ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR LIVES

To be responsible is not simply to accept burdens, more than anything else it is to accept power. We are the actors in the play that is our lives – we are at all times spiritually responsible for our actions in that play. However, until that spiritual responsibility becomes emotional and material within our lives we will be destined to enact the same play over and over again with nothing changing but the period wardrobe and props.

When I was a child my father taught me how to play Gin Rummy. We would play for hours and most of the time that we played I would win. One day I was feeling very full of myself as a great card shark and I decided to play for money. My father tried to talk me out of it, but I insisted. I bet my entire allowance and in about five minutes my father won. Now the game was over and he had won and I believed that he should give me my money back. My father refused. I cried, I begged, I sulked, I even tried to borrow the exact amount, but he absolutely refused. I could not believe that my father could actually love me and not give me back my money. I decided that he did not really love me. I believed that if he loved me he would give me anything that I wanted. This was what I really felt. It took a long time for me to understand that my fathers’ love had nothing to do with my responsibility for my own actions.

After many months, perhaps even years, I finally understood what he had given to me. I could never again act in any way or say any words that I was not prepared to be responsible for the outcome of. I realized that my father would never make idol threats, if I wanted to do something that I should not, he would tell me the punishment that I would receive if I did it. He was no longer attached to my choice, and when I ultimately did what I wanted to do anyway, he was not attached to the punishment. I am now grateful for this lesson. The one good thing about this lesson is that it is never too late to learn, and never too late to teach to your children. It only takes one time, which was all it took for me. I may have pushed the envelope many times after that, but the difference was that I was responsible and prepared for whatever the outcome. I was in my power.

I suppose that when our belief in reincarnation was taken away from us, so too was the possibility of ever really being right – so we went for the next best thing which was appearing to be right. Of course if we could do neither, we had to place the responsibility for our being wrong on someone else – blame – so that we could escape whatever repercussions we envisioned. The concept of reincarnation has always felt right to me. I always knew that God was Love, and it just made sense to me that placing us in the darkness and giving us only one chance to find the right light – without a manual was not a loving act. To me, it was like taking your child and putting her out at night having this discourse:

Parent: Go find it and you can’t come home until you do – and if you don’t you will be lost forever.

Child: Find what?

Parent: Figure it out.

Child: Which direction do I go?

Parent: Look in the Book.

Child: Which Book – there are so many?

Parent: Figure it out!

Then having the parent close the door on the child. So, reincarnation made sense to me. As someone who has practiced Astrology for many years, I have looked to the chart for past life content. But a chart may be easily verified in this life, but when referring to past lives it is really theoretical. However, since I started doing past life regressions, I find that the chart does give very accurate information as to the issues we need to take responsibility for in our lives that we have failed to do the same in past lives. I see people repeating the same theme over and over again. In the sixteenth century the theme may have been “Romeo and Juliet”, while in the twentieth century it may have been “West Side Story”. Over and over again I see people making the same ultimate choices, life after life, suffering the same consequences only with a slightly different story line. My father put the responsibility for my actions in my lap. I am still growing into that lesson, it is still a work in progress, but at least there is progress. I thought that my choices were pre-determined. I now realize that they are not pre-determined but they are hardwired into my make-up, because they are the choices that keep my ego where it is the most comfortable – on familiar ground. I love the saying, “Better the hell you know than the hell you don’t”. That is straight from the ego’s mouth. When we take responsibility, full responsibility – “The buck stops here” kind of responsibility, we will very likely end up in unfamiliar territory. I know how to function in a bad relationship, but do I really know how to function in a good one? Even happy is scary if happy is unknown. I always go left, maybe I should go right. I always wait, maybe I should act. I always go for the one who needs love, maybe I should go for the one who has it.

We choose the lessons we will learn. We have to accept responsibility for the choices we made before we came here as well as the choices that we make while we are here. We did not choose to suffer; we chose to learn we chose the areas of growth we would work on in this lifetime. This was how we determined our moment of birth<!–[if supportFields]> XE “birth” < ![endif]–>; we chose that moment so the energies of the planets would create the right atmosphere for the growth we came in to achieve.

Taking responsibility automatically puts us in the present. It puts us in a situation in which we have choices to make. As soon as we acknowledge that we have choices, we will realize that we have power. Finding someone or something to blame for our situation relieves us of the responsibility of changing it. It also prevents it from changing. Even if we blame ourselves, we tend to blame something that we label as an inadequacy rather than our own action or inaction, which we can do something about. I will not permit my children to say, “I can’t”, they have to say, “I won’t”, “I can’t” is a great deal more comfortable than, “I won’t”, “I won’t” implies responsibility.

Some people prefer to be miserable; they prefer to be victims. These people are constantly seeking and rejecting answers. Everything that goes wrong in their lives is the responsibility of someone or something other than themselves, and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise. This is a pattern built up over lifetimes.

The wrong people find them; they don’t find the wrong people. They remember the harsh things said to them but not what they might have said to provoke harsh words from others. If they are ever wrong, it is because they were provoked, tricked, or in some way forced to do whatever they were being held responsible for doing wrong.

