October, 2010:

From Victimhood to Empowerment

We all are searching for a sense of control in our lives in order to have a feeling of safety and freedom.Losing control of life, one’s body and emotions can be a fear inducing experience. Any kind of trauma is experienced in that way and we all carry various degrees of it in some form.

I like to explore it here from a more shared existential point of view.

The sense of having to prepare and defend ourselves to unforeseen outside circumstances are at the core of what motivates most of our activities (even our spiritual search is often a getting away from what we don’t like). It is at the core of our survival instinct as human beings. This major existential fact gets mostly overlooked. Most of us are  too busy keeping life under control to explore these existential questions. Though it is exactly the fact of not having the time to look which keeps us on a merry go around. We just keep running, and it is not hard to see how this manifests all around us. What this mind set does is keeping us consistently in a fear induced, victimized position even if we aren’t quite aware of its undercurrent influence. So how can we jump of this merry-go-around of feeling at the mercy of circumstances?

I have experienced three kinds of stages of development moving from disempowerment to true empowerment. At first we are seeing no choices, then we are discovering choices and finally we are moving naturally to a kind of choiclessness.

So the first step obviously keeps us unaware and victimized, a place of feeling totally disempowered. As we are growing older and hopefully wiser and more aware of  our beleive system, we are starting to look for other ways of being and discover that we have choices in how we respond to life’s circumstances. Our responses are colored by our belief system and they create the way we perceive the world around us. We start more consciously to decide what is best for us, moving from goal to goal, realizing that ‘we get better at it’ as we focus more on our inner states.

We learn now even through quantum physics and hopefully through our own experience, that the power of thought effects our inner and outer circumstances. Some of these discoveries (like the movie “the secret”) are quite radical and hard to comprehend for some of us, but I think most people experience a sense of relief by knowing that perhaps we can wish for what we want and manifest it. We can change circumstances, by paying attention to our ‘inner’ world.

Both first two stages hold some kind of fear in its core, even though the second stage greatly enhances our life experience.

Within the third stage we move towards a kind of choicelessness. The enjoyment of the moment has moved to the foreground so that the outcomes are not the main focus anymore, but the quality of life in each moment has become central. As we are finding more joy within we naturally are loosing interest to continuously manipulate the outside world.  And strangely enough by truly not needing to change, change is happening in a more perfect way than we can imagine.

Therapy, mindfulness and meditation have a few things in common, some of them are that they are self-reflective and paradoxical.

Richard Hicner, a psychotherapist writes about the paradox in therapy:

“The only way to get to where you want to be is accepting where you are even if where you are is not where you want to be.”

In my life, changing outer circumstances never created a long lasting solution for peace.I don’t have the answers of how long it takes to ‘change one’s mind’ but I am passionate to explore ways for myself and with people in therapy to minimizing trauma and fear and maximizing peace within. It is a rewarding journey towards a greater sense of freedom and joy.