Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Three Essential Elements of Personal Power

Monarch Butterfly

Last night, I went to an introductory talk on Sexual Shamanism and Conscious Sensuality.  Apparently, we’re so disconnected from our bodies, our senses, our sensuality, and our sexuality that many people will pay upwards of $3,000 to tune back in.

Sexuality workships aren’t groundbreaking, however.  Research into the human sexual response began in the 50’s with Masters and Johnson, and people have been exploring ever since, and long before then too.  But, now there are new buzz words like “Shamanism” or “Consciousness” giving the topic a slightly different twist.

I took away some new perspectives from the talk, for which I am grateful, but I quickly tired of the overused lingo.  In particular, the repetition of the phrase “harvest your power” annoyed me to no end.

One of the listeners expressed a concern about harvesting one’s power.  She thought it might increase ego, the opposite aim of spiritual practice. The presenter reassured her that humility and integrity are essential to personal power. So no worries! But I wasn’t fully convinced.  Because, honestly, any approach can be used to bolster ego.  Ego is clever in its relentless attempts at self-deception.

As one way to harvest their personal power, people were encouraged to stand up in front of the group and share their most secret sexual fantasy.  If you’re an inhibited person, this exercise may indeed make you feel more powerful, at least momentarily.  Or you might just feel stupid or embarrassed and want to hide in a hole.

“Is this the true path to personal power?”  I wondered.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think this type of workshop serves a purpose, and can definitely increase your confidence, self-acceptance, sense of ease, and your ability to experience pleasure.  It just may not be the whole banana.

Three Essential Elements of Personal Power

All this talk about harvesting power stirred me to clarify my own definition of personal power.  Before you slap down several thousands dollars to learn how to harvest your power, wouldn’t it be smart to first know what personal power means to you?  Just to be sure you get the right thing?

My version of personal power is slightly different than standing behind a microphone and revealing your sexual secrets or what it feels like to be turned on to a group of 60 people.  These are three essential elements of personal power from my point of view:

  • A Boundless Wisdom that sees the world and the self as it is, ever-changing and inherently non-existent. This means recognizing there are two aspects of mind:  the essence of mind and the appearances of mind (thoughts and emotions).  Then choosing to rest in the essence of mind rather than becoming entangled in all the projections like hope and fear, negative emotions, stories and dramas.  Naturally, this takes time and practice.
  • Immeasurable Compassion, which expresses itself through the Four Boundless Qualities of love, compassion, joy and impartiality and extends to all living beings.  These are qualities that you too can learn to cultivate.
  • An Infinite Power or Capability to liberate others from suffering and delusion, once we’ve actualized these qualities to a greater degree.

Everyone of us is naturally endowed with these three profound qualities, but usually we are so caught up in the projections of mind we fail to realize or cultivate them.  The way to practice them is through meditation (mindfulness and awareness) and compassion practice.

When these three qualities begin to manifest, even to a small degree, your mind and life will begin to change.  You will find:

  • self-acceptance
  • an ability to let go of expectations and judgments
  • less negativity
  • a sense of being well in your own skin
  • confidence
  • kindness, love, compassion, and joy
  • a feeling of being more in touch with yourself and with others
  • a sense of responsibility for your thoughts, words, and actions.
  • feeling as though you are directing your life rather than being constantly swept into a rapidly running current
  • able to unfold into whatever experience presents itself in life
  • humor and spaciousness
  • integrity and authenticity

In short, wisdom and compassion are the essence of true power.  True power is embodied, in my opinion, by people like the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Aung Sang Sui Kyi, but their aspiration isn’t necessarily to achieve personal power.

True power is also expressed in everyday acts of kindness when our ego is not in the way:  caring for an ill or dying parent, helping an elderly person carry a heavy shopping bag, encouraging a child.

An incredible potential lies within you ready to be unleashed.  Are you ready to release the floodgates holding back limitless love and profound wisdom and discover a greater measure of personal power?

Writing Prompt:  Tammy Strobel

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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23 Comments

  1. The first thing that comes to mind for a definition of personal power is “When my actions can benefit others in a positive way, make things better, make them smile; The ability to be compassionate even under pressure”. “Harvest your power” does smell of ego inflation 🙂

    I like how you expressed the elements of personal power, Sandra.

    Love, Vidya

  2. This makes most interesting reading, Sandra. I for one, am certainly not going to stand up and tell people about my sexual secrets, even if they paid me good money to do so! But seriously, personal power to me is more about getting in touch with my deepest self and being to be authentic. To live a life of authenticity, simplicity, compassion and joy takes takes courage and is a statement enough of personal power.

    • Corinne, Being authentic is a big part of personal power, I think, and I like all the qualities you associate with it: simplicity, compassion, and joy. You’re right, it takes courage.

  3. Thanks so much for publishing your inspiring article. It strengens me. For, without doubt, wisdom and compassion are the essence of true power.

    Personal power is the ability to focus your attention on navigating through conflicting desires by re-examining and replacing outmodes beliefs, consciously breaking old habits so that you can create the life you choose to live.