If there is any good in their lives they find someone to compare it with who has it better. They do not compromise, because if it is all or nothing there is a much better chance of getting nothing. These same people tend to be luckier than most, they tend to be taken care of although they don’t notice it. These people probably live the most tortured lives because they have to keep validating the external source of their misery. The catch is that when we are not responsible we are not in our power, we hand over our power to those people or circumstances that we consider to be responsible. We are not blocked from having a wonderful life, we miss the chances life presents to do so because we are so deeply engrossed in our need to elude responsibility. “I won’t call her because she hasn’t called me”, “I won’t show love because it is never appreciated”, “I won’t try because I always lose”. Even when we blame ourselves, we say, “I am not tall enough, smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough…” We blame an attribute or lack of an attribute; we don’t take responsibility for an action or lack of action, a choice made or refusal to make a choice. We do not take responsibility, as beings.

This is all perception. If you perceive yourself as not responsible, as helpless then the positive side is that you are off of the hook, you didn’t make a mistake, fail, etc., the negative side is you are helpless, a victim of an unsafe world.

Lets look at an example, say that you have a good job, you have never been late, and have never been sick. One day you walk into the office and the boss’s lover is sitting at your desk and you’re out of a job. Well that is a classic case of victimization if ever one existed right? Perhaps, it really depends on ones perspective. This could be an example of how nothing you do works out, so it is a good reason to go get drunk, or lock yourself in your room. You can add this to the list of wrongs done to you. Or you could tell yourself that you’re lucky that you got away from a losing situation. Perhaps you might perceive it as a sign from the Universe to go on your own, or that it is just a sign to move on.

Most people are afraid of responsibility because they fear being responsible for the outcome of our actions. However, taking responsibility for the outcome is unrealistic. When we take responsible for a child or a valuable piece of jewelry or anything left in our keeping this is in a moment. It is not something that we do twenty-four hours a day. However when we accept responsibility for our actions we are taking responsibility for everything except the outcome and we are taking that responsibility in every moment that we are alive. It is being responsible for each thought, each movement and each word that we say. We cannot control the outcome of anything. I may drink and drive and have an accident or not. I am responsible for having been drinking. I am neither responsible for the fact that I had an accident nor am I responsible if I did not have one. To be responsible is to be present and aware in each action that we take in each thought that we have. This is to be in each now of our lives.

There is a part of our brain that works automatically. It regulates our body, it breathes, it pumps blood to our organs it does not take our presence or our awareness in order to function.

When we are toddlers and we begin to walk we are present. Each step is an effort it takes mindfulness. After we walk long enough it becomes automatic. I watched my son focus and strain while he tries to put his socks on. Eventually he didn’t even notice that he was doing it, because it became automatic. Even when we drive to a certain destination enough times it too becomes automatic, as though the car just knows where to turn.

How often do we bump into a piece of furniture and say, “excuse me”? When our living, becomes automatic we cannot be responsible, we are sleep walking. We are not present. Many times the loss of passion in our relationships and even the loss of growth in our relationships emerges simply out of our having sent the functioning of the relationship to automatic. Where once we experienced each word and movement of our lover and were present within the relationship now the relationship becomes automatic. The relationship becomes part of our unseen unfelt automatic world. So we cannot find where we went wrong because we were not really there. We need to relegate the functioning of our bodies to the automatic brain and the functioning of our lives to our active selves.

When we meditate we are taught to focus on our breathing because that connects us with the present. That connection is the key. When we are connected with our present, with our actions we can then assume responsibility for our lives. When we are truly responsible we are again empowered and in control. It may take work and time to disengage our lives from automatic. It will certainly take walking through our own fears. Yet once this is done we are finally connected with our lives, our loves, our souls and our God. When we are awake we can hear sounds that the sleeping cannot hear and feel things that the numb cannot feel.

When we are awake and responsible nothing gets past us or slips through the cracks. When we say something it has value because it is not just an automatic response. When we are awake we awaken those around us, merely by our presence. Our lives do not just happen; we don’t wonder where the day went. We are aware that we have lived it. Each moment is fuller because we are aware of all the wonders within it. In a relationship we feel all the things that we felt in the beginning because each moment is a beginning when we are alive. Life becomes awe inspiring because we are in it. We feel empowered in the knowledge that we are responsible for how we have lived our lives.

The Value of Man

“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.’” (Mark 12:41-44)

In the transitory material world, the value of a man or woman is based upon how much he has amassed. Yet, in the Spiritual World, the value of a man is based upon how much of what he has amassed, he has given to those in need. We are all here to contribute what we have, and who we are. What is expected of us is dependent upon the level of evolution of our souls. A young soul is here to contribute to building of material structure. Young souls translate the spiritual concepts into material form. They immerse themselves in the material world, without them, and all of their apparent superficiality there would be no material world from which the spiritual may emerge. All life is symbolic. A caterpillar represents the soul. The cocoon symbolically represents the material world and the ego. The young soul dissolves into ‘both’ while here on the earth. Remember the cocoon is hard, and it is dark. The caterpillar is lost to itself inside of the cocoon, however, for a time in the beginning it is also safe.

