The more difficult our world gets, the stronger grows our longing for liberation. At the same time, since the distance between who we are and who we wish to be seems great, the possibility of acquiring special powers may seem enticing to us. More-than-human being might seem a little thrilling and inspiring.
The highest-grossing movies these days are not about humans, but about superheroes. Similarly, video games provide an arena for experiencing invincibility, where real pain and death are impossible. Many of us love these comic-book ideas and like to spend many hours in these worlds. Nevertheless at some point when we lift our head from the screen or the page we are left with the frustrating truth that we are not able to jump from skyscraper to skyscraper.
Our simple powers
What about our actual qualities? They are not necessarily superhuman, but they are the special powers we really have: Some have a green thumb, others are successful in nearly anything they begin. Still others are good at dancing, or cooking, or making others feel good. What are the special qualities you had as a child? Which are the ones you have now? We tend not to think much about these things, but the wonderful thing is that they are real, something to appreciate right now. If we look a little closer, we may even see things in ourselves that we envy in others.
What do you envy in others? And what fills you with admiration, joy, and gratitude when you witness it? If we look a little closer, we might see that others have the same human nature we have. In fact, some spiritual teachers have suggested to ask their spouse if we want to know how they really are. 🙂
It’s a wonderful thing to have a realistic view of oneself. If we can see what really is, how we really are, and what we really wish for, then we are at the actual starting point of a journey. When I ask myself how I’d like to feel and how I’d like to experience the world, sometimes I feel a bit frustrated, because what I would like to see is not always what is really there. But nevertheless I see some of the qualities I would like to see, and I have faith in the power of positive development.
Our own superpowers
If we simple humans could have superpowers, what might they be like? What if you had the power to instantly see through any delusion, or to instantly lessen any suffering? While people dream of physical superpowers like flying and walking through walls, most of us will find better luck through training our mind. Training our mind leads to greater acceptance of and appreciation for what is. It allows us to feel calm, clear, integrated, and authentic. We learn to see more clearly and to find beneficial ways to deal with any emotion.
If we look at how deeply entrenched we can be in a bad habit, engaging body and mind in negativity that will lead to even more suffering, and we see how the practice of meditation affords us the possibility of connecting, at any moment, to the deeper reality of our freedom from that habit, then we might begin to believe that meditation is a kind of superpower! If we know our mind well, we notice both subtle changes and strong reactions. With consistent practice of meditation we can experience more and more deeply the inner space in which everything happens. This is the space in which our spontaneous inner reactions appear and disappear, without needing to cause outer actions. Our power of choice grows.
With time we learn in an intimate way about our inner sensitivities. We can know them, understand them, and learn how to accept them in a loving way. We can develop a kind and peaceful acceptance for our human imperfections. This acceptance can become second nature—and as it does, we find that our inner enemies are disappearing.
The power of compassion
With an inner atmosphere like that we don’t tend to feel caught up in temporary moods and claustrophobic feelings. If we can notice and accept what appears in our mind, this is the doorway to compassion. Compassion sees clearly without condemning, and provides the heart-felt energy for beneficial action. This meditative superpower grows as we use it. As compassion grows, we automatically begin to show up more as the person we would like to be, both towards ourselves and others.
Following the good intentions and actions of compassion, we will experience changes over time that increase our feeling of space and freedom. And in this space and freedom, we naturally are more able to be ourselves—because there is nothing preventing us from relaxing into our true nature. Expanding into this space, we are not engaged in a kind of artificial self-improvement, but in the unfolding of our genuine human qualities, including love, compassion, wisdom, joy, and deep intelligence. When these positive qualities fully flower, what superheroes we will be. 🙂
I wish a beautiful week of December for all of you,