Does power have to be all bad?

We have been developing a theme in the podcasts over the last few weeks. In December we looked at letting go of what was and then looking forward positively to what will be coming next. We then moved on to Veganuary and then the experience of being an outsider. All these topics have an underlying issue for me, that are to do with the exercise of power.

When we look back to last year at what has happened and decide to let go of the negative unresolved emotional attachments that we have to people and events, we are acknowledging the power that these things have over us. In deciding to let them go we are taking our power back. When we look forward with positive intent to the year ahead we are acknowledging our power to have an effect on the world and on our future experience.

The issues of veganism and vegetarianism speak for themselves. We have power and dominion over all the beings on this planet. We exercise our power as we see fit giving little account to the effects that we have on the other earthlings that share this planet with us. And, then when we looked at the idea of outsiders, of who we allow to be one of ‘us’ and who we decide are not ‘us’ but they are one of ‘them’ we raise all the current issues from Hitler to Trump, from the creation of the British Empire to the enactment of Brexit, from the depression of the 1930s to the banking crisis of the last ten years. All these things are us human beings exercising our power.

We all have power. We all exercise power. We do things everyday that effect others. To do nothing is also the exercise of your power, not to act. Not acting can have the same or a greater effect than acting.

It is not the power it is what we do with it that counts

For many British people the concept of power is a negative one. To be powerful often equates with being bad. This has an historical route in the imbalance of power inherent in the class structure of upper and lower class, of high class and working class, the power held over the peasants by the landed gentry. These differences remain a problem in the British psyche today. Perhaps we should see these inequalities as the misuse of power rather than power itself, because like all things power is neutral it is what we do with it that makes it good or bad.

Power is neutral

When it comes to personal power I see it like this. If the power is held out front of the person so that it is used like a battering ram then it is negative and often destructive. It is the ego that says ‘get out of my way I am coming through’. Egos that are out the front that get in the way of communication are the worst parts of egotism, narcissism, psychopathy and the misuse of power. If, on the other hand, the power is held at the back of the person so that it becomes a power pack that drives them forward, then if becomes a powerful tool that creates great breakthroughs and achievements. When power is used as a driving force it is the energy that creates change.

The question that we all have to ask ourselves is…

…is your personal power out the front getting in the way of yourself and others? Or, is it securely behind you giving the confidence and the power to do what is right?

An engineer uses a power rating to define ability, volume or speed of an engine. Engines, motors and various bit of equipment are all given a power rating. The rating is neutral. The engineering definition of power is simply…

…power is the ability to do work

I like this definition because it clearly states that without power, when we are powerless, we cannot get anything done, there is no achievement.

The power drives

Physical power is in our muscles that allow us to move and do things. Social power is in the bonding of groups families and society. Intellectual power creates the ability to understand and perhaps persuade through argument. The power of the ego is that which creates business leaders, stars celebrities and some political leaders. Mental/cognitive power creates form and structures, rules and morals that are enforced by the authority of law and order, convention and culture. Intuitive power is in knowing without knowing, the ability to have deep insight, empathy and sensitive understanding. Inspirational and creative power, create inventors, icons and avatars.

Power comes in many forms. The power to run a race or to be a social genius involves the positive use of energy. All of the drives, defined above, can be expressed positively or negatively, power can be used to create heaven or hell. Yet without power we cannot function and are truly powerless.

Power is always a good thing when it is used positively.

Sadly many of the current models of power that we see enacted on the planet are not giving us the positive alternative. There are too many conflicts going on in the world to list here but we know what they are. Each of these conflicts involve one group of people attempting to exercise their power over another group. However, there might just be another alternative…cooperation?

Love is all there is

In the end the only power that counts is the power of love. I shall go to my grave saying this…

…if we all look after each other we will all be okay..

So simple and yet so true. The power of love is the power of care and the power of sharing.

According to the charity Oxfam just eight men are holding half of all the wealth in the world today. In a world where one in ten people are surviving on the equivalent of less than two US dollars a day this has to be obscene. The report suggest that we will soon see the first trillionaires. To put that into perspective you would have to spend one million a day for 2738 days to spend your trillion.

I doubt if you are a trillonaire, well not yet anyway. Whatever your wealth and whatever your personal power please use it wisely

Take care and be happy

Sean x