The Problem with Power

When you look at the craziness of the world, do you ever think, “It doesn’t need to be this way!”?  Do you sometimes feel pummeled by the chaos of current events?

We are living in a time of much upheaval. This is symbolic of great change. Negativity/darkness is rising to the surface for the purpose of radical transformation into light. It is both exciting and scary, and it presents great opportunity because it is a spiritual wake-up call for those who are able to respond.

Life is always reflecting back to us what we need to grow. The high volume of sexual misconduct allegations that have surfaced this year is one of those reflections, indicating that it is time for us as a collective to transform old, dark power structures into new light. We must, hand in hand, rise above the fray, and the best way start is by increasing inner authority.

There is an old adage, “Power corrupts.” Well, that’s not entirely true. It only corrupts the already corrupted. Power itself is neutral. Your hand is just a hand. You can use it to help someone or to hurt them. You choose.

This reminds me of the Tale of Two Wolves:

A grandfather talking with his grandson says, “There are two wolves inside of us that are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf expressing things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, who harbors things like greed, hatred and fear.”

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a moment. He then looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The wise old man quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

It is obvious which wolf we, as a collective, are feeding. Sexual misconduct, at its core, is an attempt to dominate and overpower.  Thus, the high volume of abuse that is surfacing is an indication of our collective misuse of power. Even if you are not engaging in this particular behavior, chances are there are ways in which you are misusing your power.

To change the world, we must change ourselves. First, by becoming aware of our own distortions, those incorrect and unproductive mental, emotional, and unconscious patterns that cause destructive behavior. Then by correcting and replacing them – so that we can treat everyone (including ourselves) with generosity, respect, kindness, and compassion. Once we rise to that level, we can help others do the same.

When changing a habit, the old has to break before the new can be established. This means a period of instability. Then, eventually, reformation. Right now, we are in that instability globally. If you wish to be part of the solution, it is time clean house.

Misuse Checklist

This is only a partial inventory, but it will give you some places to start. You may need help identifying these at first, and they can be painful to look at, but if you want the happiness that stems from true power, get these out of the way.

Do You:

  • Seek approval and validation from others?
  • Tell people how they should run their lives?
  • Defer to someone else to tell you how to run yours?
  • Try to control, manipulate or dominate, even if only in your head?
  • Complain a lot? Over-react? Play the victim? Stay too long in self-pity?
  • Play small – hiding out, avoiding people, activity, responsibility, growth?
  • Play “big” – with a need to be right/smartest/“best in show” much of the time?
  • Avoid personal growth?
  • Feel lost? Without purpose?
  • Have a highly active critical voice?
  • Drink, eat, spend, work too much?
  • Get greedy, selfish, fearful, jealous?
  • Feel insecure, defensive, not good enough, like you don’t belong?

The only way to dispel darkness is to turn on the light. Moving from misuse of power to best use of power is key. Chances are the darkness we are seeing these days – acts of greed, selfishness, fear, destruction, separation – will increase before it gives way. We must respond with light: our desire to learn, advance, overcome, grow, connect, love, and rectify.

‘Tis the season. Give the gift of power to yourself, and you will automatically give it to others. That’s how we make the world a better place.