Letting go of the power sucks

“The truth is revealed by removing things which stand in its light, an art, not unlike sculpture, in which the artist creates, not by building, but by hacking away.”

Alan Watts


Everyone wants to be stronger and more powerful. And these days, a lot of us have a strategy for making it happen. Our most typical approach is to do it directly, through physical training and by developing the knowledge and strategies that make us more effective in the world. We build our power by, well, building our power.

It’s all good, but there’s also a flip side to this whole enterprise. That is, we can also increase our power by removing those things that get in the way of our strength and our skill. In this practice, we act as sculptors of our mind-body-spirit experience; we create by eliminating the unnecessary things that weigh us down.

Of course, there’s lots of baggage that we carry around with us, baggage that inhibits our ability to be strong. These are the attitudes, ideas and beliefs that distract us and displace our ability to function effectively. These things act as power sucks, drawing away our energy and our ability to enjoy the beautiful adventure. They obscure our view of the world and inhibit our ability to see clearly.

Opinions vary of course, the list of classic power sucks usually includes things like resentments, bitterness, anger, blame, hatreds, hostility, complaint, grievances and expectations.

At the root of it all, the victim orientation sucks away our power right at the source. When we adopt the role of victim, as many of us do, we spend our days blaming perceived perpetrators or wishing for salvation from rescuers. In the process, we simply perpetuate and deepen our weaknesses. By attributing all of our woes to outside forces and agents, we effectively give away our ability to function in the world.

And so, the burning question. How do we relinquish these power sucks? How do we let go of all the baggage that inhibits our ability to be strong and powerful in the world?

One short answer is meditation. By training our attention, we learn how to relinquish unnecessary thoughts, images and negative emotions. In this practice, we reverse our effort. We turn our conventional flow of striving upside down and start letting go of those heavy, onerous weights that we carry around with us. We relax, we forgive and we let go of attachment. It’s not always easy, of course. After all, many of us have built entire identities and world views around these very things.

Above all, we adopt the creator’s orientation and take full responsibility for who we are and what we’re doing in the world. We are the authors of our behavior and our trajectory. This may feel like a burden, but it actually works the other way. The more responsibility we take on, the more powerful we become.

And we don’t even have to pump any weights.

Although that would probably be a good idea too.