Independent thinkers are growing in number. Though still a tiny minority, everyday more and more people are throwing aside conformity and seeking to understand spiritual themes direct from their own hearts, and not through any person, book or organization on earth. Though these can be valuable tools, independent thinkers know that knowledge can come from others, but only from within can wisdom dawn.

As wisdom grows independent thinkers discover many new and practical powers that further their spiritual aims and provide great talents for successful daily living. Here are three of these powers:

1. The Power to IGNORE

The movie "Fountainhead" has a great scene that illustrates the struggle between the will and creativity of the individual and the downward pull of the masses.

Architect Howard Roarke is designing magnificent new buildings. They are a sharp contrast to the city's old style structures. Mr. Toohey is a widely read journalist. He despises the nonconforming architect and does everything possible in his newspaper column to hinder his work and sway public opinion against him.

One day Mr. Toohey sees the architect looking over a building site. He walks up and boastfully tells him how he is the one who has caused so many problems for him over the years, including the cancellation of a major commission. He then looks at Howard with a beaming smile and says, "Tell me, Mr. Roarke, what do you think of me?"

Howard looks at him and says, "I don't think of you." He turns and walks away. The expression on the journalist's face is one of bitter defeat.

One important thing to know while reclaiming your personal, spiritual power is that you will encounter resistance from people who are threatened by your desire to change. Author Vernon Howard refers to these settled types as YAPPING DOGS. He defines them in his book, “Your Power of Natural Knowing” as “Lost people who would rather yap at you instead of traveling with you on the spiritual journey. Ignore them. The dogs yap at the caravan; the caravan moves on.”

2. Your Power to Fly Free

Several years ago my wife Colleen and I were in Colorado for a speaking engagement. We had an afternoon free and visited the local zoo. We sauntered back into the exotic bird section. There we saw a huge circular fence, probably 15 yards high and at least 60 yards across. It was very odd that the fence had no top to it.

We observed the rare bird over in a far corner. As I looked at it I reasoned that they must have clipped its wings so it could not fly away. Then suddenly the bird went into full flight to a tree on the other side of the cage. Obviously this was not correct. The bird's wings were fine.

I found a zoo attendant and asked him about this strange sight. "The reason is very simple," he said. "This bird was raised in captivity. When it was very young it was placed in a cage with a top on it. Every time it tried to fly away it would smash into the ceiling. Now, the bird never tries to escape. It is convinced the top of the cage is
still there."

How strange, I thought. And what a perfect parallel. We're sure there is a top to our cage. Maybe the only cage is a mirage within our own minds.

Empowerment means challenging the borders of comfort – venturing beyond where we normally stop. Change “feels wrong” to old habits. Isn’t it interesting! Change eventually feels very right and true but to arrive there we must travel through doubt and uncertainty.

3. Your Power to Step Aside

Picture a man walking a path to the top of a high mountain. At a certain point a boulder comes crashing toward him. Startled, he reaches down with both arms and stops it. The boulder jars him terribly. A moment later another one heads his way. He does the same thing. But with the approach of the third boulder a new and higher idea comes to him. At the last moment he simply STEPS ASIDE. He YIELDS. The boulder passes right by.

This is how we can deal with difficult and obnoxious people. They are on the prowl for a fight and when you refuse to give it to them they fall forward from their own momentum. It is amazing how powerless difficult people become when you consciously let them win. They are so used to a fight! But if they cannot get you to fight they have no power over you. Real empowerment is yours when you simply refuse to fight. An eagle sees no need to fight with a wolf. They live on entirely different levels and in different atmospheres.

It is great relief when we see that difficult and demanding people are really like the fronts on a movie set. You open the door expecting to enter a room and instead you walk into the open sky. Nothing real backs up obnoxious people. All of their attempts to intimidate and discourage you have no power if you are wise enough to keep your focus, like Howard Roarke, on what YOU want, not what they want.

Never forget that a person will try to direct your life to the exact degree that he or she is incapable of directing their own life. This wisdom is not cynical; it makes you powerful and free so you can enjoy your relationships on your own mature terms. Author Vernon Howard said to say silently to dreary dominators, “We will either have a pleasant and mature relationship or we will not have one at all.” The best way to help these types is to be entirely free of them. There's no need for rudeness. You're not unkind. You simply choose to react ABOVE their level.


Independent thinkers refuse to catch the ropes thrown at them by unaware people. For example, people often throw negative ropes by their facial expressions and by their quick little remarks. The TV itself is a giant rope-tossing machine. But the power all of these rope throwers possess derives from one thing: YOUR DECISION TO CATCH THEIR ROPES! You can choose in favor of yourself. You can stay in your own intelligent zone of independence and empowerment by letting the ropes fall right to the ground.

Independent thinkers do not seek the approval of people. They therefore have the ability to ignore all the protests hurled at them from those who want them to stay put. Independent thinkers know that others do not impose barriers on them – the only barrier is a mirage and it is within their own thinking. Independent thinkers are learning day by day how to dissolve this mirage. The power that begins to arise from within is breathtaking.

Independent thinkers do not need to fight with the world, or with their own mind. They have learned the extremely powerful and intelligent skill of yielding. They have mastered the art of Spiritual Jujitsu. This saves independent thinkers a tremendous amount of energy for their vertical ascent into higher and higher spheres of wisdom and vitality. No wonder they are so happy! Growth and empowerment are very challenging at times, but they are the most enjoyable pursuits on earth.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Russell is the host of The site focuses on the spiritual psychology of authors Vernon Howard, G.I. Gurdjieff and J. Krishnamurti. Tom publishes the weekly SuperWisdom E-zine, which you can receive free at the website.