Principle of One Power—Part 8

by William R. Yoder on February 6, 2010

It may seem that it is always better to choose a both-and alternative over an either-or one. We strive to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

But you cannot believe in only one power and at the same time in more than one power. When you perceive anything that is seemingly bad, you have to choose whether to believe that it is really bad (i.e., an expression of some real power for badness), OR to believe that it is merely your temporary inability to see the truth of its underlying goodness. You have to choose whether to think that the belief in only one power is merely naive, OR is the most truthful and revealing belief choice possible. You cannot choose both.

This is not a belief choice that you make one time, once and for all. You are implicitly making it in every moment of your life. You may choose to believe in one power in one moment or one situation or one relationship, and then choose to believe in two powers in the next. You will know which choice you are making by how you feel.

It may seem difficult to seriously consider the principle of one power, when it seems that all of your current experience so clearly demonstrates that there is more than one power. As we said, we do in fact experience conflict and suffering; we do in fact experience our lives as an expression of two opposing powers. We experience our lives as a kind of battle between the forces for our well-being and the forces that would threaten or harm our well-being. From that perspective, the idea that there is only the power of love—a creative power for the well-being of all—seems to be just plain foolish.

Our beliefs define and determine both what we can experience and how we can experience it. So the real question is not so much, “what is my current experience, and what beliefs should I adopt based on that experience?” It is rather, “what beliefs are being reflected in and as my current experience?” And even more importantly, “what kinds of beliefs would be reflected as the kinds of experience that I truly desire?”

Any time we are trying to fundamentally change our experience, we will need to begin to believe and practice new principles that seem inconsistent with our current experience. And this is done in the faith that once we are actually living our new beliefs, they will begin to influence and change our experience. So the question here is: Are you perfectly happy with your current experience? If you are not, then you may find it necessary to consider new beliefs that are inconsistent with your current experience. Now, what may seem somewhat paradoxical is that it is only by actually living the new beliefs that you gain the experiences that validate and justify those beliefs. But, fortunately, you don’t have to wait too long. If you really keep your eyes open, each little step you take will be reflected in new experiences—seemingly serendipitous events that confirm your new choices and suggest the next step.

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