My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.
-Queen of Hearts
It is difficult to change. It seems easier to stay in place. But just try to stay in the same place and the ground will inevitably shift. Nothing is constant. Then with neither resilience nor reserves prepared we struggle to adapt to what we can no longer avoid. A comfort zone has a constantly contracting circumference. Though it may be so gradual as to be imperceptible.
Some brothers and sisters on the Red Road carry medicine bags close to their hearts. To the unacquainted these bones and rocks and assorted trinkets are perhaps of some sentimental value. To those on the path these are objects of power. These are instruments of mobility.
And to those whose path is not the broad, bustling byways of the consensual, power to navigate change outside the comfort zone is key to their independence.
Power can be stalked. But not power over others, or even power over circumstance. Rather power that lets us act with intention, choose our response, break out of the shell of limiting beliefs and dark gravitational wells keeping us from the world’s magic and infinite possibilities. Keeping us from walking ahead.
Gurdjieff once remarked that most of us cannot DO anything. To do something requires at least a limited amount of wakefulness. Which is not the same as mindfulness, but something more akin to a power to act. Without being awake, whatever we do is merely a predictable consequence of the what comes before. A billiard ball cascade of our limited experience and selective gullibility, playing out our habitual repertoires. We have little choice. We are semi-autonomous beings and usually more autonomous than semi.
So how do we stalk enough surplus power to do more than maintain our perimeters? How do we stop treading water and start going places?
While there are principles and lineages, it is an individual undertaking, and why medicine bags are such personal things. We each have different tumblers to spin to unlock the magic within ourselves and our world. And the reason for the bag is, even when we discover these combos, they are easy to lose or forget. Like the memories of a beautiful dream upon awakening. But reversed 🙂
Stalking power, for me, is a daily practice of reminders. I am forgetful. I know things intellectual that take a while to absorb into my being. I need repetition, especially with the obvious. But power can also be gleaned through noticing things during the day that exude power. Power we can partake of by catching it with our attention. Street omens. Sometimes as simple as an overheard word or phrase, the sudden appearance of a bird, or a sound or melody. A breeze against our face. Or a wisp of memory from deep in the past. Totems of power are strewn throughout a typical day like shells on a beach. Being present for them adds something to our energy field. Makes it more permeable to receiving even more. Stalking becomes a way we approach the day. To those who have, more will be given.
Stalking accumulates but guard how we give power away daily. Incessantly. Most of us leak personal power like a sieve so it’s hard to keep replenished much less build a surplus for free action. We have no reserves for doing much other than what we’ve always done. And will is a finite resource. But the more aware of opportunities to collect and the more careful we are in spending, the more power we can build and retain. And emanate rather than disperse. To spend a day stalking to build the currency of intention has different qualitative feels than a day of mindless automatism. To those who have not, more shall be taken. 1
My medicine kit ~spells~ help me remember and use opportunity wisely. Some of are simple statements:
“Stop saying things that make me weak.” This reminds me to speak with integrity. To know my intention, and assumptions, when communicating and assess whether they are beneficial. And whether it is better, as it often is, to abide with silence. And to observe, what I say to myself. Am I ally or enemy?
Using the eyes skillfully. Not hooked by desire, distractions, searching for validations like: approval, likability, respect, safety, etc. When I catch myself looking for something in the eyes/expressions of others, I bleed personal power by seeking the source through social engagement. Trying to find something missing outside rather than within2. This also goes for online, social media response or opinion. Which especially speaks to the precept above on integrity of speech. And abiding in silence.
Take nothing personal. Semi-autonomous reminder, in both myself and the action of others. How others react is not about me, and none of my business. It’s about their imprints on what my appearance or my behavior signals, triggers or represents. Remembering this, we sometimes realize how little we see of others, and they of us. How quickly we judge. A corollary: we are as free as we allow the freedom of others. Judge others, we imply judgments about ourselves. We give away hoards of personal power to yoke ourselves with an internalized consensus and conformity. For protection and security. To secure our position in tribal rankings. Time to change allies. More later.
Part of not taking things personally is not taking myself personally. It’s like a zen thing, dude. In the Egyptian afterlife, the newly dead are judged by weighing their heart against a feather. Most ways I weigh down my heart is through self-importance. As if shit happening to me were blessings or curses a swarm of happenstance entering or leaving, with fanfare or stealth, my small personal field. More potent for personal power is acceptance. Things come and go. Try to hang on to them or push them away at your peril. Acceptance is learning grace and lightness of being. To me, this often manifests in unclenching the body. A body is a koan3.
Death as an adviser. Don’t take anything anyone does personally — do take your own death personally. Get to know this, our most reliable and forthright friend, who never bullshits about what’s important in our lives. And usually instructive in ways we both discover and squander our personal power.
These are trinkets in my bag. Glad to share. I’m sure you have trinkets of your own, some you may have forgotten, until now. Happy hunting and Bright blessings
Force is very important because the Work says that to do any conscious work on our development, we have to accumulate it. If we constantly lose force up by becoming angry, being in arguments, taking everything personally and always being identified, we will have no force to work on our own development. Moreover, by always wasting our force we will be exhausted, find it difficult to do the things we have to do to get through the day, and have no force left for the things we want to do.
-Gurdjieff by Gil Friedman