Power. This word evokes so many meanings and emotions for people. Just think about these common phrases:
- They are in power.
- She was power hungry.
- He abused his power.
- I feel disempowered.
- We want to empower our employees.
- She has legitimate power.
- The power structure is obsolete.
Power plays out in all arenas of our life because it is based on the relationship between people. Whether it’s in our homes, our businesses, our communities, or our countries, there is an orientation to power –namely who has it and who doesn’t.
Power can be seen as a positive strength (e.g., “he used his power to accomplish great things”) or a negative construction (“those in power oppressed the masses”).
But there is really an important distinction to be made about power and that’s this. When we really have it, we don’t need to wield it.
Have you ever noticed that those who are most focused on wielding their power are the ones who are the most insecure? This is true from bullies on the playground to grownups who abuse their spouses and “leaders” who oppress others, whether it’s in corporate boardrooms or the halls of government. People who harm others are always playing out their own wounds.
Now don’t get me wrong — those that wield power in this way can certainly do harm, and in fact, we are surrounded by the evidence of that everyday. But what we are really witnessing is the acting out of people who are not in their authentic power.
Authentic power comes from a deep inner place — the soul. In fact, Gary Zukav, author of Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power, says that “authentic power happens when your personality is in service of the soul.”
Those of us who are on a spiritual journey know this. We know that when we are connected to the Divine within us, we are peaceful and live in a space of gratitude. Our hearts open and we can see and feel our connection to everything and everyone around us.
In this space, it is literally impossible to engage in wielding harmful power — the kind that subjugates people, animals or the environment to a “beneath” status where it becomes okay to use or manipulate others for gain. Because doing so would not only harm another being, it would harm us as well by virtue of the connectedness of all living things.
Power itself is not a bad thing. It’s the source of the power that determines whether power does good or harm. When we live our lives from a place of being in true service to the soul — in other words, in service of the Divine as it is expressed in/through each of us uniquely, then our small, human ego takes a back seat.
It no longer needs to define itself by being bigger, or better, or badder than others. Those needs fall away because we are actually part of one, grand collective.
Now, I’m not saying that we should allow those who are wielding negative power to go unchecked. It’s actually very important that we speak out. But I am also saying that it is important that we focus our energy on stepping into our authentic power. The more of us who can do this, the more we can guarantee that our classrooms, corporations and countries are in the hands of those of us who get it.
Because you see, a revolution is happening and we need to be part of it. It’s vital that we not only be part of it but actually lead it. Marianne Williamson said, “humanity is heading toward disaster and those of us who are spiritually awakened need to step up and start leading.” If we want to live in a world that is conscious and kind, it’s our job to create it.
This is what it means to be a conscious leader.
So let’s get started!