"The best slave is the slave who thinks he is free, and the greatest fool is the fool who thinks he is a wise man. "
"The best slave is the slave who thinks he is free, and the greatest fool is the fool who thinks he is a wise man. "
At the heart of most self-help and wisdom teachings you will find the concept that we have complete power over ourselves. While we may not have power over our environment, we most certainly have power over how we react to our environment. Let's explore this.
People know the basics of stocks and business. You buy low and sell high. If a stock is at $10 a share and it's going to go up to $100 a share then you buy it at $10 and sell it at $100. You don't buy it at $100 and sell it at $10 otherwise you would have lost a lot of money. We buy low and sell high.
Now building on this principle we also can say that a good investor makes money in any market. If the market is down they invest to make money when it goes up. If the market is up they invest to make money when it goes down. They take their current situation and make it good. If everyone is saying the economy is bad then they look for the good opportunities. If everyone is saying the economy is good then they still look for the good opportunities.
To a skilled investor or businessman there is only good. There isn't a market or circumstance in which they can't find a way to provide value and make money.
And this brings me to my main point. It's like this in our everyday lives. The investor is simply an example. The greater truth to this is our everyday lives and our everyday choices.
We've all heard the saying when life hands you lemons make lemonade. It's a great saying because it is hitting on a very important and spiritual message even if we don't immediately grasp it:
It's not the event or situation that matters, it's how we view it.
One of the core components to all spiritual teachings is that we create our own reality. And there are a lot of things we can learn from this realization. The one I'd like to focus on here is that we have the full ability to view our reality as we see fit. We can view things however we want to view them.
We could take 2 people viewing the exact same event and they would both view it differently relative to their perspective, or more correctly, consciousness. People view reality relative to their reality. And a big difference between those people we admire and those we don't is how they view reality.
All we have to do is look at a few quotes from athletes and leaders that we respect to see this point:
"Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation."
This is a spiritual quote. This is the kind of quote and living that makes for kings. Look at what is being said. Turn a negative situation into a positive situation. He is talking about an ability to change a situation. You aren't bound to any situation. You have control over your reality. You can change it if you so choose.
"When you have tough times, and when you learn you can't be perfect in every situation, it's hard to accept, you know, because I still do expect that. But you just have to, because, you know, it's not about the situation. It's how you deal with it. You always have a choice."
"The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it."
These are the attitudes of winners -- these are the attitudes of peace and joy. It's not the situation that matters. It's how you deal with it. You always have a choice. They're talking about how we all have choices. We choose how we respond to events, the event doesn't choose how we respond. Even if we don't like the event we have a choice to find the good in it. We have the ability to look past the bad or to use the bad to our advantage.
We may see somebody born poor and say they're at a disadvantage. But a truly wise poor person would use poverty to their advantage. A wise poor person would use the resources they have available to themselves to their advantage. They would work with what they do have. And you need nothing but yourself to grow. A wise poor person would use the struggle of being poor as a way to strengthen themselves even stronger. Being poor isn't bad, it's a state of being. Being poor is beautiful if you work with it and view it from the perspective of appreciation and creativity.
"To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness."
This gets into being in the moment. This gets into living in the now. And I think to a large degree the depth you take this is determined by the depth of spirituality you are willing to operate within life at. Eckhart Tolle wrote the book "The Power of Now" which talks about this very concept. We're only a victim if we choose to be one. And most people choose to be a victim because it appears to be the way out. But it isn't. Playing the victim only makes you more dependent and more powerless. Unfortunately, many people have not the discernment to see beyond the illusions of what they call bad and invariably give their power away.
There are quotes upon quotes of people we admire talking about this very concept. We know it's true. We know that we have choices over how we respond to reality. We know that we can change how we view any situation -- we just don't practice it. We know it but forget it. We need to make it a part of our everyday lives. We face many challenges every single day.
We need to change from a victim mentality to a power mentality.
I've always loved kites because they take something I really do not enjoy much, the wind, and make it into something useful and fun. I even wrote about this quite some time ago. This is what making lemonade out of lemons is all about. This is what I mean when I say there are no bad situations, it's only how you view it.
Another example of this is martial arts. In almost all martial arts they teach how to use the energy of your opponent against them. This is basically taking something "bad" and turning it into "good". The bad is their punch. The good is taking the energy of their punch and continuing it in your direction or countering and using their out of position move against them. The bad is somebody throwing a huge jump kick at you. The good is you taking that huge jump kick and taking that momentum to throw them to the ground even harder.
I trained in martial arts for like 10 years and this was one of the core teachings, and interestingly enough, one of my favorite teachings. We learned that fighting was much more than just a physical sport. The mental aspect to the game is just as much, if not more, essential to fighting than the physical aspect. Knowing how your opponent operates and finding how to break rhythm or break balance is a staple towards successful fighting. This is precisely what I am talking about here.
Now this of course gets a bit deeper. There is more to it than simply the surface level view of this. From a spiritual, energy level we build what we put energy on. So this now gets into how if we have a positive view of things we are going to build around this positive view. And likewise, if we constantly see a negative view of things then we are going to build around this negative view. We get what we put energy and time into. If we focus on and see all the bad in things then we will get more of it.
