For more information about Sadhguru, please visit www.ishafoundation.org
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an international speaker, author and peace advocate with profound spiritual and cultural insights on health and human potential. He addresses over 500,000 people annually at his public forums. Sadhguru is a realized master and yogi who has practiced yoga since age 13 and authored four books on the essential nature of yoga. Sadhguru has synthesized the science of yoga into a dynamic program that allows people to restore and maintain optimum health and inner balance.
Through his books, columns, articles and interviews aired and published in a host of international media, Sadhguru is considered an authority on yogic science whose teachings help people gain an inner understanding of the issues and events that happen to themselves and the world around them.
Sadhguru is founder of the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization advancing physical, mental and spiritual health through yoga and self-transformation. The Foundation administers over 100 yoga centers, an ashram, residential complex and medical center in India, and conducts public programs around the world. His humanitarian initiatives for world peace and his outreach programs for Tsunami relief, prisoners, children and Action for Rural Rejuvenation in India are examples of his determination to improve the human condition for all people.
Balance of Power
By Scott Masterton
“With great power comes great responsibility Peter” (Uncle Ben Parker to Peter Parker/Spiderman), Amazing Fantasy#15 (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
As human beings, each one of us is endowed with a portion of God’s powers. We use this power every day to create everything that we experience, see and feel. As a species human beings are, for the most part “mind identified”; what this means is that we believe ourselves to be our thoughts and so we are slaves to what Zen Buddhists call “the monkey mind”. The monkey mind flits from fruit to fruit, from tree to tree; it’s interest and attention in a constant state of flux. Take ten minutes watching the random flight of thoughts through your mind. Literally write down all the thoughts that appear in your head and you will have just a taste of how utterly bizarre are the workings of the mind. Our brains simply generate thought; labeling and categorizing, working from all that it has: memory of earlier actions. Oddly, the brain can only remember. Even fantasizing about the future is really just taking a memory of a past action and outcome and projecting it into a place in the future. The mind is a monkey, so it’s not surprising that that’s how most of us use our spark of Divine power. We create haphazardly and the world that we witness reflects that disorder and random insanity.
If we are not our thoughts then who are we? The secret is contained in the above paragraph: I am the ‘I’ that watches the random thoughts. We are the silent, unchanging witness that has been there as far back as we can remember and beyond. This is the ‘I’ that we must get in touch with in order to manifest consciously and create the world that we would most like to see.
Power is a dodgy thing at best. It can’t be taken, but it can be given away. We give it away every day to “terrorists”, “foreigners” and any number of people that don’t look exactly like us; “If not for______ the world would be a better place,” or “If only there were no ____ in the world…then there would peace.” But this never works. Because in embracing our belief that the power is ‘out there’ we continue to manifest “villains” who are just scapegoats for our own misdirected power.
As tricky as it is to see how we ourselves create and empower “demons” it is even harder to see that the “Angels” that we create can turn our own power into a hell directed back at us. How often has each of us relinquished our power of discrimination to those who appeared angelic? Doctors, ministers, gurus, yoga teachers and Karate Sensei…even the most loved and trusted people in our lives: ‘Eros’ or that ‘falling in love’ phase of a relationship is really not love at all, but a projection of divinity and perfection on another. Most of us can remember the time when we first noticed that our “perfect love” was anything but perfect. In deeply unconscious people this first realization of the humanity of our partner can be the end of a relationship as they again start looking for their “soul mate”, a person that will somehow be absolutely perfect. Not only is there no such person, the searcher never gets the opportunity to love another human being flaws and all; they never learn the true beauty and divine power of what the Greeks called Agape, unconditional love.
All individuals that are perceived as “special” (negatively or positively) can be the recipients of our power. Almost all of us have done this at one point or the other and most of us do it off and on through out our lives. Done consciously this is completely innocuous, even helpful to growth. However, conversely (and possibly even more dangerous to our growth and happiness) is when we allow others to give their power to us and do not shine the light of our consciousness upon it. In my view, we have one collective purpose in life: to awaken to what’s real. Allowing others to project their power onto us and then using that power to fulfill our own desires and/or needs is violence far greater and more damaging than any physical form of violence that we can perpetrate. What is more the action of allowing projection of power pulls both of much more deeply into the unconscious.
As a young karate teacher I was asked by middle aged fathers how to raise their teenage sons, kids that were only three or four years younger than me, (I think I told him to have them do pushups); I was propositioned by divorced mothers who projected their power and desire on me and young, teenage girls looking for father-figures, more of than not confusing this need for an absent father for a more “adult” relationship. All of these things are projections of power. In a less obvious way, when we give away our power we are the girls in the front row screaming for Elvis…except that “Elvis” is standing right there in front of us and the temptation to make him ‘mine’ is almost too much to bear. As “Elvis” it then becomes my responsibility to awaken and remain awake. If I am conscious (and I have to admit that as a young man I wasn’t always as conscious as I should have been) then that person giving away his or her power learns intuitively to “own” that power and sees his/her own “Elvis” persona within; this raises the consciousness of both of us. However, ff I am unconscious, if I believe what others project upon me… if I start to believe my own press the situation becomes inherently abusive and ultimately creates suffering for both of us and pulls us into a destructive dance.
Beware of making an infallible ‘god’ of those that you admire but be particularly wary of allowing others to make of you a god. As Spiderman’s Uncle tried to tell him: “With great power comes great responsibility”. In truth we are all Spiderman and it is inherent upon us to use our tremendous powers for the betterment of our world and our fellow humans. This we can only do by remaining awake, present and continuously vigilant of when we give away our power and when we allow someone else to give us theirs.
Scott Masterton is a sixth degree black belt in karate and former United States Kickboxing champion. He has written numerous short stories, articles and opinion pieces. He’s been nominated twice for a Pushcart award, one for short fiction and the other for non-fiction. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, poet Kristin Masterton. Scott is passionate about writing, teaching martial arts and yoga and watching his four children grow.
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