Each of us knows the feelings of sadness and joy. We have all experienced pain. We have desired and grown attached to certain things; and we have hated or feared others. We have known haughtiness and pride; and very likely we have suffered humiliating defeat. These are the shades and textures of consciousness which indicate that consciousness is shared, not isolated and alone. Violence is endemic to society: child abduction, sexual murders, school shootings, armed dialogue between husband and wife. So also are charity, brotherhood, loyalty and friendship. These things do not occur isolated in time and location - they manifest among us, as humanity, where ever we exist. It is difficult to put blame on a murderous villain, when hatred lurks just beneath one's own indignation, betraying one's complicity to humanity's faults.

This is consciousness - our consciousness - hate and love are not owned by anyone. You cannot put a fence around it and charge admission to love. Prostitution and divorce courts are not about love. Love cannot be arbitrated nor can it become a "utility" of the market. Nor is it a strictly human trait. Haughtiness and pride are maybe strictly human. In our haughtiness we may write poetically and sing about our wondrous love for another, but we reduce the affection of another specie to instinct. Love and loyalty are clearly visible among many species; as is fear. Fear is clearly visible as response to one of us. It is from haughtiness and arrogance that we casually take the life of another being, human or otherwise. And yet, when you observe closely - when you think about it - these other beings have exactly the same consciousness you do. They know pain. They know fear. And they know love. Love is not owned by anyone; it exists solely to be shared.

You cannot gain power as a person until you recognize this. Until that time, you are merely wreckless, engaging in whatever momentary impulse directs your presumed inner soul to commit whatever good or horrendous thing. Taking power as a person means being inner directed from a source or center with honesty and integrity. Until such time, one is duped. You may think that you have performed such and such, and that you acted intelligently. Odds are, you did what you thought others expected of you in a determined fashion; or you were driven by a vague impulse to prove some equally vague thing, creating mayhem and disaster in the process. Your love may be attachment; your contempt, envy. Until you know what you are working with, you will not know how to work.

Power as a person begins within mind - the consolidation of mind: attention and intention. One cannot master any subject or engage meaningfully in anything without the use of these. Attention contains both concentration and diligence. Diligence is necessary to call the mind back when consciousness slips away again and again after any number of distractions. Intention contains motivation and courage. Courage is a little stronger than confidence which is also surely needed. But being a free person will often mean standing apart from the crowd: going against the stream. Most people, I think, lack such courage. They have confidence, surely. They can stand up within a crowd and take control or assume an intimidating or strong position. But this is not the same as what we mean here by freedom. Freedom does not need to control others. Freedom does not ask permission. Freedom is the power of one's mind.

Motivation is the direction of that power. Without motivation, activity is reflex; speech is meaningless chatter; thought is discursive. To speak of a person as an individual at all requires that this vast complex of impulses, processes and ideas we normally call 'self' has some unifying principle or directive. Survival is a natural impulse of life, but not sufficient to self. Self requires a meaning greater than perpetuation of self, greater than life. Status and wealth are not sufficient to self; these things come and go and cannot sustain a unity for self. 'Self' strives to know God, if not to be one with God. This is the power of freedom, the power of mind: to strive to know and be God. This inner directive is as close as we can get to an actual self, and yet - at the same time - to approach there, to pursue that intention, is to transcend that self.

Freedom of self is very much freedom from self. To stand apart from the crowd means having no concern for what others think about you. Courage very much means having no concern for success or failure for 'self.' Diligence to attain one's goal requires infinite patience in the face of countless obstacles, which present themselves again and again long after you thought you were through. If you depend upon reputation, on what others think, attachment to success or fear of failure, you are attached to self and not at all free. Freedom of self must have an intention greater than self. It must strive to be more than it is, or what is thought to be. It must push the envelope and thereby win its freedom: freedom from itself.

And so, behold the person: a free and powerful being. An inner directed being, motivated not for something as small and restrictive as its self, but an expression of the creative power in all of us unleashed. And what would such a being be motivated to do? What might he or she accomplish? Would he or she be successful in business, in love or in the community? Perhaps. But perhaps not in the usual meaning of success. His employees might be happy and productive; her husband fulfilled; their community might be friendly and charitable. These are more likely the successful outcome of such a person's motivation - an intention that transcended 'self.'

It is argued then that what we normally call success is just selfish. What we call power is dependence. What we call freedom is a prison. We are caught in the snares of these images before others, trying to get the best of the other guy in his trap. And not seeing, by so doing, we merely manipulate ourselves. How long will the rat in his Skinner box want another pellet? Wouldn't he prefer to be free?