EMPOWERMENT 101: Lesson 1
Unplug Yourself from Group-Thinking
- By Christine Lynn Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, New Living Magazine
How do you come to your thoughts and opinions? Notice how I didn’t say your “own” thoughts and opinions. I bet that you derive much of your world view based on only two things and two things only –1. what other people tell you is true and 2. FEAR of being ostracized for not going along with number 1.
Now, you may consider yourself an intelligent person, well-read, discerning, cultured, with a broad, even liberal outlook on the world. You may even have a sense of personal destiny, like, you were meant to make a difference in the world. If your life goals are not so lofty, you may be OK just knowing you’re the captain of your own destiny, a fully empowered person evolving on a “spiritual journey.”
What does it mean to be a fully empowered person? Empowerment is knowing you always have a choice even if it means you are stuck in an impossible situation with no way out - where no amount of magical thinking will work (like “The Secret,” the kind that Oprah espouses).
Say for example, you’re standing in front of a firing line. I don’t mean your boss is getting ready to fire you, but an actual firing line, soldiers with guns pointed at you, ready to snuff your life out. It may or may not have been your fault how you ended up at this point in your life (taking personal responsibility for your actions is the topic for another article), but what you think before you draw your last breath is where the empowerment part comes in.
Realizing you always have a choice no matter what your situation is, how you face that firing line is still a choice – with great fear, anxiety and regret or great courage, peace and acceptance. Your choice and you’re still empowered. An empowered person is also not controlled by the status quo; there’s always choice to change one’s thinking habits with each situation.
Group think is the opposite – it tells you you have no choice in the matter; things are the way they are and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s what is meant by the status quo. Why do you think humanity has stalled and can’t evolve to the next level of consciousness? We can end all war and starvation in the world, cure cancer and subsist forever off the natural resources of the earth’s abundance - but not if we are chained to group think.
We know the history books are filled with stories of people who didn’t want to go along with group think created by their controllers, the power elite, the parasites who had a vested interest in maintaining group think and the status quo. The brave, or rather empowered ones, were called insane, heretics, martyrs, traitors, but time would come to embrace them as geniuses, pioneers, mavericks, heroes, etc…
So, I ask you, how empowered are you really? If you don’t care what others think, that’s good, but it’s not enough if you still accept the status quo. If you think endless war is wrong, but you have come to believe it’s necessary to stop terrorism, you’re plugged into group think. If you follow the presidential race and know 99% of the politicians running are sociopathic liars who will say anything to get elected, but you’re afraid to vote third party cause you don’t want your vote to be “wasted,” you’re plugged into group think. If you watch mainstream media and know deep in your heart you’re not being told the whole truth about crucial issues, but you’re still subscribed to your cable or satellite service, then you’re plugged into group think.
When facts are given to you that shatter all you know which is really only a fantasy world you have created for yourself based on what you were told to believe by everyone else, do you immediately respond with, “That’s crazy! Where did you get that information from?”
Do you automatically have an intense emotion – disbelief, shock, anger, disgust, repulsion, fear - do you admonish the messenger? Do you parrot some statement you heard an “expert” or news anchor or politician say without first checking the truth of that statement? Then, you are operating from group think. Are you a slave to fashion, technology, the latest fitness trend? Then you’re not empowered because you’re just a pigeon in B.F. Skinner’s operative conditioning box.
One of the most insidious examples of group think are those who think it’s chic to be environmentally aware, but do things that are in cognitive dissonance with their beliefs. How many environmentally aware people do you see with a bottled water in one hand and a iPhone in another? Plenty, or perhaps you’re even one of them. Bottled water is literally draining free water resources of third world countries as well as our own. It also uses a ton of petroleum to make the plastic bottles and to transport the finished product to market.
The latest iPhone or iPad or iWhatever you have in your other hand contains rare earth minerals that have caused the deaths of several thousand people as those minerals are located in the war-torn Congo while slave-workers in China have been jumping off the tops of factory roofs to their deaths due to abysmal working conditions. Just google “Congo conflict minerals” and 5 million links show up; google “Chinese workers committing suicide” and 7.2 million links show up.
Yes, I know, very un-New Agey to talk about all this reality – it is all about being spiritually aware, right? You really can’t be spiritually aware if you’re still being controlled by group think, nor can you help save the planet. Buy a faucet mounted water filter and carry your filtered water in a stainless steel container. Stop rushing to buy the latest iPhone, laptop or Xbox or at least call the company and make a big stink about how quickly the technology becomes obsolete a year after you buy it (this is called planned obsolescence and it’s intentional, designed to squeeze more money out of you and/or put you further into debt).
I know you can’t live without your cell phone or laptop. Instead of “occupying” a city, town or street corner, you can “Occupy Yourself.” Hold onto your stuff until it breaks or stops running efficiently and you may just save the planet and several thousand lives in the process. Don’t buy the b.s. that these companies create jobs; all they really do is create unsustainable products, plunder and pollute the earth, create endless wars/conflict and suicidal slave-workers.
Unplug yourself from the mainstream – the mainstream media, the mainstream “box” stores, the mainstream food manufacturers, the mainstream banks, the mainstream group think, group speak, double-speak – start making fully conscious choices, stop acting like a mindless automaton and then you will be truly empowered.
No matter how much you fool yourself into believing you’re an enlightened “constantly evolving being,” you can never reach the next level of spiritual awakening if you’re still plugged into group think. You’re just a pigeon in a box making B.F. Skinner look good at your own expense.
Christine Lynn Harvey is Editor-in-Chief of New Living magazine and is founder/director of the New Living Life Empowerment Center in Patchogue, NY. For more info, visit: http://www.newliving.com