It is the power that upholds the quest for basic survival; and empowers each of us to be a Soul Artist
—to make of our life an authentically inspired masterpiece.
We cannot always choose our circumstances, but Inner Power allows us to choose our responses to whatever circumstance befalls us. It is the ability to recognize and take responsibility for our choices, including how we decide to experience joy or suffering.
It is the power to invoke drala, a Tibetan word offered by Shambhala teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, meaning "to experience basic goodness in yourself, in others and in the entire world.”
Inner Power is Spanda (creative, vibrational energy). This energy pulses from the Universal Source into our very cores, integrating us with our own strength and intention. Then it vibrates from our cores back out into the world, expanding our minds and opening our hearts to the infinite potential of this life experience.
Inner Power allows us to overcome the maddening grief of seeing others suffer.
It is the same power that gives us wings to transcend our own suffering.
We are ONE through the force of this power, and through this power we experience Inner Peace.
So what is Inner Peace?
Perhaps Inner Peace is more easily defined by what it is not. Inner peace is not dependent on any outside circumstances. It is the flower that arises from the fertilizers of both suffering and joy.
It is a peace that passes all understanding, but resides in every human heart.
Viktor Frankl, who wrote of maintaining peace and power through the Jewish Holocaust said, “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Yoga philosopher, Patanjali told us about santosha or “the supreme joy” that arises from appreciating what you have. From my experience, santosha is cultivated through mindful awareness and meditation on the interconnectedness of all things. It is found when you see that "there is the potential for sacredness in every situation" (Trungpa).
There are many people, we can look to who have served as inspirations for this practice. From all different global societies, walks of life, and faiths, there have been those who provide testimony to the importance of forgiveness and gratitude for nurturing one’s inner power and therefore, inner peace.
Immaculee Illibagiza is one such inspiration. Having survived the Rwandan genocide is a miracle. Having survived the Rwandan genocide with a forgiving and grateful heart is grace.
The grace that Immaculee embodies after such a horrifying struggle, is a grace of choice. How did she choose it? She realized that the alternative is suffering; that the choice was hers to make. Once she realized her Inner Power, she could experience the shelter of inner peace, even as she witnessed the extreme violence all around her. Over the course of three months, while hiding with seven other women in a tiny bathroom she meditated on forgiveness and gratitude. She was unable to move her physical body, but she was in constant prayer. Even knowing that nearly her entire family had been brutally murdered, she woke every morning thanking God for her life.
It wasn’t always easy. In her book, Left to Tell, she recounts the struggle and the active choice she made to find peace within her own heart.
Viktor Frankl gave us this beautiful quote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Yoga and meditation practice help us to recognize the space of grace, so that we are able to choose our own responses. In this way, we are no longer a slave to our circumstance, but free to co-create our life experience as a Soul Artist in the flow of Grace.