We believe we can get control, but we do not believe we have control so the jungle rules take over. Gregge Tiffen (To Know Another, Know Thyself – July, 2008)
As I gaze out at the world beyond my door, it seems to me that the jungle rules aren’t serving us very well. I think about the concept that we are in this world, but not of it as it relates to how I experience daily life. The man we know as Jesus taught that we are not of this world and it seems that he lived his life from that belief.
What, I wonder, might life lived from being in but not of the world look like – individually and collectively? Would we feel the powerlessness that seems rampant in our world? Would the boiling anger we witness daily (and perhaps even feel ourselves) cool down? Is the angst and anger in our world rooted in our separation from knowing and using the personal power that we have each been given as individual units in a vast, indeed infinite, Universe?
Perhaps ‘taking back’ our power is not about grabbing it from outside of us, but rather a series of ongoing opportunities that each of us has to individually learn to use the power we’ve been given. Perhaps this is what Gandhi had in mind when he encouraged his followers to be ‘being the change’ they wished to see in the world.
As I bring my idealism down to ground level where my own opportunities to engage in this learning live, I find myself humbled, challenged and inspired. I’m humbled when I catch myself judging others and engaging my thoughts in how to control. I’m humbled by how subtle ‘control over’ appears, sometimes masked as ‘understanding and collaboration with’. I’m challenged to be aware before I step on that path, and I’m inspired to find another way.
Although I don’t need to look much beyond my own nose (there is plenty of opportunity right here!) I see this struggle played out on the world stage. We’ve come to believe that things (money, weapons, water, fuel, relationships, and more) have power and we look beyond ourselves to others and to ‘the systems’ for answers, for protection, and to provide what we need. We are angry when we discover that the price we’ve paid seems to be our freedom.
All around us systems are failing. Perhaps their crumbling is because we have given them so much of our power. To our peril, we’ve come to believe that they are life. We see the rules of the jungle playing out in an effort to continue the illusion that ‘control over’ is the path to freedom. At the same time many understand that such control is mutable, fleeting and that (s)he who has control today will be the oppressed of tomorrow.
What kind of world will we create when we slay the bounds of the jungle rules and understand that true control is the power within?