To have dominion over something is “to have control over” it or “power over” it. Usually when we think of having dominion, we think of a ruler having power over a region. I want to address the idea of dominion from the perspective of our feelings and our hearts. We have control over our feelings to a certain extent. We are the Kings and Queens of our perspectives.
As human beings we sometimes let our passions get the better of us. We see an injustice and we become irate. A leader who has “dominion” over a region makes a decision that leads to war or famine, or the deaths of numerous people and it angers us. We see a politician who makes a bad choice that leads to compromising the lives of others and undermining their ability to function, and we are disturbed by the consequences of his actions. Or we see large groups of people who support an immoral policy.
It’s good to be irate. It’s good to express anger. It proves that you’re alive and compassionate and have an informed conscience. It demonstrates that injustice is real to you and you’re willing to acknowledge that you are responding to it. But a lack of control over our emotions can lead to greater problems, and we can become victims of our emotions. These problems may be physical, mental or emotional. Sometimes a lack of control can lead to physical illness. We need to learn to control our emotions in a way that we can become constructive in addressing those injustices, so we can answer with strong solutions. If we let our emotions control us, we would never be able to function and rise above situations.
There is something within us that helps us attune to a place where we can be empowered to rise above and put things in their proper place. We have dominion over our feelings. Joel Goldsmith, the great spiritual teacher, noted that consciousness has a role to play in helping us learn to detach at certain times.
Joel Goldsmith states, “The object of spiritual consciousness is the attainment of our original God-given dominion. We were not meant to be victims of hate or fear. We were not meant to be victims of love. We were meant to have dominion over these things so that we could handle each emotion as it arose, we could handle each situation as it arose — not with venom and not with partiality, but with the justice that is not of man but which is of God’s. The master, Jesus, plainly indicated that he was not sent here to be a judge over anybody. One of the acts of spiritual consciousness is to free us from sitting in judgment. Once we have been released from sitting in judgment, we are able to see the situation as it is and deal with it intelligently”.
Scripture addresses the idea of personal dominion throughout the Bible. In the early part of Hebrew Scriptures it talks about the “Lord being with” individuals like Joseph, Hezekiah and Samuel as well as Job. Scripture also notes that when Moses is on Sinai God says, “Take off your sandals, as the place whereon you stand is holy ground”. Psalm 46 identifies that God is in the holy streams and in the mountains. It claims, “The Lord is with us”. It asserts, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations and I will be exalted all over the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”.
God is revealed to Elijah. “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice”.
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah”? (1 Kings 19: 11-13)
Whether it is the idea of a place being holy or the individual in the place making it holy, there is identification with holiness and holy boundaries. When we get to the New Testament, Jesus in the New Covenant plainly states, “The Kingdom of God is within you”. (Luke 17: 21)
In various traditions, the concept of axis mundi asserts that the center of the universe is at the center of one’s being and is the point where heaven and earth meet. It’s an interesting qualification. It summons the idea that heaven and earth can be found at the center of a heart that is open to divinity.
In the Christian tradition, dominion within one’s self signifies that a moral universe is required by each of us. God and Godliness is present in that universe. We are called to act justly and righteously, and we must establish moral boundaries as we form our moral identities.
The qualification of a dominion within helps us in life. It helps us recognize when we are going astray in life or approaching something in a manner that is unethical or immoral. The establishment of boundaries helps us to keep our wits about us and choose rightly so we can sleep at night and not be restless. It can help us in the development of our integrity.
Although there are times when the most holy of saints and most prophetic fall away from this understanding of dominion within, when it is claimed, it is a powerful tool in overcoming adversity. It could be said that our minds, hearts and souls are entrusted to hold the dominion of God. It is the “still small voice” within that harnesses the power to overcome distress and call forth the presence of God in dire circumstances, and it is in the awareness of God’s presence that brings peace to the beholder and love to the beloved.