Principle of One Power—Part 2

by William R. Yoder on December 26, 2009

The principle of one power is the foundation for a way of thinking that allows us to experience deep and lasting happiness.

As I said in my last post, the principle of one-power is simple. There is only one power—not two powers, not three powers, not several powers, only one power.

This power is not neutral, like a battery. The one power of this first principle is love itself—pure, unconditional, perfect love.

So that’s the first principle, the foundational principle which holds together this entire system of thought that can radically transform our lives:  there is only one power, and that power is love. This core belief is a key to happiness, because if love is the only power, there is nothing that can threaten our happiness. As A Course in Miracles so elegantly expresses it, “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Therein lies the peace of God.”

At first glance, however, the principle of one power or love seems inconsistent with our experience. We actually experience contrast and difference all the time.  This difference often is experienced as a conflict between two powers: a power for good and a power for bad, a power for our benefit and a power for our harm.  Moreover, to say that love is the source of all things seems overly idealistic and unrealistic. What about all of the suffering we experience—the lack, the conflict, the fear, the sickness and deterioration, the wars and economic recessions? All those things that limit or threaten our happiness? Things certainly don’t seem to be expressions of perfect love. Obviously our new belief system can’t simply ignore our actual experience.

But as we explore these ideas more deeply, we will discover that our underlying beliefs may be the real cause of our experience of suffering, rather than some external reality made up of forces and powers that are threatening our happiness and well-being. In particular, the primary cause of our experience of suffering is the underlying belief that I call the belief in two powers (i.e., the belief that there is more than one power). I say “underlying,” since for the most part we are not aware that we hold that belief at all.

The belief in two powers is perhaps the most pervasive belief in human thought, and it seems to sneak in everywhere. It is so pervasive that it is not often even recognized as a belief at all. It is merely presumed that the existence of two powers is simply the way things are. The belief in two powers is the belief that there is more than creative love at play in our lives. It is the belief that there are other powers and forces that threaten our happiness and well-being, whether intentionally (such as other people trying to harm us) or unintentionally (such as germs and viruses making us sick). It is the belief that these other powers and forces can cause us harm and loss and suffering, and we are, at least to some extent, at their mercy.

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