|The essence of power is influence. It is that which enables you to be effective at doing what you want to do, to get the results intended, to move others to help you, and it is that which affects the power of others even when it is unintentional. |
Everything has both active and passive aspects of power. A flower has the active power to grow, blossom and reproduce. It may also have the passive power to give food to a bee or pleasure to a human, both of which enhance its active power to grow and reproduce. A human may have the active power to perform a certain task. He or she may also have the passive power to inspire other humans by that performance.
There are several kinds of power:
1. The power of energy (as of the elements, strength, emotions, vibrations).
2. The power of favor [ability to give or withold] (as of money, position, prestige, affection, punishment, protection, pleasure, etc.).
3. The power of intimidation (threat or act of violence or loss, emotional manipulation, etc.)
3. The power of knowledge (as of skill, information, wisdom).
4. The power of authority (as of self-confidence, or confidence in one's access to another power).
5. The power of focus (as with decision, determination, motivation, desire).
6. The power of belief (as with assumptions, attitudes and expectations).
Personal power is the power to direct one's own life, and to take responsibility for the effects of doing that. Everyone uses personal power to some degree, and most of them accept responsibility when it works the way they want it to. However, relatively few people want to take responsibility when it doesn't work out, and relatively many prefer to transfer the authority for running their own lives over to someone else. "Take care of me" seems to be a more popular cry than "Help me take care of myself." "It's not my fault" is heard more often than "I'll change myself."
Personal power does not just affect the individual; it also has social consequences. I was told about an incident that took place during the time when relations between the US and communist China were just opening up. As a form of cultural exchange the US had sent a table tennis team to China to compete with their Chinese counterparts. During a break the teams were discussing life in both countries with the help of a translator. An American happened to mention a statistic current at the time that on the average Americans move their residence every two years. A Chinese asked whether the Americans were angry at the government for moving them so often. When it was explained that Americans move whenever and wherever they want to, he exclaimed with disbelief, "How can you possible control your economy if everyone moves around at will?"
It's hard for some people to understand that the most powerful, i.e., influential, nation, and the most successful, prosperous, and compassionate nation, will be the one whose citizens have the most freedom to make their own choices. A way to increase personal power, i.e., power to develop one's own life, is by combining the techniques of ku'uwelu, ho'ohui hoaka, and nalu.
Ku'uwelu is roughly translated as "hang loose", and as intended here it means to enter into a state of non-resistance to influences from within and without. The non-resistance takes place in both the mind and body, and the process is accomplished by using words, images, thoughts, feelings, movement, awareness and intent. In practice it consists of monitoring the body to continually release the slightest increases in unnecessary tension (necessary tension, as an example, is that required to remain upright in a standing position) and tension reactions, and monitoring the mind so as to continually release all negative thoughts and thought reactions. The effect is to achieve a kind of mental and physical transparency, a kind of "empty awareness." This does not mean no awareness, but a heightened awareness unclouded or restricted by automatic reaction patterns. The heightened awareness includes clarity of thought, increased sensory perception, increased perception of energy, and an ability to act or react almost instantly to any stimulus. In practicing the technique there is often an experience of body releases and "aha!" realizations.
Ho'ohui hoaka means "to connect the aura," and it refers to a technique of extending your aura to connect or join with the auras of your environment. In the proper execution of the technique you are highly aware of the shape, texture, movement and "feel" of whatever you have joined with. It is a 2nd level technique, though, and not like the "grokking" of kulike, because you are still very aware that the object or person is not you. Yet you are strongly bonded or blended just like you are when you hold or touch a familiar, well-liked object or person. Ho'omaika'i, the blessing technique, is a great aid for connecting.
Nalu is a contemplation technique that works on the EFWAG principle ("Energy Flows Where Attention Goes"). Whenever the mind is focused on something, especially with intent, not only is there a reciprocal energy flow, but the nature or quality of what is focused on tends to be reproduced by the ku, the body mind. So if you focus on the energy of a fire you tend to get energized, and if you focus on the freedom of an eagle, you tend to feel free. In addition, nalu can be used for telepathic and psychokinetic influence.
When ku'uwelu, ho'ohui hoaka and nalu are combined, the results can be very powerful. If you have ever experienced a high power or love state, this is a way to get back into it consciously. The idea is that the non-resistant state will allow an uninhibited flow of energy, the aura extension will connect you with your environment, and the contemplative process will direct the energy according to a natural intent, thus turning you into a sort of super-conductor for super-effectiveness.
