Harness Your Power

by Christopher Lovejoy on November 14, 2010 · 1 comment

One morning, not so many years ago, I woke up with sleep paralysis.

This experience was a first for me, and it terrified me deeply.

In the moments after waking and realizing my paralysis, I was in a panic.

I felt nothing of my body. My body was completely paralyzed.

My inner body pushed in vain with all its might against my outer body.

I then remembered my meditative training in taking a witness posture, and so I detached myself mentally from the condition of my body and willed myself into a state of mental relaxation.

Lying on my back, I gazed with curiosity at my surroundings.

I observed myself as pure consciousness.

I then willed myself to move my head, slowly, almost imperceptibly, first to the left, and then to the right. I smiled (inwardly at least) through my inner sense of relief.

I located my left index finger in my mind’s eye and attempted to move it.


I did the same with my right index finger. More success.

This string of modest successes fueled my expectation that the feeling would return to my body.

And return it did.

I playfully moved my inner body into my outer body any way I could, pushing past the limits of my paralysis.

Within minutes, my outer body came back to life – slowly at first, and then in a rush.

Crisis: A Test of Power

In our encounters with life, and through our explorations into the unknown, experiences can present themselves that make us wonder whether we have the power to meet them on our own terms.

To say, as the principle of Mana says, that “all power comes from within” is cold comfort to those of us who have endured extreme uncertainty (acute or chronic) in a crisis that seems epic in its proportions.

Someone could say, in response to my anecdote above: “I get that all the time; it’s no big deal”. To which I say: “There’s always a first time, and that first time could very easily be a big deal”.

I could add: “And even beyond that first time, and depending on the condition in question, it might remain a big deal”.

In response, you could be tempted to reply as follows: “when you feel weak or helpless, you’re using your power to feel that way”.

I won’t argue with this, but we would all do well to remember that we might have little or no idea what someone in crisis has been through – or is going through.

We might pretend to understand or appreciate what has transpired, but until we’ve lived that person’s experience up to the crisis, and then into and through the crisis, we know next to nothing.

We know next to nothing, and therefore, we have little if any authority with respect to it.

We might pretend to speak with authority about it, but every person’s experience is unique. We were not the author of that experience, and so we cannot ever carry much legitimate authority about it.

Certainly, a seasoned and trustworthy professional could have some legitimate authority on it, but even then, such a professional probably won’t have all the facts about it.

I think the best anyone could do is to offer support and guidance with non-directive feedback.

Let us now plunge more deeply into some of the issues raised here.

The Reminder of Aloha

In my recent post, Aloha for Everyone, I described the principle of Mana in terms of a Universal Power from which all things true, good, and beautiful arise and flow with ease.

I described the spirit of Aloha as giving and receiving the energy of love and joy in the present moment, stating that “The more you share your energy in this way, the more attuned you become to Mana.”

I wrote, and I quote, “The more attuned you are to Mana in a loving and joyous way, the more easily you can bless your way to health and happiness, wealth and prosperity, knowledge and wisdom”.

I went on to say that “The secret to living a life of fulfillment is to bless anything and everything that represents your deepest, most heartfelt desires”.

The principle of Mana is a recognition that we all come from the same spiritual place; we all come from Spirit, if you will, and it is the unity of Spirit within us that is the ultimate source of our power.

All the power in your life comes from within you, and all the power for change in your life comes from within you; when you lead, guide, help, or heal others, you stimulate and draw out their power.

If you keep to the center of your experience, following your intuitive guidance, allowing synchronicity to manifest, you cannot be manipulated into compliance or servitude by anyone, for any reason.

Into the Heart of Mana

Let us now consider three fundamental concepts that lie at the heart of Mana:

  1. Agency
  2. Adversity
  3. Authority

If I were to sum up Agency in two words, it would be this: “I am”.

Or, more explicity, with calculated pauses for emphasis: “I remain … at the center … of my experience … of life”.

Advice to “let go” and “go with the flow” reminds us to release imperatives, fixations, attachments, obsessions, and compulsions that no longer serve us.

But such advice nevertheless presumes Agency. It presumes that you maintain and sustain executive control of your own experience – at the very least. In other words, if you were to release all constraints on your behavior and conduct, and do whatever you felt like, whenever you felt like it, with whomever you felt like, … well, I’ll leave the consequences of this course of action to your imagination.

As a matter of course, Agency comes at a cost, and that cost is Adversity.

Agency implies insistence, which implies urgency, which inevitably leads to resistance – from yourself, from another, from others collectively, even (seemingly) from the world itself.

When I get knocked off my center through my interactions in the world, the initial shock reminds me of my concern for Agency – it reminds me that I must remain at the center of my experience.

Certainly, in the aftermath of the shock, I can relax my insistence that something or someone be this way or that, but the underlying imperative remains: I must remain at the center of my experience.

If I didn’t, my life would surely devolve into meaninglessness.

My life would lose its sense of meaning, purpose, and direction.

Eventually, my life would essentially be without health, fitness, vitality, happiness, success, wealth (however you wish to define this), prosperity, knowledge, and wisdom.

Or without the promise of them.

A living death, in other words.

In light of this, the perception of adversity arises out of a sense of urgency agency.

