I have noticed a theme emerge these past few weeks. Many people are talking about the idea of personal power and personal responsibility. Mainly they are talking about these concepts in relation to spiritual development, and life experiences. There is a bigger message to these themes, as is usually the case.
Here is what I have noticed. Among some people there is this realization that we indeed control our personal experiences to a large degree. In everything we have a choice. We choose to continue with a certain path or activity or we choose to let go of what we have previously done and try something different. This is where we get into tricky
territory. There are people, plenty of them that choose to see themselves as victims. I would venture to say we have all played this role and still do at times. I know I like to feel sorry for myself and see everything outside of me as the cause to my problems from time to time. The message this week is about that type of thinking. About the detrimental impact that this kind of thinking has on us personally as well as on humanity in general.
This has always been tricky for me both to confront others on, whether those others are friends, relatives or clients, as well as to hear it for myself. It’s hard to say that the choices we make play a large part in our own unhappiness. I mean, if other people would just do what we wanted to we would be happy right. If “they” didn’t pollute and put carcinogens into the air, if “they” found that sickness in our loved one earlier, if that big wig was not so greedy I would have a job…it goes on and on. The thing is “the other people” are not within our scope of control. Our minds and our thoughts about our environment and “those other people” are the only things we control. Continuing to indulge in thinking that everything outside of ourselves is to blame may seem like a great way to help us feel better. I mean “if it’s not my fault than I don’t have to feel guilty right”. But it also means that we are not in control and have no power to change anything.
I simply can not believe that. My spiritual journey has brought me to a place where I truly believe that we all have power in our own lives. It is true that things happen that are beyond what we control. We live in a world with other people, with germs and chemicals, and dangerous objects. Things happen in our lives that we do not want. What this message is about is not to spell out a way to avoid ever having “bad” things happen to you-
but more a call to embrace our personal power to change things beginning with our perspectives.
People get horrible illnesses, painful illness, dark states within the mind. We all lose people we love, lose things that matter to us and our safety. We lose jobs, houses, cars, favorite objects. We have spats and deep long standing fights with people close to us. These are things that happen. They are the things that could have us feeling sorry for ourselves, or they are the things that can help us define and strengthen ourselves. That is where the choice lies. One person can experience a tragedy and curl into a ball and refuse to ever live again, while another person experiencing the same tragedy is fueled to come to life for the first time, or in a new way by starting a charity or trying to do something to prevent others from experiencing the same tragedy. It can be the chance to start over and do the things they have always wanted. The only difference is the perspective from which they experienced the tragedy.
Where one person falls into sorrow and perhaps self pity the other harnesses the inner power that is divinely given to each person and uses it to create a change. One person stays stuck in the cycle of the loss or tragedy while the other plows forward. The only thing separating these two people is an inner shift in thought. Both feel the devastation of the
tragedy, both begin the and then somewhere the paths diverge. One person holds on to the grief, hold on to the pain and stays stuck with that, refusing to let it go and move forward. While the other person eventually makes the internal and very difficult decision to let go. To surrender the pain and to try to see the good in something that begins as devastating. That decision makes all the difference in the world.
I get these wonderful images that go with these messages sometimes. This week it was an image of some large rocks. On one side was a person weighed down by those heavy rocks (the things that happen in our lives to weigh us down or to challenge us). This person was on one side of a river that they wanted to cross but couldn’t swim across due to the heavy rocks weighing on them. On the other side of the image was a person who was also weighed down by the same rocks but then had the internal idea that if they could let go of the rocks and lay them down they could build a path across the river that they could walk on to cross. Then in my head I was asked the question ” What are you going to do with your rocks?”
We all experience things from our environments that we do not like but we have a choice, we can complain about them or we can do something to change our experience. Some people that I have known were not in a place to hear this message. for them their minds go to anger or shame. I still experience this myself at times. To hear that I create and have a choice in my suffering has sometimes brought up shame and anger. When I am not ready to hear it about an issue I tend to get upset and not see my role clearly. I also remember the first time I really was ready to hear this
message and instead of frustration, anger and shame I felt liberated. To truly understand that I can create and that I have a choice in what I experience and how I experience the things in my life gave me a sense of personal power that I had never felt before. I will never forget that feeling. It was like the clouds parted and I thought ” huh, I do have a
choice in this and I can choose to let go if I want- I am the only thing keeping my pain alive”. It was freeing. I was recently talking to a client about this and she too understood. She also agreed that there was a time that she would not have gotten the message and would have felt angry about people telling her she has a part in her suffering. I mean if that were true why would any of us stay in our suffering. The answer to that is fear. Fear keeps us stuck and keeps us from exercising our choice. If you push past fear and see that there is a road that leads out of any trouble or pain- a road that emerges with the passage of time you will feel more able to freely make the choices that will help lead you our of suffering. It’s a road that we must wait for over and over because trial and challenges arise as a part of life. The only thing that truly changes is our reactions and our perception of what suffering and pain are.
The message this week is to briefly look at all the areas you have pain- emotional, physical, financial , anything. Look at them and then instead of sighting all the reasons outside of yourself for those pains- look at what resources you have within you and around you to overcome or ease those pains. It could be things as big as the loss of a loved one or a terminal illness. It could just be smaller annoyances like not getting long with a coworker, a boss, or a lover. Both in the big and the small you have choices to make in how you experience those situations, in what resources you will use to assist you in dealing with them. You have personal power. Will those varying sized stones weigh you down or act as
the path that leads you forward? What are you going to do with your rocks?
With Love and Turth