    I have learned to acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. In short, I have learned one cannot become personally powerful until one goes within and becomes an observer.

    Each of us has to face the truth of our lives based on the decisions and belief systems in which we were raised as children and have invested as adults. If we don’t like the results then it is up to us to change, and that’s easier said than done because it’s hard to view yourself objectively and thus understand what to do to initiate change.

    When I was in my early thirties I uncovered some negative core beliefs and I replaced them with my own truths. Cognitive therapy was very helpful. It helped me break through delusion with knowledge and the wisdom I gained from meditative experiences as I gradually became more observant helped me become more mindful.

    I came to know that a belief is not an idea held by the mind; it is an idea that holds the mind. I realized that we don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.

    Re-examining my core values helped me uncover that my self sabotaging behavior was rooted in cliinging to beliefs instilled in me in childhood, beliefs of my parents, beliefs I did not share.

    “Belief…is the insistence that the truth is what one would ‘lief’ or (will or) wish to be… Belief is fervent hope, and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty.

    Faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown.

    Belief clings, but faith let’s go…faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception. If we cling to belief, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.” — Alan Watts

    I came to know that change is the only constant in life. I met my other and connected with my authentic self. I let go and opened my mind to the truth. I stopped listening to my chatterinng monkey mind and I began learning how to love myself and others. I replaced energy-wasting habits that didn’t serve me with those that brought me and others happiness. I became more flexible and resiient I was better able to adapt and flow of ever-changing events, which in turn are helping me grow and become more powerful, purposeful and strong.

    I am committed to continuing to conquer fear and to quietly stand for what I believe in. I am learning how to control my emotions, rather than letting them control me. I am learning to become assertive. In short, connecting with my personal power is enabling me to choose to be fearless, open minded/hearted, wise, hopeful, appreciative, grateful and compassionate.

    P.S. I have no intention of ever standing in front of any group and sharing sexual fantasies with strangers. There are such seminars where I live but they have never attracted me. I don’t perceive any benefit from enrolling and partcipating. That’s because my husband and I have no secrets and have been making our fanatsies realities for decades.

    • Dear timethief,

      I truly appreciate your definition of personal power and the other insightful points in your comment. In particular, I loved the way you differentiation between study and observation. And, also that an idea holds the mind because it doesn’t allow us to flow with life as it actually is. You’ve really given us a short formula for change, and I know personal transformation has been your lifelong journey. I resonate with all these qualities you associate with personal power: ” fearless, open minded/hearted, wise, hopeful, appreciative, grateful and compassionate..” As always I am deeply grateful for your presence.

  4. Three grand a pop, I’m in the wrong business. I love how you speak to the need for awareness of what you want and need before attending such a session.

    I am truly not sure what personal power means to me, I love the idea about being in touch with yourself and being authentic, that is something to which I completely subscribe and a way in which I endeavour to live.

    • I too love the idea of being in touch with yourself and being authentic. That’s makes “personal power” far more human feeling. Thanks for your thoughts.,

  5. Hi Sandra,

    I was reading the Dalai Lama last night and curiously enough pages about relationships, sexuality and romance. The book is “The Art of Happiness” which I started many moons ago but other books got my call in between. You may wish to read it too, if you haven’t yet.
    Personal power is the ability to stand well way from our ego and do what our true Self desires, not from a perspective of wanting but from a perspective of being. Being in love with our purpose of life and stick with it despite the adversities that may arise, is a sign of personal power in my opinion.
    Sexual interaction is a biological event. It is to reproduce human beings. Everything else around it is (literally) pure fantasy. A sweet one, in most cases.

    These workshops are generally speaking attention grabbers only. Standing in front of a group of people telling them their sexual secrets is not only highly boring but really “who cares?!”. It seems to me that in these days of “new age”, “new consciousness”, “new whatever” … anything goes. We need to be mindful with our own choices.

    Wishing you well Sandra, I love to read your “stories”. Sorry for not commenting more often, time is at essence and too many things to read.
    Tree Spirit 🙂

    • Dear Tree Spirit,

      It’s wonderful to see you know and then even if you cannot visit often. I understand fully how busy life can be and how there is so much to read on the world wide web.

      I read that book many years ago, but I certainly would be up for reading it again. I love the way your definition of personal power includes steering away from the ego! Now that takes courage, clarity, and commitment. I admire that type of pursuit.

  6. Sandra, I appreciate your sensitivity to the effect of words very much. These situations reflect on my “inside/outside” theory, that we either consider ourselves in context as a part of (and within) the natural world, or we view everything besides ourselves as “outside” us, therefore something to be tamed, managed and related to as fuel for our ambitions and desires. “Harvest your power” makes it pretty clear this approach is an “outside” view, as if power is an object or goal to be achieved through effort or exercise.

