In the modern era, power has garnered a really, really bad reputation. So has anyone who values it or seeks it. You’ll hear things like: He or she is just power hungry. Power destroys. Power is always dangerous; it attracts the worst and corrupts the best. All experiments in power have a bad ending. The problem with this country is power. The root of all evil is the quest for power. Whoever has power is going to try to control people. Only the weak seek power. You only need power when you want to do something harmful, otherwise love is enough to get everything done. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the list goes on and on.
The problem with power being seen as such a bad thing, such a wrong value and the seeking of it so shameful, is multi fold. I’m going to explain just a few reasons why. Firstly, it isn’t actually possible for a person to not want power. If you are alive, you care about power. If you are alive, you are involved in power struggles. If you are alive, you want power, whether you can admit to it or not. And if you are a person who likes to think that you don’t care about power, that there is your strategy for gaining power. For example, it allows you to gain power by being in a superior moral position relative to other ‘less evolved’ people. Saying “I don’t care about power” is in and of itself a power trip.
Power is energy. It is the inherent capacity to create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what you want. All people desire this, regardless of whether other people are in the picture or not. But, let’s introduce other people into the picture. When we do this, we see that because of ‘them’, we can easily find ourselves in certain situations where we feel incapable of creating, directing, influencing or doing anything so as to bring about what we want. When this happens, we feel out of control, disempowered and at the mercy of others. It is when we find ourselves in these situations that we become concerned with our power relative to other people or about having power over others so as to be able to keep ourselves safe and feeling good. This means, the more relationally traumatized you were, the more you care about power relative to others. And you can’t even say that something went wrong. It makes perfect sense if you were put in situations where you felt powerless to others, that you would become hypersensitive to power dynamics, prone to power struggles and very concerned with making sure you were always in a position of either equal or more power relative to the people around you. All people have power, all people want power and all people seek power. But believe me, they have some seriously creative and disguised ways of getting it.
The second problem with power being seen as such a bad thing in and of itself, such a wrong value and the seeking of it so shameful is that the minute society makes something bad and wrong, people try to suppress, deny, reject and disown it. If all people inherently have power, care about power and seek it, this just means that our power, the caring about it and the seeking of it will become a subconscious process. This means, we can no longer see the need for power in ourselves. We can’t recognize or accept that we are doing things specifically to gain power. We will enter into subconscious power struggles and not see the manipulative strategies that we are using to gain power; including gain power over others.
When society makes something so bad and wrong that it has consequences, it becomes an enemy of the ego and we can no longer see it in ourselves, even when it is there. It threatens our self-concept. This means, we have created a modern society full of individuals that deny our power, deny that we care about and want power and deny (are blind to) the ways we are going about gaining power. This makes society very, very gaslighting. This is what makes people use power in very dangerous ways. This also prevents our awakening. To understand more about this in-depth, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening (Accept the Badness Within Yourself).
For example, there are wonderful police officers and security professionals in the world. But there are some police officers or security professionals who take positions like that subconsciously and specifically because of the power that being in those positions gives them. And when they are not consciously aware of their love of power, as well as how that power could heal or poison and could help or destroy lives, they can and do abuse that power.
Or for example, we could be helping other people, so as to ensure that they are in debt to us in some way, or to gain the moral high ground. When we are doing this, we will outright deny that we care about having power over other people, while in reality, having power over other people is really what is motivating us to help others.
The third problem with power being seen as such a bad thing, such a wrong value and the seeking of it so shameful is that it prohibits people from going for personal power in direct and conscious ways. Manipulation is what occurs when people can’t go for their needs in a straightforward way. Because we have made power bad and wrong, people must now be manipulative about it. This makes the ways we are seeking out and using power far more dangerous than before. Anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional family knows all about this.
In a dysfunctional family, daily life is a chess game for power between all members of the family. And in all kinds of overt and covert ways. The only way to survive in that kind of a social setting is to step up and play that chess game. This includes using inherently positive things like acts of love as a tool FOR personal power. For example, a parent may want a child to pick a certain profession because this would make the parent feel good. The way this parent may go about getting power in this scenario is to use the financial support that they gave their child over the course of the child’s life as leverage. The parent may say “I sacrificed my life for you, to give you everything you needed, so that you could have a better life than I did and make this family proud.” This puts the child in the position of being bad, wrong, ungrateful and even of betraying the parent if the child does not do what the parent wants. So, financial support is now being used as a tool in a power game to get the child to comply. But the parent will deny that he or she is in a power game with their own child. The parent may even deny that they care about power.
Or, a child may alter their entire personality, so as to please their parent. Because doing so, ensures that their own needs for things like approval, closeness and safety will actually be met. This was their strategy for gaining power in the family dynamic. But they are unlikely to be aware that this was a power play, even when it was in fact their winning chess move. Instead, because they are so in touch with the part of them that feels victimized by their parent in even having to employ this strategy, they will see themselves as being powerless.
Another example is that we may go about getting power by denying that we care about superiority, knowing full well that in a society that sees the need for superiority as a dysfunctional complex, the person who does not care about being superior, is automatically seen as superior and therefore more powerful. Because going for power in covert ways is such a problem in the spiritual community, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: Self-Development – The Transcendental Power Trip.