Adversity is a kind of friction that serves to sharpen the blade of discernment. We might also say that the world itself is a kind of whetstone upon which we can give shape to consciousness.

Without adversity, there is no possible way we could discover and realize who and what we are.

Agency and Adversity, when properly combined, understood, appreciated, and executed, offer us lives of promise with a sense of possibility, but they must also take account of Authority.

Why? Because Authority is a response to Adversity.

At a basic level, we all have authority by virtue of having a sense of agency, to the extent to which this sense of agency has a competent relationship with adversity.

But, obviously, no one can be an authority on everything, which compels a division of labor – whether that labor be physical or mental – along with a diversity of personal and professional opinion.

Part of the interface between Agency and Adversity involves negotiating with Authority.

Indeed, Authority itself can be a very real and recurring source of Adversity, if and when said Authority is not trustworthy or when it struggles with perceptions of being untrustworthy.

Trustworthy persons in positions of legitimate authority are prized for a reason.

A Fundamental Choice

The allure of surrender in the face of adversity can be quite strong.

The vast majority of people on this planet have their faces pushed hard into a harsh and unforgiving reality to survive at any costs – even as they surrender without complaint.

In every country of the world, there’s a ghetto waiting to be discovered.

Here’s the thing: as we all head more deeply into the Age of Austerity, everyone is vulnerable to the prospect of living in a ghetto of one kind or another.

Let us keep this perspective in mind as we consider ways to express our paths of least resistance.

Your path of least resistance involves surrender to one extent or another.

A sense of agency compels you to remain at the center of your experience. With five minutes of sitting in silence every morning, you can find this center of your experience with relative ease.

Inevitably, however, adversity will come calling. Sooner or later, you will get knocked off your center.

You have a choice about this: you can either play the victim and lose yourself inside a victim mentality or you can cultivate the flexibility you need to remain at the center of your experience – to follow your inspirational, intuitive guidance; to allow synchronicity to manifest in your favor.

While keeping in mind that “all power comes from within”.

Let’s consider some practical ideas to make this so.

Experience Made Conscious

Essentially, I can be, have, or do the following:

I can surrender consciously to my experience; I can maintain a neutral stance with respect to it; or I can manifest it to satisfy my needs and fulfill my desires.

In the right light, at the right time, for the right reasons, all of these existential postures are legitimate calls to action.

Conscious surrender, even if prolonged, is especially useful for dealing with loss.

Conscious neutrality, even if extreme, is especially useful for appreciating fulfillment.

Conscious creation, even if short-lived, is especially useful for reinforcing competence.

Whether I choose to surrender in the face of loss, or rest on my laurels to relish my good fortune, or manifest desired effects, results, or outcomes, my native power to do these is best done …

  1. from a witness perspective,
  2. with intuitive, inspired guidance,
  3. to attract events that serve my needs

Somewhere between (1) and (2), I set my intention.

Somewhere between (2) and (3), I bless that which best represents my intention.

In light of this structural guidance, consider the following cycle:

  • your perception, which informs …
  • your belief, which inspires …
  • your desire, which informs …
  • your intention, which inspires …
  • your expectation, which informs …
  • your realization, which inspires …
  • your perception, which informs … (recycle above)

A quick example: I walk through a forest into a clearing that leads to the edge of a cliff and marvel at a range of mountains on the other side of a valley. I catch sight of a cabin on the other side.

I love the look of this cabin. I believe I could live there. No, wait. I want to live there. I intend to inquire about the status of this cabin. I expect to get a response I like.

I find a way across to the cabin and make an inquiry. As it happens, it’s coming up for sale in several months. I make a generous offer and before I know it, I take ownership – sooner than I expect.

When something (or someone) catches my eye, my perception immediately informs my belief: this is good for me; this is bad for me; this has no relevance for me; this is possible; this is not possible.

That is to say, based on what I see (hear, taste, touch, or smell), I can ask, even if it’s unconscious: what kind of relationship with this object (or person) do I believe is possible for me?

In the light of a possibility, I might be inspired to carry a desire in relationship to it.

Knowing that I’ve been inspired to carry a desire for it, I might intend to do something about it, which in turn inspires me to form an expectation that I will have it.

And when I fulfill this expectation, this fulfillment informs my realization of it, which in turn energizes future perceptions that I can have more and better, sooner rather than later.

Being, Having, Doing (Revisited)

I can be. I can have. I can do.

Being is conducive to processing the experience of loss. Last week, I temporarily lost my health. I chose concious surrender as a strategy for dealing with it. Today, I feel wonderful.

Having is conducive to processing the experience of plenty. For the next several months, I can afford to rest on my laurels and choose a strategy of conscious neutrality to fully enjoy my life.

Doing is conducive to processing the experience of vitality. At present, I feel intensely energized as I write this post; following a strategy of conscious creation to express my vitality comes naturally.

Your path of least resistance depends on where you are and what you feel called to be, have, or do.

Do you need to process the experience of a loss?

Do you need to process the experience of plenty?

Do you need to process the experience of vitality?

If so, what are you waiting for? Do it now. All power comes from within. Bless the representations of your deepest desires and harness your power now – for now is the moment of power.

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