    I think what we perceive as personal power is the amount of harmony within a system (that already encompasses everything in existence) a being exudes – just… by… being. The same vibe that allows us to perceive the beauty of wild animals and weather also emanates from other people who appear to be “in tune”. Because some young children seem this way (not all), authenticity and harmony may be built-ins that we are taught to repress.

    Personally speaking, I have no doubt that modern lifestyles based on arranging the majority of your time around commerce warps the spirit, which would include sexual comity. I haven’t got any easy global solutions, but small steps in the right direction still help.

    • Mike,

      That’s a remarkable and deep differentiation between “outside” and “inside”. I love how you connect personal power with a sense of harmony. It’s so obvious now that you have explained it. I think there would be different opinions about commerce warping the spirit 🙂 since some people promote spirit-driven business, but I have a feeling for what you are saying. I also am so grateful for your insights.

  7. Lynn Fang

    Great article, Sandra. I like how you spotted the fishiness in the workshop marketing. I resonate with your definition of personal power – it feels powerful, freeing, empowering, and nurturing. I also like what some other commenters have mentioned – that power resides in BEING, not doing. Sensuality is an important topic, not one that I think is purely ego-based, but it often can be misguided. A sensuality that honors the individuals involved, and connects you with a universal life force is a beautiful, sacred thing. However, I also don’t see how expressing your deepest sexual fantasies in front of a crowd of people will do anything except boost your ego. I can see how easily that would turn into a competition of some sort.

    • Hi Lynn,

      It’s so nice to see you! I resonate too with the idea of being and not doing and very much with Mike’s description of a sense of harmony being so compelling. I agree with you that sensuality and sexuality are important topics and many people need help to open up and feel more comfortable in their bodies. I’m not against this type of seminar at all, and I like some of the ideas that were suggestion but was not in tune with them all. Thanks for your thoughts.

  8. jean sampson

    Wow, Sandra! Both the post and the comments are outstanding. I think one aspect of personal power is the ability to respond to any situation rather than to react to it. That takes lots of work and awareness of what is going on with yourself. It also requires that you make a decision about how to respond that is based on what is best for that unique situation. This is a very important aspect of personal power, in my opinion, but just one facet of many.

    • That’s an incredibly important facet of personal power, Jean. I’m so glad you mentioned it here. And there are so many facets to this single facet. It really requires being in the present moment and having a bigger view of life. I’m so glad you mentioned this.

  9. Sandra,
    Your third element really spoke to me- “an infinite power or capability to liberate others from suffering and delusion, once we’ve actualized these qualities to a greater degree.” While I appreciate that ego can use this last approach to enhance itself, I think it also draws out that quality of humility. It reminds us that there is something greater than our self.

    I’m glad you didn’t feel the need to spend $3000 on fine tuning:)

    • So true. If we are truly committed to others that begins to dilute ego right away. It’s the perfect counter in fact. Thanks for bringing in this thread.

  10. Boundless, immeasurable, infinite–love your adjectives! And also your introduction with the description of the workshop and your reaction to it. You had me laughing out loud, not at anybody, but at all us, affectionately, in our human condition.

    Two things came to mind. One of the most intriguing quotes from A Course in Miracles — “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

    And one of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes, which speaks to the issue of ego and power. In response to a question about whether he was really “that good,” Lee responded, “If I say yes, you will think I’m boasting. But if I say no, you’ll know I’m lying.”

    I gave a presentation Saturday and this was one of the things we discussed. Recognizing and accepting our natural power, the energy that connects us to each other and to the universe, does not make me feel special because it’s there for all of us, equally. And it’s not something I earn, so I don’t feel pride. On the contrary, as the speaker said, it is humbling to be blessed, as the Dalai Lama said, with this “precious human life.”

    This is a difficult topic, especially, I think, for those of us in Western culture. I’m so glad you shared your thoughts here.

    • Galen,

      Your laughs made me smile! Thank you. I love how you look at power: as though there’s a natural flow of power when we get out of our own way. I’m so glad you added this perspective to the conversation. It is a tricky topic, but in some ways an overblown one. Much love to you.

  11. Yikes! As a general principle, trust and confidentiality need to be established within a group before people are asked to share anything very personal, let alone ones deepest and most powerful sexual secrets. I’d say that exercise was way too exposing for a public introductory workshop.

  12. Good point, Linda! I didn’t think about that. Although we we’re asked to agree to confidentiality, there’s no way to build trust in a large, public group like that. It’s just a few people who were encouraged to harvest their power, but still…

  13. Beautiful article. I think people look for personal power in all of the wrong places. You nailed it on the head when you mentioned that personal power really comes from active mindfulness and giving. When we clear the clutter and poisonous thoughts from our lives and let ourselves just be for a period, we unleash a power most people have never had the enjoyment of feeling. It’s strange how in order to achieve true power, you have to stop gathering, and start letting go. It’s the simple states if being that we are most powerful. I focus a lot of my writing about mindfulness as the benefits of meditation, and anyone who ever was bold enough to commit to it has always had amazing results. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Dave (personal growth project)

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