When we cannot go for personal power in direct and conscious ways, we fail to recognize and make use of the unique innate power that we have. Believe it or not, this pulls us away from our life purpose. Your innate power will fall perfectly in alignment with your life purpose. And often, acknowledging this power that we have, power that may be superior to others, is what leads you to the recognition of your life purpose. For example, a person may be so good at analyzing, organizing and creating systems. Far better than other people. This person may discover that her purpose is operations management for the government.
When we cannot go for personal power in direct and conscious ways, we put ourselves in all the wrong kinds of places and in incompatible situations, trying to get what we want. For example, I knew a man who was so ashamed of his desire for financial power that he could never just decide to go directly and make money in the financial market. Instead, he had to keep getting jobs in non-profit organizations, where he repeatedly created conflicts by arguing for salary increases and the introduction of bonus programs. Or for example, a person may want the power of fame. But instead of going for it directly themselves, they decide to go about it in an in-direct way, by publicly going against someone who is already famous because no one knows who they were, or cared who they were, until they went against someone who was known and cared about. In this situation, going for the power they wanted in an in-direct way, caused negative destruction.
Believe it or not, recognizing our own power and how that power could be used in either positive or negative ways, as well as going for power directly and overtly, greatly decreases the chances that we will cause harm to ourselves or others with that power or by going for that power.
The fourth problem with power being seen as such a bad thing, such a wrong value and the seeking of it so shameful, is that it prohibits people from seeing or admitting to the power that they do have. All people have power. To not see the power that you do have, is an incredibly dangerous thing. To give you two examples, a person may have the power to sense vulnerabilities in others. If this is your power, you have a 6th sense for people’s weak spots. You could use that power to heal or you could use that power to destroy. If you are unaware of this power that you have, and what you could do with it, you could be in a position to be the one who can change someone’s life for the better. But you might just sit there and let them suffer. Or, you could get into a bad mood and carelessly emotionally cripple another person, even if you love them. Another example is that a surgeon and an anesthesiologist both have the power to take someone’s life. Think of how dangerous it would be for a surgeon or anesthesiologist to not know that he or she had that power when they have a patient before them, ready to go under for surgery.
Something to know is that there are so many different types of power. Too many to list. Anything that can help you to bring about what you want is power. But to give you a tiny idea, intellect is power, finances is power, artistry is power, knowledge is power, non-reactivity is power, strong emotions is power, physical strength is power, optimism is power, skills are power, natural talent is power, charisma is power, language and communication is power, discipline is power, social contacts is power, good looks is power, caretaking is power, being spiritually attuned is power, openness is power, decisiveness is power, truth is power, morality is power, empathy is power, flexibility is power, organization is power, leadership is power, fame is power, storytelling is power, creativity is power, your entire physical form is power… just think what opposable thumbs enabled you to do that other animals can’t do.
People tend to only care about certain types of power and minimize or refuse to see other types of power AS power. People have a huge problem valuing one type of power over another type of power; as well as failing to recognizing all types of power. You care about the certain type of power that you care about based off of needs, desires, traumas and personal experience. That’s why a person who was very poor often cares more about financial power than about mental power. That’s why the super-rich often suddenly value the power of eternal life more than financial power. That’s why people who perceive themselves to have been harmed by financial power, devalue financial power and value the power of kindness. It’s why someone who feels they have suffered because of desire, does not honor the power of desire, but honors the power of non-attachment. In order to be in-alignment about power, you need to recognize power wherever it exists. Don’t negate it.
If you don’t see the power you do have, chances are high that one of the reasons you don’t see it, is that your breed of power is something that your society doesn’t value or potentially doesn’t recognize as power. If you don’t see your love of power, chances are high that one of the reasons you don’t see it, is because the types of power you care about, are not the traditional types of power that society recognizes as power and thus has condemned. For example, you might have the power to sense other people’s needs. This is a serious power. But, because you’ve lived in a society that sees only things like leadership or wealth as power, you don’t even recognize it as power. Or for example, every person cares about a type of power and argues that this one type is the most important and more powerful power than the rest. Such as, if a person cares about wealth, but not spiritual power, they will argue that wealth is the most important thing and may argue that spending time meditating is literally a waste of time. On the other hand, a person who cares about spiritual power may meditate every day, trying to increase their spiritual power and they may argue that chasing wealth is a fool’s errand. Because of this, people often fail to see what kind of power is necessary and/or most effective in any given situation.
Power is the inherent capacity to create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what you want. This makes power rather like a master tool, somewhat like a knife. You can use a knife to chop up vegetables in order to better feed someone or to cut the ropes around your ankles to set yourself free. You can also use a knife to threaten someone into compliance, harm yourself or kill someone. Power is something that takes on a positive or negative expression, depending on how it is used. But power in and of itself is not the problem. How power is used is the problem. How power is used and why and for what aim is what matters most.
You care about power… all people do… so own it. It is not virtuous to not care about and to have no need for power. In fact, so many of the people who would convince you that it is a virtue, are simply after another kind of power… a moral or a spiritual power.If you want to consider yourself an awake and aware person, see the power that you have. See that you care about power and see that you seek it. See the power struggles you are in. See the ways that you specifically go about getting power, including power over other people. And when you go for power, go for power consciously, being very aware of the positive and negative consequences for you and others of doing so. Just be aware that being able to see and admit to all of this, can in and of itself become a part of your power game!