My best friend Makan tells me, “Once you begin to accept how truly powerless you are, then you begin to realize how powerful you really are.”
He has been through even more shit than I have.
Truth is, even with all the self-improvement and spiritual wisdom in the world, many of us are not going to get everything we desire in life. No matter how wise or powerful we become as individuals, there is only a finite amount of variables we can control within our lives and an infinite amount of variables we cannot.
I have met garbage men who struggle to make ends meet that possess more wisdom than the middle managers of large tech companies who easily earn six figures. I have met the kindest souls that have never received the romantic love they deserved–the same love so abundant for others who have never truly appreciated it for a single second. And let us not forget that while we struggle with our first world problems, two billion have no access to clean water.
I want you to surrender to the chance of similar possibilities for your own life. I want you to imagine yourself in a world where the things you desire are completely unmet.
I want you to surrender to the possibilities of a world where you don’t actualize any of your material goals regardless of how pure or how altruistic your intentions are. Surrender to that possibility. Tell yourself that you will survive and thrive regardless. Should this fate actually befall upon you, I want to challenge you to remain committed to self-growth and living with good values anyways.
Uh oh. Did I just commit the gravest sin of law of attraction and ask you to manifest within your life failure and pain? What kind of self-improvement writer am I?!
To the former question, not exactly. Notice I said to accept YOURSELF within the condition rather than to accept the condition itself. There is a big difference. When you learn to accept and love yourself in the worst of conditions, you begin to understand how capable you really are. You get a clear picture of just how much potential you have. Besides, the second part is believing in yourself anyways.
I believe in the power of the law of attraction; that your thoughts manifest reality. However, I believe that more often than not, when practitioners attempt to apply the law of attraction, they go about it as a means of controlling future realities, as an accentuation of their own ego and insecurity rather than as a tool for self-empowerment through belief.
As a result, when beliefs get challenged or when crushed expectations happen, people fall apart. Self-identities become shattered. Entitlements lead people to commit atrocities or harm themselves. Characters become corrupted. People shut themselves out to alternative points of view and shun anyone who disagrees with them.
The power of belief does not come from the denial of alternative possibilities. The power of belief comes from the acceptance of alternative possibilities but choosing, based off our values and our purpose, to focus on the beliefs that serve us best. That is the power of accepting powerlessness.
The law of attraction should not be treated as a religion –belief or heresy. Rather it should be a tool of spirituality: knowing yourself and honoring yourself but living for a force greater than yourself.
Despite surrendering to the real possibilities that your life may not turn out the way you want it to turn out, you choose to focus on the one alternative and that it will work out because it is that alternative that is most worthy of your life energy.
You accept that life is no holds barred, anything can happen at any time. In midst of that, you believe regardless, choosing to focus your mental energy in a way that manifests the reality you want. You remain committed to that reality you invest in without being overly attached to it.
One of the most loving, most healthy relationships I have ever witnessed was one where the couple followed this very principle. After years of dating, the loving affection and commitment they show each is comparable only to new couples in heat. There is complete trust between the two, with no displays of jealous. Never heard them argue. The two were also deeply spiritual people and believed their love to be sacred.
When I asked one of them whether he believed in soul mates, I was shocked to hear him reply simply, “I don’t know. I’m not overly attached to anything. Things change.”
I had expected a sonnet. Instead, I got a lecture about non-attachment and impermanence.
Full commitment with minimal attachment. That is the simple formula that drives the most loving and healthy relationship I have ever witnessed. Surrender to all future possibilities with unwavering dedication to only one outcome.
We can all apply this concept to every aspect of our lives including our core beliefs. This very blog is a spirituality-based self-improvement blog. It is very reasonable that a highly logical person with a background that adheres strictly to data-driven research can challenge various aspects of my beliefs such as the law of attraction.
“It is a statistical anomaly”, they might say. “Everybody can believe but only the few whose visions actually came true will report it. It is like winning the lottery but the winners are heavily marketed.”
This is where a lot of other spiritual people I know who might get offended or discouraged. I recommend another approach, one that involves surrender and keeping faith anyways.
“Maybe”, I would reply. “I surrender to that possibility. But my way works for me. It works for my friends. It hurts no one. There are other deeper spiritual explanations I find more fulfilling and serve my purpose better, so I am going to keep my faith with it.”
The greatest power of surrendering to powerlessness comes out to play when everything goes wrong.
All the great heroes in history were made when nothing went according to plan.
Nelson Mandela did not manifest himself into being locked up in prison for 27 years and then using his voice to end apartheid.
Spartacus did not visualize himself into being sold to gladiatorial slavery and then leading the most epic slave rebellion in history.
Jesus Christ did not ask to be crucified. Malala Yousaf did not ask to be shot in the face.
We glorify these figures because they represent the best of our values under the worst of human circumstances. These are people that stuck to their principles and mission under the most enduring trials. That is what makes them so great.
Our lives, our stories, and our past are our responsibility to live up to. Sometimes our stories might suck even if we do everything right. And that is okay. The important thing is that in those moments of absolute suckiness, you stay true to your values because the payoff is always worth it in the long run.
Learn to accept yourself if you are given hardship and crushed expectations in life. Endure and keep your values in spite of them. Surrender yourself to all possibilities. Then you focus on the one possibility that best serves you and your mission and you believe like it is the only one available.