True Power Does Not Come From Within

Question: What is power?

Michael Richardson-Borne: When everything is your own existence while nothing is yours– that’s power. When every being is the self and every continent is your own consciousness– that’s power. When the mind is noticed as a flickering campfire on the bank of a bottomless cave– that’s power. When the body is no longer independent from the world and there are no others– that’s power. Non-separation is power.

On the flip side, separation is immediately disempowering. Even if one is identified with the feeling of “I amness,” this baseline of interconnection is disempowering in its separative stance if it has not become “I am not, the beingness is.” Identifying with labels and limits, a name, a body, a nation, a religion, a relationship, an economic status, is to the detriment of authenticity and is counter to the truth of your natural state– which is non-separation.

This weakening by accumulation of labels and limits transitions power to definitions composed by the separate self. In separation, power is associated with the body and mind (physical, intellectual, relational) and objects that people associate with maintaining the body and mind (money, access to networks, education, etc.)

But these definitions aren’t describing power– they’re describing varying lifestyles of unconscious force. When the separate self believes its movement to be self-authored, there are desires present that the mind interprets as needing a certain amount of force to satisfy. Enduring the tension of fulfilling these desires and constructing a life that can more easily negate the tension of obtaining what is considered desirable to the separate self is force mistaken for power.

In separation, there’s a frenetic energy, a hive of tension fixed on the survival of bodies, the survival of ideas, the survival of separation. Even the people screaming for peace and unity do so from a place of force– still identified with the separate self. Perpetuating this narrative of separation keeps our society weak and needy. It keeps our culture violent and forceful. It silently disempowers all that it touches– keeping “American” people unknowingly seeking power that is unobtainable as a separate self.

Q: What is the difference between power and force?

MR-B: Power is action, force is reaction. Power is not separate, force is driven by separation. Power is impersonal, force is attached to the personal.

When I say force is reactionary, separated, and personal, don’t forget both power and force are lived from the same source – power exists as separation but can not be known in separation. The pathways that lead to the arising of power and force are experientially different.

In separation comparison of objects to a background story of the self is total. There is no other option but to give this narrowed experience one’s full attention. Unintentionally ignoring what is aware of the separate self is the only truth and creates a tension of being that many spiritual paths call suffering. This tension of being requires force as the primary means of functioning as desires and attachments are the priority of one’s existence.

In non-separation, the same process happens as a means of trying to gain attention– but the separate self is no longer the full background. Now, the separate self also has a background of its own, one of awareness that is not separate from the foundational relaxation of being, one’s natural state. This turns the separate self into an object, one that is no more or less significant than any other object that appears in awareness. This awareness, impersonally lived, is non-separation.

Remember that in non-separation the relaxation is within the tension. In separation, the tension is within the relaxation. Power is a permanent peace within the tension. Force is a permanent tension within the truth of relaxation or peace.

Q: “POWA” is MIA’s anthem to the people about tapping into their personal power and taking on the political powers that be. This is most obviously stated when she says, “throwing up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower,” an in your face reference to taking on President Trump. I can’t stand Trump – how does the average person support artists like MIA with her mission?

MR-B: When you say “tapping into personal power,” what do you mean? Do you mean tapping into a higher level of self-authorship that can lead to greater resistance to an opposition? Or do you mean tapping into awareness in a way that reveals the impersonal?

Q: Greater resistance to an opposition.

MR-B: The long term value of separative resistance is a common short term misconception of the rebel archetype. The belief in self and other is an assumption that sets up the fictional chess match of protest and rebellion as carried out by the separate self. In separation, we are all just the other half of an infinite number of problems that the separate self is not equipped to solve, or even interested in solving because real solutions mean its own death.

By remaining attached to separation we are all participating in the same delusional existence as Trump. Playing on the field of separation guarantees the separate self will win the day in one capacity or another. If not his separate self, then yours– and either way, the rule of separation continues.

Artists will be admired in some sense for speaking out against this administration. But these kinds of artistic statements are translational replicas of all of the protests that have come before. There is nothing transformational about them. The truly transformational lives in non-separation. No matter how many middle fingers you can throw at the White House (or how loud you shout or how smart you plot) it will never be powerful and lasting unless you are firmly rooted in reality and can point the way for your fellow travelers to see through their own separation.

To “take on Trump,” one must leave the personal behind. Or at least properly situate the personal within one’s awareness. This is the power protesters are looking for. We don’t know what arises when a collective realization of non-separation develops in this country. But every word I speak is an invitation to find out.

When the truth of non-separation becomes obvious to all, when there is no reaction to be had to the insults aimed at the separate self, when the soul is laid bare, the whole of separation becomes a stranded fish flopping on the river bank gasping for air.

The only true resistance is the same as it’s ever been– finding creative ways to invite all people back into the water we’re already in (and, in fact, are), to remember the river of our pre-existing unity. To swim in the impersonal. To surrender to the swimming of non-separation.

Q: It’s a common saying that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Why is this the case?

MR-B: When you give absolute power to the separate self, it corrupts your real being absolutely. This is all you need to know. What this looks like in the world of the separate self and its definitions of absolute power and corruption is well documented but does not concern you. Know the self to know absolute power and see how corruption transforms immediately.

If absolute power is the self, then according to your quote, the self corrupts absolutely. When it comes to the world of the separate, this is absolutely the case. This is what artists like MIA are searching for– true freedom from the separate self and the norms of a sick society confused by separation.

Q: Late in the song, MIA takes a shot at pop stars Rihanna, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Ariana Grande when she claims she is not like them. This is a power play. What do you think she is trying to accomplish by saying this?

MR-B: Not only does she say she is not like them, she says she is not them, period– a statement that assumes a separate self and is just as divisive as the implied ineptitude of the people and organizations mentioned throughout the song. It would be one thing if there was an underlying invitation to non-separation. But, as it stands, what was intended to be an invitation to protest and subversion is a tepid battle of personality and point of view stuck in the separate.

When the mind is exposed to the power of the impersonal, the personal becomes a repository for a softened dream. Stop focusing on separation, the things you think make you different, and begin loving as the life you are. Compassion stems from knowing that non-separation is revealing things as it will– and these revealed forms are you in your totality. What you previously called love was a type of division. What you previously called revolution was a type of division. Non-separation understands the personal is born from the impersonal and that both lead to a pre-existing unity that is the authentic foundation of our global civilization.

Inviting this last point to be understood by the masses is the only rebellious act that would qualify as revolutionarily significant.

Q: Where does power come from?

MR-B: Most people today claim that true power comes from within.

But what happens when there is no longer a separate self in possession of a within or a without? Where does power come from when the separate self ceases to tyrannically divide the world into constituent parts with the results taken as high dogma?

Q: Probably not from within.

MR-B: Right. In non-separation, how can it?

Ask yourself where consciousness ends and the outside world begins.

If you find a point of division, then power can come from within in a world of separation. If you find no points of division, then true power does not come from within– it is always already present with no need for separation.