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January 1, 1970
In fundamental ways, both socially and culturally, we operate under the belief that if we can attain a certain measure of personal power over others, our environment, or ourselves, we will assure our survival in the herd of humanity. Consequently, much of our time and mental activity is devoted either to amassing more personal power or running from feelings of powerlessness.
The drive for power is naturally alive in all of us to one degree or the other. It is an aspect of our shared humanity. It can serve our physical survival, but as with all human drives, when we define who we are based on something as temporal as having power or lacking power, we will find ourselves caught on a wheel of unnecessary suffering. However you see yourself in this continuum, identifying yourself as having power or being powerless, it is the same wheel.
What is offered here is the possibility to recognize what is untouched by any power, what is free of all power and free of all powerlessness—the truth of who you are—not who you can fabricate yourself to be. The irony is that there has to be some level of accumulation of power before you can even begin to recognize that the powers you have accumulated are still not giving you what you yearn for, which is the truth of yourself.
In order to discover the truth yourself, to drink deeply and be nourished from this eternal fountain of peace and freedom, we have to fiercely start telling the truth. And the truth is, no matter what it is we say we want, we have to see that what we’ve actually been searching for is power—even power over spiritual realization—and the desire for power is synonymous with the desire for control. When we shine the light of conscious awareness on these desires, they no longer have the same authority to cause suffering for ourselves or others.
What powers have you tried to accumulate? What have you hoped that would give you? What has that given you? Is that what you really want for your life?
The truth is, all power has to be surrendered in the end. And the invitation of this teaching is to face that end right now as if it were imminent.
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