Power is a malleable, invisible, infectious and multifaceted energy component that has a life cycle. Power generates a quantum field, which has the ability to grow or reduce ideas depending on the DNA (Dominant Narrative Association*). Power has the capacity to energise and de-energise at the same time. Human beings have a special connection with ‘Power’. Power can be both internal and external, it can be manifest and hidden. Power is one word can can mean several things at a time that can be both articulate and confusing. It is one word that can cause wars and deep human transformation. Power is evident and is felt like the heat of summer and the winter chill, you can sense its presence. If we name it, it may give power or take away from it, so there is always a negotiation happening with power. It keeps our heart beating, keeps us alive and it can also kill us. Every interaction with self or the other has power present. People can be born into power and thus may have unearned privilege and access to power. Sometimes people born in oppression and disempowerment can rise to have power. People who remain in power for too long can have power blindness that narrows their levels of empathy and perspective.
As a coach, leader, human, your insight into your relationship to Power is of extreme importance and has moral, ethical value to it.
Symbols of Power:
-Body type, Language, Race, Rank, Economic status, Type of car you drive, Clothes you wear, Brands you use, People you associate with, Spaces/Geographies you have easy access to etc.
Interaction with Power:
Humans and many animals since birth learn to associate and strategise their relationship to Power for survival. In initial years it means access to resources like food and security where the power is seen to lie with the parent. As the child grows the child is able to re-negotiate the terms and access to resources and comfort and may have shared power. However movement is always towards access to power. All this intuiting, sharing, understanding the dynamic of power is constantly learned and unlearned as the child grows into adulthood and happens through a process of ‘meaning making’. Symbols of power are introduced at an early age by social narratives and underpinnings of- what is felt, what is said, what is unsaid and what meaning is derived about the dynamic that co-exists. Usually the goal is for the child to have power as the child comes into adulthood. All behaviours and relating is learnt with respect to power.
Impact of ‘Power’ and its lasting relationship to ‘Self’:
Our relationship to external power dictates our relationship to our internal power that sources ‘Self’. Power has the capacity to both inspire and harm ‘Self’, E.g. You may get inspired by a leader and thus perceive them to have more power and in the process start seeking their validation that ends up disempowering you. The understanding of corrupt power, oppression and its manifestations helps us learn more about who we are as an oppressor and as an oppressed. It helps us learn about our agreements with Power. Also when we see power we could give away our power. E.g. Someone entering their CEO’s cabin with jelly knees.
Our agreements with Power are complex, fluid and depend on our experiences, personal symbols and continual meaning making:
-I want power, I will do anything to be in power, I will be compliant to power, I will rebel where I see power, I will negotiate with power, I will always associate with power and move towards it, I can see toxic power and I will rebel against it, I have enough ‘self’ power that helps me stand against any corrupt power, my ‘self’ power depends on the type of power present etc.
Remaining in observation of power, its interaction with self, its ability to influence, its ability to inspire and corrupt are all important for creating a systemic understanding of Power and thus helps us come from a space of awareness and sometimes a space of choice.
*Dominant Narrative Association: The association that we have with the dynamic dominant narratives running in the society, that can be seen in the collective unconscious as themes and symbols. E.g. When you see a picture of a wife serving a man on table, or an advertisement with many women wanting one man, there are gender biases being created in our mind about who has the power.