Kevin B. Burk, author of The Relationship Handbook: How to
Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life.
I have recently been struggling with extended bouts of impotence.
At this point, my male ego (and I do have one), insists that I make it abundantly clear that the impotence is of an emotional nature and does not in any way, shape or form manifest in the physical, thank you very much.
Iíve been experiencing these feelings of impotence as Iíve
been following the recent political events in the United States, specifically
the confirmation of the latest Supreme Court Justice, Judge Alito.
make it a point to avoid political discussion in this column whenever
possible. Itís not my field, itís not my purpose, and even though I suspect that most people who follow my articles share a similar political perspective as I do, I have no wish to alienate any readers who have different opinions. However, in order to explain the context for my feelings of impotence, I have to spend a few moments sharing my personal political views. As a disclaimer, I donít believe my views are any more valid than anyone elseís;
they are simply my personal views, and I have no need for anyone else
to agree with them.
In terms of my political
ideology, I would have to be described as a Liberal. A flaming one.
I also consider myself to be a Patriot, one who believes that being
an American bestows me with certain inalienable rights, liberties
and freedoms that are systematically being restricted. Officially,
I think Iím a registered member of the Green party (see above, re:
flaming liberal); and most of the time, I find myself voting against
certain candidates more than voting for others.
On one level, I am aware that this unprecedented shift in human consciousness is happening now; and that this evolution can only come through conflict and struggle. I understand that the next six years are unlikely to be particularly pleasant for anyone, that what is on the other side of this process is a world that does, indeed, work for everyone, and that I am only one of millions of individuals who chose to be here, now, at this time to assist with this transformation.
another level, one in which I find Iíve been choosing to spend far more time
lately, I am seriously considering whether or not I could put up with the
winters in Canada because I am tremendously afraid of what is happening to
this country. When I look at the current political landscape, the balance
in my Safety Account drops to a critical level.
beliefsóand I am aware that by affirming and clinging to these beliefs that this is the reality that I create (and I am in the process of investigating these beliefs because I do not feel warm and fuzzy about them)óare
that 2006 is a critical year. This year is one that offers several key
opportunities, several key choices and turnings in the path, not only
in the United States, but on a global scale. There are opportunities
that, if embraced, can limit the suffering that will inevitably accompany
this transition period in human history; if they are missed, however,
we will experience more suffering than is absolutely necessary.
I firmly believe that the Democrats failure to block the confirmation of Justice Alito to the Supreme Court was the first missed opportunity. It may or may not be the most critical one, at least as far as life in the United States goes, and I do believe that there are other chances in the very near future to adjust the perilous course of events. However, few Americans yet appreciate how fundamentally this radical shift in the law of the land will impact the fundamental freedoms they have taken for granted until now.
Iíve been following this process, mainly through the commentators and news on Air America and other progressive talk radio stations (Iíve long since given up on the mainstream media ever reporting the truth), Iíve allowed myself to become engaged, attached, upset, and even enraged. I felt the overpowering need to do something, to make my voice heard, and yet, ironically, my opinion wouldnít (and didnít)
make any difference. As I live in California, I am represented by two Democratic
Senators, neither of whom had any intention of voting to confirm this Justice.
Barbara Boxer seems to be one of the few people who remember what it means
to be a great Statesman (Statesperson?); she has demonstrated the courage
of her convictions when other Democrats have remained silent. Even Diane
Feinstein eventually remembered that she is a Democrat, and voted to support
the filibuster. I wrote and called both of my Senators, but since there was
no fight, no need to change either of their opinions, it felt like an empty
gesture to me.
I am someone who is predisposed
to have certain issues with authority, especially when I perceive that
authority to be autocratic, unjust, and unreasonable. Iíve been living in that experience a lot of late, and thatís where Iíve
encountered a growing feeling of impotence. A part of me believes that
there is nothing I can do to fix the system, to prevent an egregious
injustice from being committed, to protect myself, my family and my country.
my great horror, the only solution that I can see to this problem
is the premise of John Grishamís novel, The Pelican Brief.
I find this thought supremely disturbing because I consider myself
to be a peaceful, gentle and entirely non-violent person. (If you
donít know what the premise of The Pelican Brief is, Iím not going to cover it here. Iíll admit to having had these thoughts, but Iím
loath to put them into words or to directly express them here.)
As much as I want to believe that I would never encourage or in any way condone such action, when I allow myself to fully experience the feelings of impotence, I understand why one might pursue it.
