricted and stuck, I sit and contemplate in a quiet place. I ask where the power is being drained away. I might wonder why I feel somebody or something is controlling my life. It’s time to ask how and why I might have created my own state of powerlessness. What is out of balance? Which attachments are keeping me from experiencing freedom? When I’ve become mindful and aware of these questions, I’ve taken the first steps to reclaim power.
It is at this time that a written audit of my life is most helpful. If I’m neither self-congratulatory nor self-berating, the audit will easily reveal where I need to tweak my diet, spend less time on the Internet, and spend more time working towards my goals. I can take an objective account of my weaknesses and strengths. I remind myself to be realistic yet find authentic encouragement within. I remind myself of the “King of the Hill” contests and the “Blame Game”, so I don’t willfully fall into those traps.
During this inventory, I remind myself to continue watching out for the temptation to open myself up to a new addiction or obsession. What might place me in financial debt? Who might be out to control me or take away my power? Whose intentions do not have my best interests at heart? Why do I consent to having my power taken away? Why might I not want to be free?
What is often helpful is the principle of positive detachment, or non-attachment. This is the act of observing my present attachments and desires so I can change my perspectives. I see where I might be dictated and defined by my attachments. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about family, friends, society, peace, the environment, and happiness. I examine my attachments to see if I’ve become controlling and possessive about them.
I check my thoughts and actions to make sure that I’m not presenting myself as some sort of teacher or guru. I know that teachers and gurus can easily lose their freedom and power in the quest to recruit followers to their causes. Teachers soon find and teach their own agendas. Before they realize it, the “King of the Hill” thinking and/or the “Blame Game” have become active in their lives again. Egoism can quickly become the driving force.
When I let go of the need for power, real power is reclaimed. Personal power is enhanced when empathy and compassion are the fuel for power. There is no need for religious or political influence over the freedom of other people and societies. If a person restricts the liberty of others, one’s own freedom is likewise restrained.
As the desire to be better than others is absent; or the temptation to blame others is gone, ones own freedom to create and contribute to the world increases. When I don’t spend my energy trying to control the power of others, I have plenty of power to focus on constructive, positive aspects of life. Non-attachment to view is the principle of freedom and power. With non-attachment, we are still integrated with the world and care deeply about good outcomes but we aren’t defined and dictated by the world.
Every now and then, we need to reclaim real power.