Power is never taken, always extracted.
I’m talking about authentic power. The power to move people’s hearts with words, the power to pierce through thick curtains of despondence – that can’t be achieved. It only follows from the mightiest battle one will ever witness, either as a debased loser or a weary hero: the battle for self-actualization.
Many try to achieve that power through inauthentic means. They are under the wrong impression that self-actualization manifests equally for everyone; outspoken, intellectual, activitist, fist in the air, a la Che Guevara/ Malcolm X aesthetics.
While that archetype is sure invigorating to witness or learn about, it’s not what self-actualization means, any more than someone who appears to be religious is necessarily truly pious.
Self-actualization isn’t a course you go through that ends in fanfares, ceremonies, thank you speeches. It doesn’t necessarily culminate in toppling a dictator or overhauling unconstitutional laws. Or becoming a historical figure.
It’s accessing your innate authenticity that Allaah created you with before the world buried that in dogmas and cultural baggage.
The reason why self-actualization is a mighty battle is that to overhaul the very foundation you have built your life on, to remove yourself from the only crowd you know, to face the internal abyss of existential angst as a result of losing your footing in certainties- that’s as close you can get to dying without losing your life.
Now, the reason I said that self-actualization can’t be compartmentalized is because it’s like light; it depends on what’s emitting it, its wavelength ( visible or nah) and the surface it hits ( the electrons vibrate in reaction to the radiation and hence give off a certain colour).
The sun, fire, light bulbs, the phone’s screen light – these are different ways in which we perceive light. Then there are some forms of light we can’t perceive because of our eyes, such as body heat and jinn (ehrm).
Self-actualization is tapping into a universal force that is shared by all of humanity, and how that manifests depends on the nature of the individual.
Some individuals self-actualization manifests as artistic genius, others as carers like mothers and family men, and yet others as athletes. The way someone channels that authentic energy isn’t too important, but it’s what happens when someone can channel their innermost passions whether that is organizing the home or organizing a protest; they become fully alive.
The reason I’m explaining this is because I sense that when people become ‘woke’ they look at those who might not be interested or aware of the issues they are involved in as ‘sheep’. They see the level of consciousness they’ve supposedly reached as the holy grail. But that’s absolutely not true.
Not everyone finds joy in writing or singing or travelling or philosophizing or taking care of others. We are all on our individual journeys with fundamentally unique experiences and for as long as we’re alive, there’ll always be inner and outer obstacles we’ll struggle with.
Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
— Rumi (Marry Your Muse: Making a Lasting Commitment To Your Creativity [Jan Phillips] )