Without knowing why, the young soul is drawn to the material world so opposite from its spiritual origin. Just as the caterpillar is compelled to leave the world of the familiar to create and enter the cocoon. They build the ego structure. The young soul learns to depend upon the material world and all that it has to offer. It learns to be greedy, lustful, and all of those non-spiritual drives that form the walls of the ego structure. Once the young soul has mastered the material world, the ego has no more to learn and so it has no more to give to the soul. The cocoon is complete. Now the soul, once enclosed by the ego must consume the knowledge of the ego and transform the material back into the spiritual and the ego back into the soul. At which point, it becomes a butterfly free of the world. As the young soul begins to find it is no longer nourished by the world as it had once been, it seeks that which is higher than the world. On this part of the journey the soul seeks spiritual nourishment, and still guided by the ego, it seeks this in the world that it knows, the world outside of the self. Thus, it sees God outside of itself. It only does what it knows to do. It recreates spirit in form. It worships God in the image of man, a superman – but still with the feelings and emotions of man, of a father creator. It has not yet seen the world for what it is, but it knows that it needs something more than it sees, or at least above the world that it sees. In order, to reach the God that is above the world it creates religion as a stairway up to that God.

As the process continues, the soul becomes immersed in emotional situations desperately seeking fulfillment of the need to merge, to fully feel at one with something that it does not yet understand. Severed from the ability to identify and merge with the things of the world, it now hungers to identify as one with another. Through the pain and suffering of this part of the journey the soul matures. It begins to find that nothing and no one can satisfy its ‘hunger’ or its ‘emptiness’. Nothing outside of itself can reach into the emptiness within itself and fill the growing void. Again the soul seeks God, but now it can no longer be a God that ‘communicates’ from without nor ‘dictates rules’ from without nor ‘has a home’ without. It must find God within – hear the voice from within and become filled from within. Now the soul finds itself betrayed by the world, betrayed by its things unable to find another soul who can fulfill its expectations and nonetheless, forsaken by its religion. Then, certain of God, certain that what it needs can be found, the mature soul begins to change the direction of its quest from without to within.

Finding less and less value in what it posses, it begins to give. The more that it gives, the better it feels. Without knowing it, the soul has begun the process of turning form into spirit – material into spiritual – and as it does this it finds itself nourished and ‘made full’ in a way that it could never have imagined. The mature soul begins to see beauty, miracles and perfection in the spirit of the world and the spirit of each living spirit on it. And so it releases its attachment to having, and to holding and finds its only joy in giving and sharing. Miraculously, the love, respect, self-worth and value that the soul has spent lifetimes seeking in the world are found in an ever-flowing Source – the God Self within. Diamonds are hidden within coal. The greatest joy in the world is hidden within our fear. Why do we not give more? It is because we fear not having enough.

Once I had a job where I worked very hard. I did my job and my manager’s job. When it came time for the end of the year review, the person in charge of giving out the raises gave me a $2000.00 a year raise and gave him a $5000.00 a year raise. When I complained, he told me that although looking at the amounts it seemed that his raise was greater than mine, if I looked at the percentage increase in his income compared to the percentage increase in my income I would see that my work had been given much greater value. At first, I thought it was a really good line. However later I realized that it was true in everything. In the marketplace, money is money, and one hundred dollars does not buy as much as one-thousand. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. However, when it comes to giving, the value lies not in the face value of the gift, but in how much of what you have to give, you want to give to a person – or to the world.

We live with God within us: we are of God. When we give, to whomever we give, we are expressing how much we care – how much of ourselves have merged with our Spirit and how much of ourselves are yet with the world. That amount has no figure on it, there is no great sum that shows how giving and loving a person is, there is only a great percentage of what we have. If a person has only a penny and selflessly gives that penny, it becomes a mustard seed and grows not only in the works it performs but in the heart and soul of the person who gave it. If a person has a million dollars and gives one thousand to others, the gift will supply its market value and little more. It has little spiritual energy, and it will end up taking more from the giver than it gives. When you give all that you can to those in need, you will be given more than you can contain in love and self-worth.

Contrary to all of your fears, what you give is returned to you ten-fold because you gave beyond what your ‘worldly self’ could release, and you placed your God before the world. No one ever needs to know what you did, nor does anyone need to praise what you did, because the praise flows from within and the gift grows nurtured by Spirit as do you. Here is a true story:
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was “too crowded.”

“I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.

Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class.

The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.

As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.

Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.” For two years she had saved for this offering of love.

When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.

He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.

But the story does not end there…

A newspaper learned of the story and published. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.

When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.

Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00-a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300.

And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.

Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russel H. Conwell, author of the book, “Acres of Diamonds”.

As a soul matures, it finds that all that it clings to and becomes addicted to, in the world, only makes it emptier and hungrier. The emptiness and hunger is only satisfied by letting go, and giving. This turns matter into spirit. It turns what is transitory into what is permanent. The soul learns that only by emptying can it become filled, only by giving can it receive. Then happiness is replaced by joy and the journey to find self-esteem and self-worth finally ends.