The Paradox of Power Part One: The Paradox Itself

Caroline Myss says of the divine, what seems big is small, what seems right is wrong, what seems humble is powerful and what seems powerful is nominal. In other words, the divine is paradox, at least when viewed through human eyes. The underlying meaning, so me, is that what seems important in the physical realm is not in the spiritual, and what seems significant in the spiritual is trivial in the physical. This is especially true of power.

Most people think of power as force, and ultimate power as the overwhelming force. Like, interestingly, American military force in Afghanistan. I bring this up not as a commentary on war, but because it is a useful demonstration. When you rely on force to secure a city or a region, you need to exert more and more effort to keep it, especially if the people who live in that city or region have not bought into, and are not lending their energy and efforts to the occupation. It doesn’t take much to bring down an occupation if the occupier is not willing to maintain and strengthen force. Nightly news 101, right?

So then, if it so obvious on a macro level that force is a self-limiting system that takes more and more effort to maintain, why do people still rely on force in their everyday lives? I think it is because no one teaches an alternate system. That’s part of my aim here, because I’ve spent years experimenting around trying to figure this out. There are a lot of levels and a lot of reasons why force is still the predominant social, well, force. But I’ll clue you in now that force is not power. It is the opposite of power. Why? Because it takes your energy, your stamina, your efforts just to stay in one place, leaving you precious little energy left with which to grow. In the same way that an occupation would fail if the occupiers stepped back force, your efforts to maintain control fail when you dial back force behind the control. If you doubt this, you have never had a two-year old.

So what is power, you ask. It is a self-perpetuating system that includes the ability to hold all your energy within you and within the present moment, a momentum that flows forward without trying to force its way against anything; it is a tree that bends in the wind rather than the one so proud and rigid that it snaps. It is power on the divine level. As you can tell, it takes more than one blog post to talk about this, so stay tuned for more.

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