Here are some real-life stories and some snap-shot scenarios of situations that can face any of us, and how those individuals picked a ‘power' to deal with their problem. The stories feature the eight main powers and some other powers.
Managing a divorce by using the power to tolerate
My husband moved out of our home one week before I celebrated my 41st birthday. Six months later my three children left to live with him. My anguish and loss sky-rocketed just in time for my appearance in court for divorce proceedings. To state that life was a little over the top for me by this stage was to put it mildly.
My first lesson in detachment hit hard. Learning to detach from the pain and adapt to life alone after 20 years of family life devastated me. The divorce proceedings were horrific and people insisted I should fight for everything. The constant reassurance and support of a loving, understanding and patient circle of friends helped me to realise that I was an individual and a soul in my own right and didn't need to identify with those closest to me. They did not define me. This lesson took some time to sink into my thinking.
I opted for quick resolution of the divorce proceedings. Above all, I wanted to minimise the repercussions. Household items were not the bedrock of my world. I could easily start again. I had immersed myself in spiritual studies for some years before this eruption in my family life. Clearly, my life choices had precipitated this assault. But I stood firm knowing that my choices were best in the long run; I just had to weather this storm.
My philosophy studies researched the spiritual powers in minute detail: the power to FACE the reality, to ADAPT and ACCEPT the situation, to JUDGE what was right to do, to DISCERN whether I should do one thing or use a different approach, to CO-OPERATE with all those involved, to LET GO of what I thought was OK, to TOLERATE the pain of being alone, and to WITHDRAW to prevent further repercussions from prolonging divorce proceedings. I learnt about ‘karmic settlement': the longer-term payback for past misdeeds, maybe even in past lifetimes. They were coming up for review and re-balance quick and fast.
I had been working as an Occupational Therapist in a mental health setting for more than 30 years and was well versed in the full gamut of mind games. I saw how low self-esteem, defensiveness and irritability played out each day in people's lives. Even a small dose of discretion and tolerance acted as a balm during treatment and led to civilised and useful problem-solving.
Time and again I saw how respectful words and action built trust and friendship quickly. One patient wanted to smoke a cigarette. When a staff member told him to ‘control himself', he whipped into an emotional frenzy and lashed back at the co-worker. Observing this fury, I asked the co-worker to leave the room and spoke calmly and quietly to the man, reassuring him that I understood his angst and demands. Just this change of vibration alone brought him to stillness and calm. Being confident and assured, I could see how a few well chosen words reset the tone in the room. This discernment is a precious art, at work and home. More effective than confrontation and control any day! I knew that this was the path through the divorce too. Each actor in this movie called life was doing their best, the best they knew how. What more could I ask? Equally, I was doing my best too. My power to accept life as it is blossomed. —LE
Staying free from fear by using the power to decide
I needed a long rest. My work schedule had been hectic and life was overloaded. I needed some time out. My flatmate's loud ticking clock was a constant distraction for me. So I placed it under several pillows to smother the noise. She was at work all day… or so I thought.
In what seemed seconds, she opened the apartment door and raced inside to collect something she had forgotten. And check the time. I was discovered! Her clock was missing from its usual place. She fumed. I owned up and brought it out from under the pillows. This wasn't a good moment. She was furious to see that I had moved her clock. She shouted loudly, "Crazy people do stupid things." The barb went straight into my heart.
Suddenly I became aware of my inner image of myself... like a rabbit facing a predator. I was shaken by her tone and sense of invasion such that I shed all sense of self-esteem and value. I knew I hated conflict. And that I would run away from conflict with a passion, leaving people and situations just because of the conflict that was arising. I did not want to get mixed up in it. And here it was again…
But this time was different. Something awoke in me. Very slowly, almost unnoticeably, strength soothed me. I straightened up and calmed down, finding myself on the other side of the emotional turmoil and able just to listen. And not react. Not run away.
I was free of fear. Free.
Although my flatmate was still shouting at me, I was overtaken by an amazing sense of joy. I wanted to dance and celebrate. Luckily, I was sensible enough not to act on that and stayed centred and calm. I smiled and said nothing.
This moment taught me a lot. I saw how fear had been an issue with me for a long time. I could not face conflict because I was afraid of it. Conflict clashed with the image I had of myself. That meant I could never see the fear factor. But now I was able to face my fear. I wanted to study it closely so I could rise about the limits fear set in my life. I made it a focus in my daily meditations.
I started becoming aware that freedom had been my companion all along, just one thought away. The fear had cloaked my humour, intelligence, freedom and self-respect. It was now my duty to God and myself not to allow that to continue. Being able to face that fear made me a better person. The enemy was not outside or over there. No matter how much another person appeared as a threat, all responsibility to improve my life rested within me and my attitude. My tendency to create intense and dreadful emotions was my doing. My attitude towards behaviours and actions was my call.
Each past trauma has left a trace of fear and rejection. And this soul did not want to go back there! Instead of fighting fear, I now chose to go beyond it into a space of freedom accessible from inside me. I felt God was in that space welcoming me beyond the fear. My meditations shifted into this zone.
Life has a knack of teaching us in mysterious ways. We just need the courage to stay in the game. —VB
Coping with suicide in the family (power of good wishes)
My greatest test in life came in January 1997, when I was told that my 27-year-old son had taken his own life after a serious relationship turned sour. I hadn't seen this coming and went into instant meltdown: physical shock, mental turmoil, diarrhoea, mind in a spin.
After 36 hours, a dear friend counselled me, "You have so much power; now simply use it." These words penetrated my mental fog. For me, the lesson given in my meditation class about the eternity of the soul, its journey of karma passed from BELIEF to KNOWLEDGE to POWER. The power of truth transformed me from a physical and mental mess into a triumphant lady!
The contrast between the two states of mind had an enormous impact on me. Not only did the spiritual power work for me, but these powers also enabled me to remain strong for my two other (younger) children. Even though they hadn't grasped the full situation, they were able to come to grips with a tragedy from which some families never recover.
I sensed another power at work too - the power of good wishes. From the moment that this news reached my friendship circle, I felt the power of their good wishes. Their connection with the Supreme source of power gave me strength. I also felt that through these good wishes, the soul of my son was receiving divine help. —LS