If a serial killer puts time into and plans how to kill the most amount of people then they are going to build around that. If a serial killer puts their energy into this desire then it will grow. This is how it works with anything.
If a child puts time into basketball and immerses their entire being into basketball then they are going to grow this desire. They are going to become a better basketball player and attract all things basketball to themselves because they are putting their energy on it. This is the way the universe operates at an energy level. It's the law of attraction.
We need to understand it doesn't just stop at the immediate level of changing the reality we have in front of us, but that the reality in front of us is also a result of the very consciousness and energy we have been building into the universe our entire life.
The choices we have made and what we have put our time and energy into has also led up to where we currently are.
It's a cycle and an ever churning vortex which goes off of our previous energy as well as our current energy. This whole thing is about power and how we direct our power. It has effects in the now and many of those effects in the now are a result of actions and desires of the past. It's a feedback loop. The choices we make now determine our future. And if we view our situation now in positive light we build a positive future.
I know what you're thinking. Okay sure, in most situations this makes sense and is fine and all. But surely not every situation is a good situation. What about somebody who is being tortured to death? What about somebody who is going through immense physical pain for no fault of their own and for the simple reality that somebody finds pleasure in the suffering of others? What about truly evil people who kill others with no rhyme or reason?
Well, I think this is where we need to broaden our perspective. I'm not just talking about this from a physical level. I'm not just talking about this from the perspective of this single, sole life. I'm talking about this from a spiritual perspective where we have encountered and will encounter many lives with many experiences all for the purpose of evolving our consciousness.
And I get that many people don't talk about this stuff or even share this view but that's unfortunate because it is a missing key that sorts out many of the contradictions people see in this life. If we could just open our perspective a bit more we could really begin to see how all things truly do work together for good. If we could open our minds up a little bit more we could understand that there is a much more accurate and loving perspective than the simple, narrow one we view now.
And in this regard I think Jesus is a perfect example of both knowing this and showing this. Let's see what Jesus has to say on the matter. And BTW, for those who don't know I'm not some Bible thumping Christian. I'm not a religious person but I'm also not naive enough to not see the value in many of the teachings of religion.
This clip from the Passion of the Christ illustrates my point very well. Take note especially at 2:45.
I think the crux of all this is:
"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
There is a really important truth being revealed here. What he is saying doesn't apply to just Jesus -- it applies to everyone. Nobody has power over you. Even if they kill you they still don't have power over you, your consciousness lives on. What happens happens. There are lessons and experiences to learn from and to grow from with all of this. Had not the experience of a tortuous death been something for you to grow from then you most likely would not have built up towards it with your energy. Therefore, no matter what happens in this life, it doesn't hold power over you when you truly live in harmony with God and your higher self. Jesus is showing this. He gets it.
Not everything in this life may be what you consider good. Not everything in this life may be what you consider fair. Not everything may be what you consider just. But it isn't about just this life. And it isn't about trying to control this one life. It is about controlling your consciousness.
It is about having power over your consciousness and living without fear.
It is about living in love. This is what loving your enemies truly means. This is what forgiving people for what they do not know truly means. This is precisely what Jesus is getting at in this part and it is powerful because he truly gets it and it's way above everyone's heads.
To 99.99% of people we're never going to face some type of torturous death. Instead we're going to face having our feelings hurt, having things not go our way or having somebody do something we don't approve of. So what? We can't control others. But we can control ourselves. We can control how we interpret and view others. We can control how we react to our environment. If Jesus and people like him could handle a tortuous death don't you think we could muster the attitude of having power over the situation from a higher level? Don't you think we could view it with understanding rather than ignorance?
Unfortunately, very few people are hardcore like Jesus which is why he's the example rather than the norm. We can all respond to our environment the same way Jesus did if we choose to, however, through our ignorance we choose not to.
So with this said there really isn't such a thing as a bad situation. If something is bad and tough that's a learning experience. If something is good and easy that's a time to use momentum behind us and really expand. There's no such thing as a bad situation. It's all relative and how we use it.
Rather than complaining about our circumstance and playing the victim we should instead be like a martial arts fighter and use everything to our advantage. Everything is a data point to merge into our current paradigm. There is no bad, only a unique constitution for something. How we use that is up to us.
If something is "bad" or we are negatively reacting to it then you can be assured that it is something you can learn or grow from. If things upset you it is because you allow them to and haven't learned how to temper them not to upset you. You haven't learned how to be indifferent to negativity. You haven't learned how to take away the power things you don't like have over you.
This is the basis of most self help. This is what having power over yourself is all about. We all have 100% power over ourselves, however, most of us choose not to exercise it. There is much value in the situations that we call bad, it's just that most of us are too blind to see it. We need to be like the skilled investor and businessman with life where no matter what life throws at us we find an opportunity.Filed under: Personal Development, Only Good, Changing Your Perception, Body Armor For Life, Buying Low and Selling High in Life, Letting Go of Fear, Growing Up, Making Lemonade With Life, Becoming An Adult, Putting on the Big Boy Pants