Even though stating this, sending it out in emails and posting it on my website
will probably result in my phones being tapped and me being prevented from
getting on an airplane for the next six years, I now have a deep, personal
appreciation for why terrorists do the things that they do. In no way do I
condone, support or sympathize with their actions—or any act of violence against
another human being, for that matter. I do, however, understand why and how
a human being could be driven to these terrible and desperate acts.
have felt anger, depression, rage and frustration before, but for whatever
reason, the feeling of impotenceóof not having any poweróis the most devastating
experience for me. No other experience has ever caused me to contemplate
or condone violence against another human being.
Because I know that these conditions are lies of the ego, that they are not the
truth of the world or the truth of who I am, I do not have to stay trapped
in them. But I also appreciate that for many people, these lies are the only
truth that they know. And as much as I hate to admit or accept it, I know that
if that were my only experience of reality, if I did not know and aspire to
a higher truth, that I would be capable of acts of violence and desperation.
I can't imagine that I would ever be capable
of killing anyone under any circumstances—even in self defense,
I believe that I would rather give up my own life than ever take
the life of another person. However, the knowledge that under
the right circumstances I could be capable of accepting violence
as correct, proper and acceptable—or even that I, myself, could
ever resort to violence—is extremely disturbing to me.
My concern for the future is that more and more Americans will be experiencing impotence as they begin to realize the truth of what has been going on in our country and the world over the past six years (and indeed, for far longer than that). My concern is not only that we will see a dramatic increase in violent crime and gang activity, but that violence and acts of terror will begin to seem like acceptable, and eventually the only remaining options to middle class Americans. In a recent poll, over 45% of Iraqis believed that it was acceptable to attack American soldiers. If things do not change dramatically in this country, this belief will begin to take hold on our own shores.
of my personal spiritual path right now is learning how to be comfortable
with being uncomfortable. I have been exercising my AWARENESS muscles to
observe how I feel at any given time, I OWN those feelings, and then I CHOOSE
whether or not I need to take action as a result of those feelings. In the
past, I would react whenever I was uncomfortable or experiencing something
unpleasant, and do something to fix the ďproblem,Ē (usually involving food). Recently, Iíve
been choosing to surrender to the experience, observing it, noticing the
thoughts and perceptions that arise.
exploration of my feelings of impotence brought me into contact and dialogue
with that part of myself who is capable of violence. Iím not yet comfortable
with him, and I have not yet discovered the gift he has to offer me,
but I do know that having acknowledged that part of myself it can no
longer act out unconsciously in my life. I suspect that one of the gifts
he has to offer me is an expanded sense of compassion. I can no longer
dismiss terrorists (even those who currently hold governmental positions)
as evil, as wrong, as something other, because I now accept that under
the right set of circumstances, I, too, could be capable of violence.
Again, I do not condone, support, encourage or in any way wish
to associate myself with acts of violence or terror. But I now find myself
capable of feeling compassion for those individuals so victimized by
their beliefs and circumstances that they belive that violence is their
this article seems to be breaking all of the guidelines I usually
set for myself, Iím going to go for broke and talk about the ďGĒ word
Itís taken me many years to heal my own personal relationship with God, and for that reasonóand because I know that my experiences are far from uniqueóI assiduously avoid using the ďGĒ word in my writing and my workshops. Instead, I talk about ďSpiritĒ or ďAll That IsĒ and
encourage everyone to use those terms to connect with whatever
personal experience they have of the Divine. Following a spiritual
path is challenging enough without bringing religion into the
My personal beliefs are
that God is all there is. I no longer have a concept of God
being something or someone outside of myself. I believe that
the nature of God is Unconditional Love, and that everything
that existsówithout exceptionóis a divine and perfect manifestation
of God. For me, the ultimate objective of my spiritual path
is to release all beliefs and judgments that I have about
the world that separate me from the experience of this Truth.
God is all there is, all paths lead to God. I currently
belong to a Science of Mind community, which supports
this journey for me in all of its forms. Although Iím not sure that my parents understand this process, Judaism is still a very important part of my life; Iím simply exploring other paths that will eventually allow me to incorporate Judaism into my life in more vital ways. Ironically, Judaism has been more present in my life since joining this community, although Iíve
yet to successfully communicate this to my parents in
a way that they can understand it.
The New Thought movement (which includes Unity as well as Religious Science) embraces many of the Eternal Qualities of God, such as Joy, Unity, Peace, Love, Abundance, Wisdom, Balance, Beauty, Compassion and Harmony. The foundation of these spiritual movements is the belief that God is All There Is. And yet, I have rarely heard the whole of this truth embraced.
