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:
- an ability to let go of expectations and judgments
- less negativity
- a sense of being well in your own skin
- 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?
What are your thoughts on personal power? Do you aspire to have personal power? What’s your definition of personal power?
Writing Prompt: Tammy Strobel
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