text and photo © Jonathan Zap
According to the I Ching, you have only one obligation in life — to get your relationship to yourself right. Do that and your relations to sex, time, money, power, food, body, career, society, the cosmos, etc. will all be as good as outer conditions allow. Omit, distort or neglect any part of your relationship to yourself and all those other relationships are accordingly skewed, diminished or lost. Working toward the empowered stance of inner independence and androgynous inner wholeness makes you as effective as possible in the outer world. For example, if you are a martial artist trying to survive an attack by multiple assailants, your primary responsibility is managing your relationship to your own body and its movement through space and time. Mastering your relationship to your own body gives you the maximum chance of defending yourself from the bodies of the attackers. Any flaws in your relationship to your own body diminish your chances of surviving the attack.
Yes, we are all interdependent in many ways, and it can be fascinating and fulfilling to be with others, but we must also be inwardly independent and disentangle our emotional/psychological/spiritual equilibria from the instabilities of the outer world.
Find the peace and power of staying inside your circle of influence. The center of your circle of influence is you, especially your psyche, the one sovereign domain where you can be sure of having influence. Unless you are paralyzed, the movements of your body are also within your circle of influence. But even if you are a gifted athlete, the movements of your body must operate within relatively narrow parameters of biomechanical possibility. For example, no matter how much you focus your will, you are not able to run a two-minute mile. Your mind, however, has far, far wider parameters of possibility, and is an incredibly powerful force inside your circle of influence.
Outside of your circle of influence, according to Steven Covey, is your circle of concern. The circle of concern is everything you worry about, but many of those things are outside of your ability to take direct action. The circle of influence is what you can take direct action on or affect right now. The most effective people are putting their energy into their circle of influence and not so much into the circle of concern where direct action cannot be taken.
The empowered stance of inner independence means that you recognize your inner wholeness and focus on life-affirming engagement within your circle of influence.
Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom — Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring
If romantic desires are compromising your inner independence read:
See: Stop the Hottie!