“Are you standing in your V?” Tata Fu-Kiau asked. Three of us were sitting with the elder teacher from Central Africa, enjoying blueberry scones at a popular coffee shop.
I had just finished describing an ongoing conflict at my work and how I was feeling victimized by a supervisor hell-bent on making my days difficult. That’s when Tata asked the unusual question. I didn’t know what a V was or that I even had one, let alone how to stand in it. I took a slow bite of my scone, hoping he would explain.
Tata pulled a pen from his pocket (“You should always carry a pen,” he would often advise his students) and began drawing a V shape on a paper napkin. Within the V he drew a stylized stick figure with its feet standing on either side of the point at the V’s bottom. The quick sketch reminded me of ancient glyphs painted on hidden stone.
“Your V is your cone of power,” Tata Fu-Kiau said, gesturing to the drawing. “When you are standing in your V, you are standing in your spiritual center and your acts become inspired by powerful life-energy. You will be amazed at what happens when you act from your V!”
I was still confused and took another measured bite of my scone.
Tata Fu-Kiau had traveled to Ojo Caliente, New Mexico to share his intelligence, deeper wisdom, and laughter. His teachings were pointers towards opening ourselves up to a direct experience of the creative, energetic currents that enliven our universe.
Gesturing towards the drawing, Tata Fu-Kiau began describing what a V is and how we learn to stand in it. And, like all potent spiritual teachings, a primary component was in cultivating a meditative mind state, an internally spacious sense of mindfulness found below the incessant internal dialogue that usually takes up all our attention.
Tata pointed out that I was having difficulty with the supervisor because I had freely given him my personal power, by self-identifying as his victim. I had trapped myself in a debilitating stream of ego-thinking about my persecution. By repeatedly identifying as his victim, I was psychologically contracting into a tight ball in a feeble attempt to mitigate the emotional kicks from this bully. But the more I contracted, the more kicks I invited, and the more personal power I gave away.
Tata suggested that by contracting my psyche I was blocking the powerful flow of wisdom-energy that is our natural state of being. “Think of a clogged pipe”, Tata offered. “You must take responsibility for the proper functioning of your own internal, energetic plumbing!” He laughed heartily at his own metaphor.
I thought about Kung Fu masters and their cultivation of chi, the vital force that animates life. Through awakening chi, they developed power, clarity, and a centered mind to accomplish their incredible feats of confident and focused skill. They were standing in their V.
Tata pointed out that I was allowing my supervisor’s attacks to injure me because I was not standing in my V. I was clinging to a story of fear and my cone of power had left town.
Tata suggested that I needed a new story. Something different than being the frightened victim. I needed to find my V and step firmly in it by cultivating that meditative mind state and acting from there.
I began looking for my V in the following days, devoting my meditative practices to the internal search. I imagined my physical body to be a pipe and tried to feel the wisdom-energy running through it as I became the witnessing awareness of my thoughts streaming past. And I began crafting a more skillful and life-affirming story to act from.
This imaginative endeavor is still a work in progress and my story currently looks something like this: Our universe began with a Big Bang—a bang so big that its expanding waves produced a living, alchemical cauldron where the entire cosmos is expressed in a wonderfully witchy and infinitely wise manner that is beyond our comprehension.
That expansion of power of the creative universe can be thought of as the outward expression of Intelligence itself (or God, or Consciousness). It is the dynamic current of life-energy that we can learn to feel, align with, and channel, despite our lack of understanding it. It inspires and guides us towards the deliberate expression of its power in all areas of our life. And it shows up in mighty and surprising ways when we open to it. Standing in our V is acting from a mind that is settled and not filled with debilitative stories about how small we are.
Our V is a mindful awakening to the wisdom-energy that informs all of life, that flows within us, and through us to manifest in the world.
The “now” is our cone of power. When we are standing in our V we are mindful witnesses abiding in the present moment, observing our self-generated scripts as merely the usual stories and thought patterns passing freely through our internal pipes. We are so much larger than our thoughts and stories.
Tata Fu-Kiau was asking me if I was channeling the power of the creative universe, which is the power of wisdom-energy! Am I standing in my V? Am I awake to the present moment, to my cone of power as my natural state of being, beyond any stories of ego? This type of questioning seems a more skillful approach.
I’ve long since left that job with the bothersome supervisor. I wiped my feet after walking out the door. And I have discovered great benefit in cultivating that mindful sense of wisdom-energy that flows throughout my being.
A very effective practice towards enlivening our personal power is to ask ourselves, multiple times throughout the day, “Am I standing in my V at this moment?” And, if not, we can mindfully enjoy a breath, settle our mind, and place our awareness on our internal wisdom-energy. Or at least we can try to become aware of what exactly we are standing in?
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