Standing on our own feet
The secret is that we must stop trying to become who we think we should be and start listening to our true selves.
The Paradoxical Theory of Change
Those demands bring us to the paradoxical theory of change by Dr. Arnold Beisser.* When we stop trying to do our best and are really prepared to acknowledge and accept our survival patterns, we will find change is at hand.
This is not easy, since we need to surrender and have faith, which is hard for any person to opt for. Way too risky. But if we are capable of letting go of our yes/no conflict, our abhorrence, self-critique, and face ourselves instead of running off, if we dare to have faith that what is happening is right, then the energy now being sucked up by the yes/no struggle will subside and we will have room to breathe freely and choose where we go. This approach alone though, will not solve our problems.
The secret is that we must stop trying and start listening to ourselves. Creating solutions without listening to our inner voices will not do the trick.
A wise Indian in Native Wisdom for White minds by Anne Wilson Schaef says it this way: “Every problem the mind resolves, creates ten other problems. What we must do is listen to our heart and our soul.”
Roots and primal authorities
But can we? How do we listen to our heart and soul? Practically speaking, it means we literally have to take the risk of opening our hearts instead of navigating on our minds. Another paradox? Do we “have to” again? Yes, I cannot deny we do, but this time it has nothing to do with answering up to demands from the outside world. This is a matter of a holy quest, coming from within. Good thing about it is that we can’t be wrong, there are no grades to be given. We have a free choice: we either truly listen, observe and feel, or we don’t. Time and time again, same story. Listening and observing people who surround us, listening to ourselves, to nature, listening to the invisible world.
Cut the umbilical cord
Of course there are many ways to go about this, but the road starts with the fact that we are the child of our parents, who were children of their parents, and so on and so on. Whether we like it or not, we cannot deny our roots or primal authorities. No pears grow on an apple tree. We do have a choice though, whether we want to be a child forever, seeing our parents as beings who are or were not living up to our needs.
Or we can look with the eyes of an adult and see them as a man and a woman with their own lives with whom we can either connect or not. As long as we make our happiness or dismay dependent on them, we are not doing them or ourselves right.
If this is our attitude to our parents, then this is our attitude to ourselves and to other authorities as well. If we want to be free individuals, we must cut the umbilical cord again and again, stand on our own two feet and become who we are.
Not so simple, that’s for sure, but we can also look at this as an inviting yet sometimes hazardous adventure called life.
The power of authorities
To stand on our own feet and free ourselves from the fear of being betrayed and left alone, we must move out of the power game. And to free ourselves from the fear of guilt and punishment, we must become autonomous. Without authorities we can do neither. Authorities are parents, bosses, lovers, teachers, people made of flesh and blood, who seem to know better or have power over us because they possess what we yearn for. That is why they attract us and at the same time invoke fear. We long for their love, acceptance and recognition, yet there’s no guarantee our needs will be answered. What to do? Are we going to pretend we do not need them? Do we submissively wait for some miracle to happen or will we decide to enter the battlefield and step into the power triangle of omnipotence, impotence and the struggle for power?