Monday, 28 November 2011

Burning our way to Power

by gloriagypsy @ deviantart.com



"The soul is here to live its joy. The uninitiated ego is here to keep things familiar, safe and predictable. Which path will you choose?"[1]

"Carl whose favourate passtime was to go to the park on a sunny afternoon, sit down on his bench, and bask in the solar rays. One day as he sat quietly on his bench [wearing his business suit], a large man wearing a uniform and heavy boots came and stood in front of him, blocking the sun. Being a peaceful sort of guy who did not like to make trouble, Carl merely moved over on the park bench so he could once again feel the sun's rays on his face.

No sooner did he move than the uniformed man moved again to block the sun. Carl moved again. So did the man. At this point, Carl spoke up and politely asked the man to move aside. The man did not. Carl, getting angry now, tried to push him aside. The man pushed him back on the bench and, with his heavy boot, stepped on Carl's foot and mashed it into the ground. Carl, very angry now, began to scream obscenities, flailing his arms at the man and yelling for help.

But his crying was in vain. No one came to his rescue. When Carl lifed his head and looked around, he suddenly saw why. He saw that each person in the park had a uniformed man standing in front of them. Many had boots stepping on their toes, while others were chained to their benches. Most people on the benches were passively sitting still, some were quietly reading, while others turned to stare at Carl disapprovingly, scorning his childish and uncooperative outburst. None of the others were complaining about the man on their foot - why should Carl? Their outrage was aimed not at the man in the uniform but at Carl. He was living the self they had long since rejected.

This is where the story ends, but we can all guess at the possible outcomes. Did Carl continue to yell and scream only to be chained to his bench with the key in someone else's possession? Did he give up his rebellion and learn to sit quietly and passively like his neighbours? Did he rally support and create an uprising in the park? Did he transform his jailer? What would you have done?

We are held in our places within a culture where the personal loss of power is so epidemic that no one hears the cries of loss and outrage. Instead we are ostracized for acts of individuality, or, at best, feared. To keep our power over others, we often give up our freedom and authenticity, and conform to expectations. This is a terrible loss, for it obscures the unique divinity within ourselves that contains the seeds of evolution and transformation. Those who have made this sacrifice expect others to do the same and become highly offended when they do not. Straight men in their gray suits may be offended by flamboyantly dressed gay men. The obedient wife is offended by the militant feminism of her daughter. War veterans are offended by those who march for peace.

In the wake of this loss, we have a civilization so obsessed with its loss of power that is spends enormous amounts of money and energy creating the shadow of power through warfare and technology. We have complied with the master, internalized controller, and beomce accomplices in a polarized society whose main goal is to control more with less. Numb to the pain, numb to our own powerlessness, numb to the repetitive tasks believed necessary for our physical survival, we live with the emptiness inside ourselves. Empty inside, our cultural myth tells us that power lies outside of ourselves in the approval of others, in technological gadgets, or through a distant and authoritarian god. Thus we deplete ourselves, our resources, and our planet, reaching for a power outside, a power over, a power that will only enslave us"[2]

[1] Soulcraft. Chapter 13. Living As if your place in the World mattered. Page 325. By Bill Plotkin.
[2] Eastern Body, Western Mind. Chakra Three Burning our way to Power. Truamas and Abuses. Page 189-190. By Anodea Judith.

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