In the eyes of the world – at least as it appears in our public pronouncements – power is synonymous with money and politics, sometimes singularly, but most often together.
And, like a lot of things we look more deeply at, there is some truth in that. Money allows us to do things and go places that we might not otherwise be able to. Political power – whether Politics with a capital P, or political maneuvers in our work or private life – can gain us advantage in those fields.
And then again, physical power is seen as important – and once again there is some truth – the power of a bully to impose his or her will on others gives them some degree of control.
By contrast, being powerless is seen as failure, as a weakness of character. If we have no political or financial power, or physical strength, we may be branded – and we may consider ourselves – as worthless.
And yet all of us, high or low, are a mixture of the powerful and the powerless. Even the richest person is powerless over illness and death. Even the most successful politician is powerless over how others see them. And the person who is strong physically may still be powerless over a simple emotion like love.
Maybe real power comes from knowing ourselves more fully, and accepting our strengths and weaknesses as they are.
If we have funds or political or physical power, this does not make us better than others, anymore than the lack of them makes us worse than others. This is because we are all unique, and all have a role to play.
Some play that role in the public spotlight, others behind the scenes. Some have one role to play throughout their lives; others change roles many times over a lifetime.
Whatever our current situation, be in high or low, landlord or tenant, proprietor or worker, we all have immense power. And we are all immensely powerless.
Maybe all of us look to find power where we can, but it is in the way we pursue it that we either add to or diminish our journey through life.
In looking for power at the expense of others we diminish ourselves, but it is in using the power that we have wisely and for the benefit of all that we find real fulfillment.
We are all have immense power because we are the only people who are us. May we use that power wisely today.