“And in the end the love you take
Is equal to the love you make”
A cross, a picture of Mother Mary. A book, a sword, a piano, a gold coin. A Buddha statue, a statue of lovers entwined. These are some human symbols which open doorways to stored power if we choose to walk a particular path. The power and protection we inherit in these paths is equal to the millimeter to the sacrifices we have made along these paths, the power we have stored there for ourselves. It is our generosity, our patience, what we’ve shared of ourselves. The hours we’ve practiced archery, the floors we’ve scrubbed, the poems we’ve written, the loyalty and sacrifice we’ve given our family, the mercy we’ve given our frenemies and the money we’ve given a bum. We share it freely with others and it is there when we need it.
We gain power most rapidly through meditation and (significantly) less so from conventional habit. This power can be dissipated, used or stored. We store this power through giving, doing, creating and, in the process, associating it with a symbol and in this way may come to revisit and share an opening to this power during the Bardo of Life. This sort of power, used for its highest purpose, is ultimately a corollary to prajna or insight. Insight in the relative world itself is of no universal value as the entirety of the universe is unknowable, but stored power may be used or directed in a manner which is helpful (or harmful) throughout relative existence.
When we look at our lives we can see pretty easily where we are wasting power and where we are gaining and storing power. Cutting off the things that waste power and continuing the things which accumulate power is something we try to do to the degree that we are able in our lives. Developing the wisdom to use this power wisely is another matter.
Because the accumulation and storage of power is relatively straightforward with meditation practice, the focus of our attention should be on wisely deploying power. Conventional awareness scatters this power through judgements, vanity, confusion, competition and unending desires. The true self understands how to use this power to reach a place beyond power’s reach and is always steering us in this direction if we listen. This listening is not intellectual but rather intuitive.
If we misuse power for vainglory we run the risk of creating large and dangerous karmic loops of which we will come to know both sides. If we misuse power for purposes of domination or manipulation it will be even worse. Some are good at accumulating great power but squander or dissipate it through confusion before it can be used. Others are good at accumulating great power but wasting it on endless samsaric desires which are temporal and ultimately of no or negative value. In this life, “He who knows what is enough will always have enough.” Seekers accumulate and surrender power to the Self in order to attain greater levels of being – those that encompass ever wider perceptual realities.
It is this tantrically transmuted spiritual power which is used to attain enlightenment, full comprehension. In this way, power and insight arise together naturally and cannot be separated. “Mindful amongst the negligent, highly vigilant amongst the sleeping, the wise man advances like a race horse, leaving the jade behind.”