I first came across the idea of personal power many years ago while reading some of Carlos Castaneda’s books. Castaneda (1925 – 1998) was a Peruvian-American author. He was a student of anthropology and wrote several books as the basis for his bachelor and doctoral degrees from UCLA. He wrote in the first person – describing the years of his shamanism apprenticeship with don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian from northern Mexico. His books were very popular and also controversial. I still re-read a couple of them every year or so.
His 11 books have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages. Critics have suggested that they are works of fiction; supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness. I’ve long since given up noticing what’s fact and what’s fiction. Fiction comes from imagination – a much richer world than the world of fact. So, what difference does it really make when you get right down to it? Wisdom is Wisdom.
Here are a couple quotes from Journey to Ixtlan The Lessons of Don Juan:
“Power is a very weird affair. In order to have it and command it one must have power to begin with. It’s possible, however, to store it, little by little, until one has enough to sustain oneself in a battle of power.”
“Personal power is a feeling. . . something like being lucky. Or one may call it a mood.”
“Hunting power is a peculiar event . . . .It first has to be an idea, then it has to be set up, step by step, and then, bingo! It happens.”
“Trust your personal power. . . . That’s all one has in this whole mysterious world.”
I was thinking about personal power the other day and it occurred to me I am like a vessel. To the extent I know who I am, what I want, have found my courage, live authentically – we each have our own list – to that extent my vessel is filled with personal power. Maybe I’m completely filled, maybe only partially.
To the extent I am not filled with my own personal power – I have an empty space inside. The empty space inside sort of attracts the random energy out here in the world. Before I know it I can be filled with you, or an idea on the evening news, or an advertisement, or the opinion of a friend. You see, to the extent I’m not filled with and standing in my own power, I’m vulnerable.
I believe this is one of the mechanisms through which we lose ourselves. We have to have an empty space to begin with before it can be filled with something foreign to our being. And, when we are filled with our own power, we aren’t tossed about by the opinions and beliefs of others.
If you are ready to explore the idea of personal power, you might want to check out Journey to Ixtlan – its way out there – helps me expand my worldview, that’s for sure.
And, remember: “Trust your personal power. . . . That’s all one has in this whole mysterious world.”