Once you are "transparently connected" the key factor is the focus of your contemplation. This does not have to remain the same. For instance, you could start by contemplating beauty, move on to energy, then to a desired effect or influence. The combination is also very useful for eliminating personal blocks, for as you contemplate a problem area you will have many opportunities to keep releasing mind and body.
Power, however, is meaningless without a purpose, and no purpose can be achieved without power. The larger the purpose, the greater the power, but it doesn't work the other way. You can't accumulate tremendous power first and then set about applying it to a great purpose. It is the purpose that expands the power.
Using power for the purpose of immediate self gratification is natural. We do that every time we act to increase our comfort, our pleasure or our effectiveness. Shopping is an expression of personal power, as is driving a car, playing a game or making love, but the degree of influence - and therefore the level of power - is relatively small. As we involve others in our expression of personal power, by helping them to increase their influence, our own power grows. All great religious, political, military, economic or social leaders have used this idea, consciously or unconsciously. Most have also encountered two major problems based on a misunderstanding of power.
The first problem is the false association of power with control. This error is very common, and is the main reason so many people are afraid of the whole concept of power. Actually, control is just a technique, and not a very good one, for exerting influence. Control requires the threat or the fact of punishment to be effective, and the response to that is always fear and anger. Therefore, the use of the control technique sets up a natural resistance to its use. If you look at the surface of a situation the control technique may appear to be effective, either in a family or a police state, but the underlying resistance is constantly working to undo it. Even if the situation lasts for many years, the control technique will produce a very poor record of achieving the desired results.
The second problem is the use of power against something. Now, exerting influence induces change, and the universe has a built-in resistance to change that helps to keep it from falling into chaos. In all of existence we can see a constant interplay between the forces of change and resistance to those forces. We also see constant attempts to reduce resistance in order to make change easier, such as the path taken by molten lava, the shape of a raindrop, the structure of a palm frond, the strength of an elephant, the streamlining of an airplane, and the altering of a lifestyle. Very rarely do we see power used consistently and purposefully to get rid of something, except among humans. Some people are not satisfied with developing their own religious or political system; they have to make theirs the only one by destroying the others. Some people do not want to compete; they want to eliminate the competition. Some people do not want to cure cancer or heal the drug problem; they want to make war on them. The use of power to willfully oppose, subdue or destroy another power generates tremendous stresses which reduce the effectiveness of both.
"Power over" and "power against" are very inefficient uses of power. A far more efficient use is "power to." The former are inherently destructive, while the latter is inherently creative. Sometimes the difference is as subtle as an attitude, but the effects can differ vastly.
For instance, two very different approaches to healing are to treat illness as an enemy or as a behavior. If an illness like cancer is thought of as an enemy then that can lead to the thought of making war on it, and then treatments like surgery, radiation, chemicals, and x-rays are thought of as weapons for winning the war. In addition, any treatment without the power to suppress or destroy the cancer, or to reveal its secrets, is put aside as irrevelant at best, or a hoax at worst. On the other hand, treating the cancer as a behavior, or the effect of behaviors, leads to the thought that any treatment that changes the behavior of body, mind or environment may be helpful, and that could even include treatments that are weapons in the "enemy" approach. The biggest difference is that the attitude of war produces far more resistant stress in the body, mind and environment than an attitude of peaceful behavioral change. The result of that, naturally, is that in the latter, more of the power applied to the healing is actually used for the healing, and less is needed for overcoming resistance. This is simply an aspect of the physics of energy.
In nature we see abundant examples of rocks, plants and animals following the path of least resistance. We find it in humans, also, alongside what seems to be the practice of following the path of most resistance. However, the path of least resistance may be so glaringly obvious that it takes a radical shift in attitude to recognize it. A blade of grass apparently has the power to break through a slab of concrete, yet it clearly doesn't have the strength to accomplish this feat. But perhaps it isn't breaking through the concrete at all. Perhaps, using the principle that energy flows where attention goes, it is focusing all of its attention on reaching the sun, and it is ignoring the concrete completely. Perhaps, in the face of such a love, the concrete simply parts to let it through. And perhaps this same idea might be applied to our human lives. That is to say, perhaps the path of least resistance is the path of love. If this is so, then perhaps there is greater power and higher purpose in keeping our attention on what we want, and not on what we don't want; less on what we hate and fear, and far more on what we perceive as the highest good.