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Empowerment : Are We Chasing an Illusion?

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  There is a certain buzzword that seems to have caught on extensively these days. Every non-profit is working towards it. No politician dares to exclude it from his/her agenda. Every media house vies to report on the subject. And you can’t get past any social media platform without seeing a message or two on it. This is the topic of Empowerment. We’ve heard of it for women, minorities, lesser advantaged communities, and so on. While all the attention this topic is receiving is warranted and all the work being done towards it, is much needed and highly appreciated, let me ask a simple question. What is Empowerment? Merriam Webster defines empowerment as “to give power to”. And indeed, this is what this word conveys - to render someone powerful. Now let me ask a second question – Who is more powerful? Is it the one who gives power or the one who receives it? If someone could give you power, couldn’t they take it away too? Therefore, isn’t the giver of power inherently more powerful than the receiver of power?! Something to think about. While a lot of this may sound like semantics, it isn’t. I have observed women and men in powerful situations, not realizing the power they possess. On the contrary, I have also learnt from women and men who may have started in conservative situations but have risen as confident, powerful individuals, and leaders of change. Therefore, it appears to me that there is more to empowerment than meets the eye. Empowerment is Powered Within I believe that empowerment is to be claimed, not given. And it can only truly be claimed from within oneself. No one can give you power or take it away because you have always possessed it! We wielded power when we breathed in our first breath, and will continue to, when we breathe our last breath out. The only step we need to take is to recognize it. Empowerment begins within us stepping into a sea of limitless possibilities and infinite potential that is right here, right now. This is the seat of confidence, energy, and resilience, which to me are the three essential elements of empowerment. The Source of Power A practical tool that allows us to connect easily with this inner space is meditation. In meditation, we become one with an ever-powerful, all-knowing, and immensely capable part of us. We do not need the approval of others to be empowered. We only need our own approval. In other words, empowerment is simply realizing the power that we are, and the best way to “empower” someone else, is to support them in their journey of realizing the power they are and by giving them the gift of meditation! A meditation technique that has worked wonders for me is Sahaj Samadhi Meditation, a mantra-based, effortless meditation technique offered through the Art of Living Foundation. Find a course near you at http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/sahaj-samadhi-meditation

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