Empowerment on Your Terms, Without Feeling Overpowered
Power and Authority
Your relationship to power and authority affects how you relate to Source. For practicality, let’s use the same definition of Source as I used in the last article. Universal Life Force (ULF) is the energy that permeates the entire universe, lights up the sun, spins the earth, makes things grow, and animates living creatures, including us. That energy exists regardless of whether we choose to believe in it or not, and if we choose to be conscious of our relationship to it.
Why is that relationship affected by how you feel about power and authority? First, I’d like to define them separately for clarity even though there is obviously overlap between power and authority. I use the term power here about your own personal power, and while you may define ULF any way you like, the idea remains that ULF is a power greater than you. Authority is used in the sense of people and institutions that have authority over you to the degree that what they “say” can affect your life as you know it. For example, your employer or the law: those kinds of authority.
Let me start with authority and how we feel about it. If you’re going to develop a relationship with Source (here defined as ULF) and you want to deepen that connection, and understanding then it is only logical that how you relate with Source will be influenced by how you view and feel about authority in general. If you have issues with and dislike authority, laws, rules and having to subject yourself to them or with being told what do, then how you relate with “a power greater” than yourself will be affected by those points of view and accompanying feelings.
The best way for me to illustrate this is with an example. I worked with a client who had a dominating and controlling mother. Even though my client was past middle age and her mum had been dead for a while, my client would still frequently hear and do the opposite of what the voice in her head said. We were able to identify that voice as her mother’s voice internalized. Parents are our first authority figures since we are dependent on them, and if that relationship was fraught with control issues then most likely we carry those issues with us into adulthood. They will often show up in other relationships with authority or dependency. She had a hard time surrendering to her Source because she felt like she was being told what to do by someone other than herself all over again. Initially she rejected “a power greater” than herself, and she started with a Source that was equal to her. As her intuition grew and her ability to trust and honor it grew as well, she gradually allowed her source to become a trusted co-creator and was able to surrender to its guidance.
The other aspect mentioned above was the one of personal power. I have a young client who has been in trouble with the law on numerous occasions. From his own perspective, some of those times he was treated unfairly by a flawed system, and some of those times he got exactly what he deserved. This client is aware of his distaste for authority, especially with regard to law enforcement, but what he was much less aware of until we worked together was how it was affecting his relationship to his own personal power. As a result of the unfair legal process he had been through, he felt victimized to a degree where he couldn’t reclaim his personal power. His experience limited the depth of his relationship to Source, because he couldn’t fully step into his own personal power and refused to take responsibility. He was “childlike” and dependent in the relationship instead of being an adult co-creator. He eventually was able to take responsibility for his part in the past and as a result was able to relate with his Source as a trusted co-creator that guides him through his life.
There will always be occasional times where we go against our Source or against our intuition, and there is nothing wrong with making that choice as long as we are aware and willing to deal with the consequences our choice brings. That is what freedom and power to co-create with Source is all about, in my opinion. I find that I am more at ease with big decisions if I take the time to consult with my Source through meditation or other forms prior to making them.
It’s like the 12-Step Process
How do you clear out your past “gunk” to pave a clear way for connection with Source? In the 12-step program, Step 4 is the writing of an inventory. I have found this process very useful for surfacing beliefs, including spiritual beliefs that we were raised with, some which may no longer serve us or even feel true when we review them. These beliefs can get in the way of having a current relationship with your Source, because the beliefs are like dragging a lot of baggage around from the past. Sometimes we have memories of hypocritical people who were religious and who lied or cheated, and as a result there is all this internal stuff in your head that ultimately gets in the way of you being able to connect to a Source in the present.
When you come to the table with a head full of unexamined beliefs like that, it’s useful to at least examine the beliefs and get rid of the ones that have become irrelevant, because it’s difficult to have a current relationship with a head full of unconscious history. Imagine going into a new romantic relationship and all you can think of is all the reasons why you divorced your last husband. This isn’t any different. Even though you’re in a relationship with something that’s not physically there the same way a human being is, you would still be bringing the baggage of past experiences and beliefs with you. It makes sense to get clear about all of the experiences and beliefs we carry around on the subject of connecting to a Source. You can ask yourself: Am I willing to clear this out? Am I willing to create some space? In theatre terminology, there is a concept called the “willing suspension of disbelief” and it asks the question: Am I willing to temporarily set aside what I believe and possibly discover something new? It’s difficult to discover anything when our minds are already full. That’s why the main focus in Zen meditation is to develop beginner’s minds, because in the beginners mind there is room to learn.
Let’s start with evaluating what your connection to Source is right now. How do I feel about a Universal Life Force? How do I feel about me having a relationship with that Universal Life Force? If you were raised with religious dogma, the ULF idea may not work for you at all, or it may just have enough flexibility in it that it does work. Which of my inherited beliefs do I not believe anymore? Which ones get in the way of me maybe having a different experience of Source today? In some ways I was lucky because I was raised without religion in that I didn’t have to evaluate a lot of early imprinting, and it made it possible for me to bring an open mind and a lot of curiosity.
I invite you to do the work of consciously developing an open mind, because 90% of what’s in our minds is underneath the surface. We’re not aware of it, but it still affects us daily. And we absorbed the vast majority of it before we were 5 years old. In other words, we didn’t choose our programming. And based on how neuroscience says our minds work, we then proceed to gather evidence for what we already believe in.