Power versus Empowerment
by Isaac George
June 30th, 2017
You may have been experiencing and on-again, off-again crisis mode this past week or so, as there are a number of factors involved. Some are the general breakdowns globally, both politically, economically, socially and ecologically. Other influences are astro-events such as the Chiron Retrograde which began July 1st, Mercury in Cancer first opposing Pluto on June 29th, followed by Mars opposing Pluto on July 1st. And the Inuit Eskimo astro-goddess Sedna squared the Nodal Axis of Leo-Aquarius on July 4th. Pluto figures in very prominently during these times, which brings me to the main subject – POWER. There’s a ginormous difference between Power and Empowerment. A recent article in the monthly periodical Atlantic shows that the pursuit and acquisition of power causes brain damage! That’s right, and you can view that article HERE.
For me, this article partially explains both sides of the psychopath question: does the desire for power require a lack of empathy, or does the acquisition of power create an empathic vacuum in the individual? As with most things, it’s probably a both/and situation, rather than an either/or. However, there are stark differences to the nature of power versus what we term “empowerment.”
Empowerment is essentially the gift of becoming aware of our innate gifts of imagination, creation and choice. It has nothing whatsoever to do with exalting our egos, or our sense of “Self.” In fact, truly empowering activities are evidenced when we demonstrate our acceptance of ourselves as we already are…at any given moment. This empowers others to do the same. This is accomplished via our propensity for modeling, or “mirroring” something that looks good or better than what we’re currently experiencing. For example, helping someone else in a difficult life situation through guidance or emotional support actually raises the bar for both people. In other words, all ships rise on the same tide.
To FEEL empowered is due to our seeing others as we see ourselves, and knowing our worth. This means we all deserve kindness, love and consideration. These are the soul-gifts we have to share. Others then discover their innate worth and the gifts they have to give while here on Earth. The image below is an image of power that is used for self-aggrandisement (Kevin Spacey from the television drama “House of Cards”) The paradox is that this series came to mind while I was watching a film rich with messages about the source of real empowerment. That film is “Pay It Forward”, which is almost twenty years old now, and also starred Kevin Spacey. The contrast was so startling that I recommend you watch the movie first, then perhaps a few episodes of House of Cards, which is available on Netflix.
So, power isn’t everything. In fact, our source of true power is only “power with,” not “power over.” Too much of what passes for empowerment these days is nothing more than our flexing our muscles through creating strong boundaries. This may be a necessary phase when we’ve been so indoctrinated by the prevalent victim-perpetrator syndrome in our psyches. We first realize we’ve been manipulated or abused in some way, and at the time it seems that the only way to feel safe again is to create strong boundaries and flex our muscles and show them who’s in charge. We become “in charge” of ourselves. However, even the perpetrator is a victim, and only feels safe when he or she is dominant or in charge. There’s the paradox of power. It’s really about the fear of what may happen if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, trusting, and soft. It’s about choosing Love over fear.
When we choose Love, then “power with” others and Nature is discovered to be the most successful strategy, and turns everything into play. In fact, it’s always been the only effective strategy. Our gatherer-hunter ancestors survived for thousands of years based on mutual cooperation and sharing. Competition and hoarding were deemed “insane” by them. And the concept of “work” was unknown. There isn’t even a word for “work” in the language of most indigenous peoples. One has to wonder if the concept of work may also be part of our “victim-perpetrator-savior” complex. Power “over” is always based on ego superiority, and it exists in all religions and political thought. Love is the only spiritual path worth following.
However, this Path of Love/Empowerment isn’t all pink bunny rabbits and flowers. Love has a strong empowerment component to it as well, the power of Love in defense of Life. We see it in Nature all the time. A mother bear protects it’s cubs from other predators. The symbiotic cooperation of sea anemones and clown fish. Mutual survival can coincide with standing up to wanton destruction or an imminent threat to Life by knowing we have the power to stand together and thwart that which is unhealthy, unsafe, or unsound. Life on this planet is worth defending, and when we join a movement or worthy cause that seeks to end the ecocide on this planet, or seeks to liberate other human beings from injustice, oppression or bondage, then we are also saving ourselves, and future generations, from the insane consequences of “power over.” The big problem with “power over” is that you can lose it. When you’re in alignment with Spirit, and don’t see others as separate from you, then power with is self-sustainable and infinite.
Last thoughts: What do you feel when you really look out into the stars above us that stretch outwards towards Eternity? I personally am always in awe of the pure nature of the Universe, and from whence it arises. True humility is empowering. When we can realize that although we’re apparently insignificant compared to the grandeur of Creation, and that we’re each designed to actually appreciate these wonders, we can relax a little, and discover the richness of just being alive!
It is that spark of Spirit inside each of us that just knows that we’re simultaneously very tiny, and also Infinite. When you remember that, you’ll find the only source of true power, and you can’t ever lose it. Now that’s powerful!
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Thank you for this reflection, Isaac! I enjoyed sitting with it for a bit.
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