The common understanding of the word “sovereign” brings to mind images of kings, queens and supreme rulers, with all the associated regalia, pomp and circumstance that we have come to know from our television screens. It’s hard to get away from, particularly in Britain where Queen Elizabeth II is a mere 31 places removed in the “senior direct royal line” from French-born William The Conqueror (or William The Bastard as he was known before 1066). With such a long, rich history of hereditary royal dominion, it’s understandable that people can’t help but think of sovereignty as something outside of themselves. But that is starting to change.
For a growing number of people focusing on matters of consciousness, sacred knowledge and personal freedom, the reclamation of the word sovereign has become profoundly consequential. Within this paradigm, to recognize oneself as a sovereign being is to acknowledge one’s own total spiritual autonomy and unconditional entitlement to self-determination. It is a primary avowal of oneself as a free and natural human being – not a serf, a subject, a corporate entity, or even a citizen. No persons or man-made laws have any jurisdiction whatsoever over a sovereign being. This is all very alarming for any empire that secretly prefers its populace to feel toothless.
It’s deceptively tricky for us to comprehend that power is not something that is graciously conferred upon us by the authorities. It is not something that we must work hard to be worthy of. Real power is not something that can be handed over at all: it is something that we already have inside us. It is there from the beginning and it is the ultimate power. It is the power of freewill.
The amount of freewill an individual possesses is directly proportionate to the depth and clarity of consciousness attained. Before it can be fully realized, the very existence of our free will must first be acknowledged. The slumbering mind is not cognizant of the awesome reality-shaping power that lies within its grasp; freewill might just as well be equated with choosing what movies to watch or what shoes to buy. In contrast, the awakened mind is acutely aware of how freewill can transform imaginal visions into manifest things. It is seen as a defining characteristic of the spiritually alive human.
The more integrity, equanimity and honesty we resonate in our thoughts, deeds and conduct – the more honorable we are – the purer our mind. This allows us to deepen and broaden our consciousness and that determines the impact of our freewill upon the world. It is one of the cleverest failsafe devices that the universe has ever implemented. It ensures that only the true soul, transparently operating from a place of honor, can actually change reality.
Honor also serves as a keen instrument of discernment, especially with regard to observing intent and behavior, both in ourselves and others. We have an in-built facility for gauging whether someone’s words and deeds are honorable or not. Honor is one of those rare qualities that transcends the usual social and demographic boundaries; its unique energetic signature is readily perceptible to most humans. We can feel it.
One would think that honor is a highly desirable attribute for any leader who represents large numbers of people. Indeed, it ought to be a mandatory requirement for any sane society, to insist on leaders who naturally radiate honor in their governance. We should never be afraid to look into the hearts of our fellow men to ask these questions. Think of any prominent personality in the media. You can tell pretty much straight away whether their motivations are honorable or not. It’s not hard to look beyond the veneer of customer-facing geniality. Though we may see the persistent fabrication of sincerity, faith and morality in certain individuals, not all things can be so easily counterfeited. The singular nuances of honor remain decidedly elusive to those who have not actually walked the talk. They can’t quite pull it off.
Honor cannot be stolen or sequestered. Nor can it be read from a script or learned at a government training center in Aspen. You don’t automatically acquire it by rolling your sleeves up to help out at the orphanage, or volunteering at the soup kitchen, or showing up at church on Sunday, or pretending to give a hoot about massacres in distant lands. Observing the famous faces of politics, business and entertainment going through these masquerades has never really fooled anyone.
For the naturally ascendant human spirit, honor is a fundamental impulse. It is what we want to do and it is how we want to be. Even so, it can sometimes be difficult to muster the necessary spiritual courage and self-discipline to make this into a living reality. Things get a little rusty with lack of use. Fortunately, our forefathers devised all kinds of positive frameworks to help us regain spiritual fitness. One such system – the Noble Eightfold Path – was formulated by Siddhartha Gautama, aka Buddha, about 2500 years ago. It is a simple yet elegant teaching in conscious living, consisting of right view, right thought, right speech, right behavior, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
The key word here is “right”. At first glance, one might reasonably argue that what is right for one person might be wrong for another. Right? Not quite. Rightness is a reflection of truth. Truth is both universal and relative. How so? When we shift perspective, we affect the universality of our truth. Zoom way out from your own concerns and your sense of truth takes on a more universal aspect. You are compelled to know a truth that is not only valid for you, but for others too. The further you zoom out, the more consciousness and creation that truth has to encompass and respect. The opposite is also the case. Zooming in exclusively on your own personal affairs decreases the universality of your truth. To act with honor, therefore, is to flow with divine ordinance. We don’t learn what is right – we allow our innate knowing of it to arise. We already have it. We are sovereign.
Juxtaposed against the backdrop of the all-encompassing modern media, all this talk of righteous conduct can seem rather fusty. Take in a few consecutive evenings of television and one comes away with the impression that there’s no interest in such things anymore. Self-destructive actors, bigoted politicians, disoriented sportsmen and violent musicians are constantly held up as the sexy anti-heroes of the new millennium. The media doesn’t even bother to covertly infer the desirability of decadence anymore; they boldly proclaim it in shiny gold letters. Gossipy, half-witted lifestyle magazine covers – unaccountably exhibited at every supermarket checkout – are splattered with the most squalid tales of human lechery. Dishonor makes headlines, for those who like it. But it is when these pollutants are squirted through every orifice of the system that one wonders where we are on the graph curve of civilization? Are we witnessing a rerun of the last days of Rome?
Perhaps Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, is well placed to comment. Aurelius’ sharp insights into human nature often helped him to rise above the various negative gravitations of high office. He wrote: “A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.” Such truthful proclamations helped distinguish Aurelius from the madness and debauchery of previous emperors such as Tiberius, Caligula and Nero. As the historian Herodian wrote: “Alone of the emperors, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life.”
Aurelius highlights the fact that, ultimately, personal ambition is rather a precarious life path, as it serves only to satisfy the fleeting appetites of the ego. When we think of our own modern day emperors, we can see how quickly this can turn sour. It is always such a breath of fresh air when a genuine human soul steps into the fray and exhibits the sort of noble qualities that give us faith in humanity again. In these strange days, I have been reassured to know that such fine people are out there and they are out there in number.
Spiritual sovereignty teaches us that force and power are two very different things. Anyone can exert force, but not everyone is endowed with power. To wield real power, we must be in harmony with our higher purpose, with universal truth. This is the truth that we can feel in our hearts, minds and spirit, and is a compass for conscious growth. When we build that into our everyday thoughts and deeds, we live as honorable men and women.
By Neil Kramer, author of “The Unfoldment: The Organic Path To Clarity, Power, And Transformation”