The Five Spiritual Powers

I have spent last Summer searching for the way back Home to that sacred place within myself. And I’ve found it.

Sometimes we need a physical distance from our everyday life; from its noises, words, events, people, children, mates, household.

Every woman has a specific place – physical or psychic- and for me this year “the place” has been a Buddhist Monastery (two to be honest! But this is another story for the future…).

And so I went. To Plum Village, France, where the great teacher Thich Nath Than resides.

I got in touch with Vietnamese Zen Buddhism for the first time in my life, and I loved it.

But the thing is, Buddhist or not, we need to know that we live in a society which has imposed a concept of “Power”, not leading to happiness, but to the opposite.

As Thich Nath Than writes:

“Our society is founded on a very limited definition of power, namely wealth, professional success, fame, physical strength, military might and political control”.

Society basically calls “power” things that in Buddhist terms are “cravings”: cravings for wealth, fame, sex, control over other people.

He suggests that there is another kind of power, a greater one: the power of transforming ourselves, our fears, our afflictions and anger, the power of being happy in the here and now, no matter what.

This true power is built up upon five aspects, the Five Spiritual Powers:

  1. The Power of Faith: faith in the fact that YOU CAN, you have the capacity of transformation and healing.
  2. The Power of Diligence: making the point with ourselves on a daily basis, through a practice, it can be meditation, prayer or whatever suit us.
  3. The Power of Mindfulness: being aware of what is going on within us, recognizing things as they are.
  4. The Power of Concentration: that is – when you drink your tea, just drink your tea – don’t drink your concerns, thoughts, projects and so on.
  5. The Power of Insight: fully see what you are concentrating on.

And the good news is that every human being, whether strong or weak, celebrated or unknown, has this Power within.

I highly recommend Thich Nath Than’s book: The Art of Power.