We frequently feel ourselves to be under the power of things. We feel we are the victims of an unfair social system, economic upheavals, painful relationships -- even a lawn chair that won't unfold right. We fight these conditions, feeling ourselves to be under their "dark" influence. The fact is, however, these events do not exist as negative events except for our perception of them. The only power they have is the power we give them. What is the proof? Someone else observing the same event may not see it as negative at all. If we separate the facts from what we perceive as a thing's power, we are on the way to freeing ourselves from all things that bother us. Your wish to understand your pain by shining the light of Truth on it will show you where to break the thought connection through which you give your life energy to events that would otherwise have no power over you. If you truly wish to be free, you can even shine that light back into what feels like your own hard or cold past, and the warm light of Truth will melt all those long past difficulties dwelling there until eventually nothing about your life will have the power to bother you again.
Any event we see is really a temporary conjunction of a number of different conditions. If any of those conditions is lacking or different, the event is no longer the same event. Let's look at a simple physical example of this. Think about a chocolate cake. That cake results from the combination of a number of ingredients. If you take out any one, the cake is not the same. If you take out the chocolate, it's a vanilla cake. Take out the flour and the texture is completely different. The same if you take out the eggs. The whole event that is called a "chocolate cake" requires all the ingredients, or it is something else.
Now, let's apply this same principle to a psychological event. Perhaps it's anxiety over a relationship. The negative event that the anxious individual sees is made up of a number of different elements. Remove any of them, and the event changes. What might some of these conditions be? Could you have that negative event without that person having done what he did? No. Could you have it if the first person didn't have some kind of expectation about what the second person should do? No. Could you have it if the first person didn't believe that his or her happiness was dependent on the other person? No. These are just some of the conditions that create the negative event. The event is really nothing more than a temporary conjunction of those conditions. Something has been created that seems real and solid to the anxious person, but the perception of that anxious person is one of the elements in that temporary conjunction of conditions that makes it painful.
For that anxious individual, let's say it's a woman, her perception of a series of events has produced something to which she now gives power, but which she sees as having power over her. Her perception ties her to the event, and because of that tie, the event becomes self-perpetuating. In her eyes, the situation grows in strength and power to hurt her. She cannot see that if she withdrew her attention from it, it would lose every bit of power that it had.
We have yet to recognize the fact that our thinking about any painful event as something real, solid and unavoidable is one of the conditions that perpetuate it. Take one thing out of the conjunction, and it is no longer the same event. When we stop giving our life energy to any moment which seems overpowering, it loses its illusion of power. In that moment is also lost our prior belief that we have to submit to its punishment. This shows us that no negative state or event has any individual, independent existence. We can begin to free ourselves from the event when we understand the truth about its power over us.