God is All That Is, than All That Is is God. ALL that is. Everything that
exists must, by definition be a divine, perfect manifestation of God. This
includes War, Sadness, Grief, Despair, Depression, Anger, Rage, Resentment,
and even Impotence. These too must be eternal qualities of God, although
we are quick to judge them and eager to avoid them. Even these ďnegativeĒ experiences
are paths to God.
I know this to be true, because when I surrendered to the experience of Impotence, I did, in fact, discover Compassion. I also began to reconnect with the truth that when I move through and surrender to the experience of Impotence, I create a deeper experience of the truth of the true Power that each of us embodies. The impotence I experienced was not due to a lack of Power; it was due to an attempt to use Force.
David R. Hawkins has blessed the world with one of the most important books
Iíve ever read, Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior I
urge each and every one of you to read this book NOW.
difference between Power and Force (in my own words, not Hawkinsí) is that Force comes from the ego, while Power comes from God. Power is infinite and eternal; Force is limited and transient. Power is Reality (big ďRĒ) while Force is reality (little ďrĒ).
Hawkins talks about a logarithmic scale of energetic vibrations, each associated with a different emotion and stage of Human Consciousness. The critical level in this scale is 200. Anything that vibrates at less than 200 on this scale is destructive; anything that vibrates above 200 is life-affirming and moving towards enlightenment and truth.
At the time of publication in 1995, Hawkins asserted that the fundamental vibration of Human Consciousness had only recently risen over 200. This was the first time that we were no longer in danger of destroying ourselves and the planet.
The reason that I was able to reconnect with the truth of my Power while surrendering to the experience of Impotence is that I remembered that the vibration level of my thoughts, my choices, my life is of vital importance to the human race. The point scale that Hawkins uses is logarithmic, which means that even a one point increase is an exponential increase in spiritual awareness. This is the reason that even though so many people on the planet live their lives in the below-200 realms of shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride, their vibrations are offset and ultimately raised by the minority of individuals who live their lives at the levels of willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy and peace.
In fact, according to Dr. Hawkins, one person who chooses to live with optimism and non-judgment of others offsets the energy of 90,000 individuals vibrating at lower energetic frequencies. The numbers get even more impressive the more we integrate love, peace and gratitude into our vibration and our lives.
I know the truth that my life, my thoughts, and my dedication to my own spiritual path make an essential contribution to the world; and as I know this to be true for myself, I also know it to be true for everyone.
donít understand the big picture, and Iíve found that Iím much happier when
I give up my belief that I need to know the big picture. I no longer need
to know how things are going to look in my life.
What is in front of me now is a desire to explore and understand God by being willing to experience, accept, embrace and surrender to the less pleasant experiences and emotions. While according to Dr. Hawkins, these emotions certainly vibrate well below 200, Willingness, which is the energy in which I embark on this journey, calibrates at 310, so I choose to accept that my explorations and experiences will continue to support the elevation of human consciousness and the dramatic, and ultimately wonderful, evolutionary shift we are experiencing.
One thing that I do believe is that we must all become engaged in the reality that we create. Spiritual practice in whatever form it takes for you, personally, is essential. If you are motivated to become active politically, do so. If you become angry or frustrated at the state of the world, let that be your call to AWARENESS. Experience it, and then OWN it, and CHOOSE first to replenish the balance in your Safety Account (use the Present Moment Awareness Safety Exercise on Page 48 of The Relationship Handbook) and then to take action in whatever way resonates with you, personally.
One of the ways that the Religious Science community is supporting this effort is by observing A Season for Nonviolence. Inspired in 1998 by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this 64-day period from January 30th through April 4th is a time to experience the truth that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and our communities.
Even as I choose to surrender to my own journey, I also choose to hold the truth
that each and every individual on this planet is a divine, unique, essential
and perfect expression of God, exactly as they are now. I know this to be true
for myself, for you, for President Bush, for Justice Alito, for Barbara Boxer
and Diane Feinstein, for and for every human being on this planet, regardless
of their actions and choices.
All paths lead to God because God is all there is. I know that the more I am able to release my judgments and beliefs that this is not true, the more true it becomes for me. And I know that the more deeply I experience the Truth of God, the more deeply that Truth is experienced by the rest of the world. And I know that since the Truth of God is Unconditional Love, Peace and Abundance, that when the Truth of God is experienced by the rest of the world, we will at last have manifested the vision of the Global Heart and have created a world that works for everyone.
The God in me beholds the God in you. Namaste.
Kevin B. Burk is the author of
Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every
Relationship in Your Life.
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