What Wonder Woman and the Buddha Have in Common

Have you noticed that the number of movies and TV shows featuring beings with supernatural powers seems to be on the rise?

Why are we humans so fascinated with superheroes?

Is it because we can’t bear the overwhelming complexities of our world and find comfort in the fantasy that a group of super-ordinary beings could save us?

Or are we sensing into a fundamental truth about the human condition—that we contain within us an untapped well of powers or “supercapacities” beyond the comprehension of our “small self”?

In my work with tens of thousands of spiritual seekers over the past decade, I’ve gradually come to a somewhat controversial conclusion. I believe that all of us have access to a set of extraordinary but usually hidden “supercapacities.”

These remarkable higher capacities are not abilities we need to gradually cultivate or develop. 

They are the innate “powers” of the Awakened self. 

They arise naturally and spontaneously when our consciousness is freed from the contractions, knots and unconscious habits of our ordinary, unawakened mind.

I realize this may seem hard to believe at face value. 

In a world where personal growth and development has become a billion-dollar industry, it might seem almost heretical to proclaim that simply awakening to our own “enlightened essence” could be the key to unlocking many of the capacities we’re all striving so hard to cultivate.

Clearly, this is a radical proposition with far-reaching implications for any of us who aspire to break out of the limitations of the false self and live truly extraordinary, awakened lives.

So I think it’s important to understand that this is not a new idea.

If you survey the literature of all of the world’s great wisdom traditions, you’ll find that one thing they all seem to agree on is that when any human being takes the leap into his or her own enlightened or divine nature, that person is transformed into a kind of super-being. 

Indeed, religious traditions almost universally tended to characterize the awakened master, the realized one, as what we would describe today as a superhero. 

According to ancient religious lore, the awakened ones could read minds, fly through the air, appear in two places at once, heal at a distance, move objects with their minds, and walk through walls. 

To put this in modern-day superhero terms: enlightened masters were something like all the X-Men combined. 

However, unlike many of the superheroes in today’s movies, the enlightened ones also had a highly evolved moral center and, fortunately, boundless spiritual wisdom and compassion. They showed a limitless capacity for love and remarkable tenderness and sensitivity.

Now, I want to make it clear that I’m not asserting that spiritual awakening will make you a superhero—either in the Hollywood sense or even the traditional sense.

And I don’t know whether the people who wrote those ancient texts actually believed in the paranormal superpowers they wrote about, or whether they were being metaphorical in an attempt to convey the extraordinary transformative power of spiritual awakening.

But leaving those kinds of truly supernatural powers aside, what all the wisdom traditions strongly and consistently point to is the profound transformation that occurs when a person awakens to and embraces their true nature. 

When we discover this already awakened essence of who we are, we feel like we’re unleashed from a prison—unlocked, let out. We discover a life of boundless inner freedom and of unassailable joy. 

We find ourselves becoming a conduit for an overflowing fullness and a love that seems to have no end.

When we discover this “super-conscious self,” we also find that we have access to a remarkable type of intuitive knowing that enables us to instantly—faster than the speed of thought—discern powerful truths, see into the heart of a situation, and spontaneously take effective actions, seemingly without any premeditation, and sometimes without even our own awareness. 

It is often only after the fact that we realize what we knew and what we did, leaving us wondering: “Where did that clarity and courage come from?”

When we awaken to who and what we really are, we find that we’re filled with a dynamic source of energy that is seemingly limitless—energy to do whatever needs to be done in each moment. This energy is no longer coming from our body, but from somewhere mysterious that we can’t see.

We also find we can tap into a well of creativity that feels limitless. It’s as though the creative power of the cosmos is coursing through us. Whenever we need it, it is available. 

We discover we also have access to a wellspring of inner strength that gives us steadiness and confidence in the face of life’s challenges. No matter what life throws our way, we’re not daunted. 

We have a fundamental trust that we’ll find our way, that the resources needed to meet the demand will appear. From where, we don’t know, but we trust that they will, and we find that they do. 

I’m not talking about trusting that an all powerful God or “universe” is going to take care of us, or that mystical things will happen in our life to make everything work. 

Instead, there’s a kind of trust in an inner resource that is seemingly limitless and readily available to us. That’s where the confidence comes from. It’s also where our ability to act so freely and spontaneously and with so much strength and clarity of purpose comes from. 

We also find an unprecedented ability to be present in a way that most of us have never experienced. 

One of the shocking things about meeting somebody who is highly spiritually awakened is that they are so incredibly present. They are here

In fact, they have so much weight and consciousness in their field, that we feel deeply held by a great and mysterious power when we’re in their presence.

With this awakening, we also find that we have become unimaginably sensitive. We’re like a finely tuned receptive instrument that can sense into the deeper needs and feelings of those around us, of groups, of situations. 

But most importantly, we become receptive to what we might call the evolutionary need or trajectory of the moment. We can feel it with our being. And this enables us spontaneously discern “the way” of positive, effective action with a precision that transcends mere cognition.

Now, I want to be clear. I’m not asserting that every single skill or capacity that we need to get through life is somehow contained in our spiritual super nature. 

I’m not saying that your super nature will make you good at math or spelling, or turn you into a perfect communicator, or any of the dozens of other things that we all need to develop in order to be functional adults. 

What I will say is this: the most remarkable capacities available to human beings are not abilities we need to cultivate piecemeal.

The game-changing revelation of authentic spiritual awakening is that there is a deeper “essential supernature” that already exists within each of us fully formed.

This “essential supernature” already contains the extraordinary capacities that most of us are striving to develop.

So, rather than spending decades trying to develop each of these abilities one at a time, if we wholeheartedly give ourselves to the process of awakening, we can tap directly into this source of truly infinite potentials and give birth to a completely different order of human life.

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