August 1, 2011, and the last week of July brought one of the most amazing displays of failure to behave in a disciplined, dispassionate, responsible manner in the arena of political power and mandate to govern.

As I use these words, I mean: disciplined: self-controlled, within a set of rules; dispassionate: freedom from passion or bias, and responsible: answerable, accountable.

Without the interplay of this trio how can any decisions be made, or actions taken, that begin to look beyond personal immediate needs, fears and discomfort?

It occurs to me it is not just our politicians. If they are representatives of us – that is we are all cut of the same cloth – then where in our everyday lives do we fall short?

I just read an article where the parents of a 2yr old who likes to go to McDonalds could not refuse her. She is on track to become one of the too many obese children that we raise. I know people who know they shouldn’t spend their income that barely stretches to cover necessities, on unnecessary clothes, but do it anyway.

I have observed students settle for study outcomes far less than they are capable of, and to engage in behaviors that stunt healthy, risk-taking growth. When our youth disconnect from the urge to stretch and grow, when they engage in activities that belittle, confuse and separate them from their own power, how can we expect disciplined, dispassionate responsible adults?

And in my own life I admit the relationship between my egos’ needs and those greater than that, my bias and the facts, can be a little tenuous.  Often that which I am supposed to ensure is done and that which I actually so, is separated by a chasm!

So what is it that interferes with the capacity to behave as I think most of us fully intend to? Why is it that we lose our self-control, succumb to passion, and pass the buck to others?

It happens when we are feeling particularly powerless, when our sense of being a valuable, recognized human being is at a dis-embodyingly low level. A paucity of pride in Self leads to a desertion of that Self as she/he lives and moves in the world.

Because, after all, why go to the effort (and often discomfort) to behave in ways that can be difficult if you think you are not worth anything? The effort itself requires a level of disciplined, dispassionate responsibility.

It is surprising how any smear on your vision of Self as empowered and worthy can reduce you to precisely that which you fear. When you give away your empowerment, let others decide your power for you, you are indeed powerless.

Power resides not just in physical manifestation of free action and location, but more powerfully and deeply within. When we allow ourselves to be victims both in attitude as well as perhaps in physical fact, we have ceded our soul to another.

There are those individuals whom, regardless of the loss of freedom, desertion of wealth and health or in the face of direct challenge to their right to be at all, somehow retain their personal power.

Last night I watched The Way Back, a movie based on a maybe for real book. Regardless of the ‘truth’ or the ‘facts’, the reference to human capacity for rising above their circumstances is real. In this movie a group of men escaped from a Siberian gulag, leaving the horrific confines of an inhumane prison, and suffering through the unimaginable challenges of the wilderness to arrive at freedom of the geographic kind.

Throughout it they were confronted with and met the opportunity to also expand their personal freedom/power. By overcoming greed, selfishness, and fear in order to act for the well-being of all in the tiny band, each of them was enlarged in some way.

One character called it kindness. It can also be recognized as disciplined, dispassionate, responsible. Making choices and then actually following through with actions that place yourself in danger, or require you to forgo personal gratification to care for others, is the most empowering stimulant you can find!

So when politicians engage in behavior that appears to be wrapped in the cloak of personal dereliction of duty, evasion of actual decision-making and ugly bouts of name-calling, I also observe this.

Loss of power and control in the physical sense triggers episodes of knee-jerk, power-grabbing, self-distancing behavior. As the very real issues and changes come closer and closer, so those charged with ‘keeping us all safe’ and those who have handed off that charge to others, all suffer catastrophic meltdowns. If you can’t see the answer, if it requires behavior and attitude to which you are unaccustomed then you panic.

There is hope. There are avenues out of this terrified, selfish, narrow morass. Disciplined, dispassionate, responsible people do exist. These attitudes and ways being can be learned – uncovered.

One of the most immediate and easily accessible means by which to experience your power is through direct engagement in the arts. Creating art, particularly the performing arts, requires the participants to be disciplined, dispassionate and responsible. Theatre is a  collaborative endeavor, arising from the energy of each individual, and is only as powerful as the power that each brings to the process.

I believe that the power arising from our souls and within out hearts and minds, is the God-head, Creator, the Great Spirit.  We are each first and foremost responsible to our own Self, to manifest the potential that we hold within. It requires that each of us is disciplined, over-riding the ego’s fears and embracing the greater power of which we are part.

The dispassionate being, exercising an objective non-attachment to outcome, is most able to see and understand, offer compassion (possible only when you can put aside your own passions), take action and follow through.

Choose to be one of them. Claim your personal empowerment, manifest your Personal Magic and in doing so, empower those around you. Then, run for office!

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