Stop Making Yourself Powerless
Once upon a time, there was an eco-tour guide in Africa who was considered the safest guide in all of Africa because virtually no one got hurt on his tours. You would think that people would flock to this eco-tour guide because of his safety record, but he had a certain reputation. It wasn’t just that he was the safest, but he was also the sternest. People didn’t want to go on a tour with a stern guide. They wanted to go on a tour with somebody that was fun!
Just prior to one trip, the eco-tour guide sits his guests down and says, “Before you start your trek, I have a few simple rules.” With that, his friendly demeanor became somewhat stern. In not such a gentle voice he said, “Rule #1: When climbing slippery hills, you have the power to not grab onto a snake because you’ve mistaken it for a rope. Rule #2: In the heat of the day, you have the power to not take a cooling swim in the part of the river where the signs say Warning: Man-eating Crocs. Rule #3: When approaching the campsite after a long day’s walk, you have the power to not walk through the quicksand swamps in order to take a shortcut back to your tent.”
At this point, one of the tourists, already enraged, barks out, “I thought this was going to be a fun tour! Why so many negative rules?” The tour guide smiled and said, “Because the only time you get into trouble on my safari is when you don’t see where you are in the moment.”
This is so much of our work as spiritual aspirants… learning what it means to wind up punishing ourselves because we are not present to ourselves.
So many of the things that we want — in our physical lives alone — depend upon starting to recognize one of the principle, fundamental laws of spiritual life: we have been educated over time to seek power as the reconciling force for our problems…earn money, gain authority, look good. If that can’t be done, then pout, because someone will surely fall into our pout trap, and we will have (at least for a moment) power over them.
There is no power we can acquire that is going to give us love, that is going to give us fearlessness, that is going to give us what our heart longs for. It does not exist. It is our seeking of these powers that in its strange, twisted way, proves to us the existence of these things, because the more we long for something, the more we believe it’s real. And the more something eludes us, the greater the reality it gains. This is because our mind, in its spiritually infantile state, still clings — without knowing it — to this notion that it’s possible for us to imagine what it is we want and to be fulfilled through the objects of those imaginations. No such world exists… and our lives are the evidence of it.
We don’t need power. What we need is to stop making ourselves powerless. That’s all we need to do to fulfill the purpose of our individual lives, which cannot be done without being in a relationship with love and finding the fearlessness that love holds in itself naturally.
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