Topic 16: The Ticket to Admission
Were I able to give someone the most precious gift I could offer, I would give them the power to heal the pain we create for ourselves and others. How would I do that? I would help them come to see that taking responsibility for their life, when truly understood and enacted, is an almost instant release from the embarrassment, the hurt, the shame, the disappointment, the betrayal, whatever it is we are feeling after doing battle with friend or foe. Rather than being the onerous, damning indication that we just lost whatever the exchange that brought you to this state of war, when we’re willing to take responsibility, we get to experience how owning what is true in every situation immediately releases us from the burning emotion and offers a new beginning. Now before you fall back on whatever definition you hold for what taking responsibility means, read on.
By taking responsibility, I am referring to our commitment (another scary word in our culture) to be willing to look at and assess what part we played in whatever situation unfolded around us—our part and only our part. Make it simple to start with. If you are there in the middle of something, you played a part. To establish that part, that role, you have to pay attention to yourself, and only yourself. Look inside yourself and see what you are feeling. Then you have to determine the REAL cause for that feeling. And believe me, if you’re older than five or six, what caused your emotional response, the one that made it feel okay to snap back, to say something cutting, to blame the other, originated with you. Seeing this is solving a mystery greater than any secrets the cosmos has to offer. To understand that one thing—that our emotions originate from what we’re doing or thinking—is a key to freedom. But you’ll not have that key on your ring, unless you have chosen to take responsibility for your life—every single bit of it.
The good news is you don’t have to eat the entire enchilada at one sitting. If we commit to taking responsibility for our lives, the domain involved is added slowly over time. I cannot tell you how many times in my life, while working to take responsibility, I’ve heard myself say, “Oh god, not that too?” In truth, after a while it got down-right funny. All those places I thought I was sneaking past, eventually popped up grinning and saying, “You forgot to add me.” But by then the power to live free from pain that taking responsibility had given me, made me actually glad to add whatever came up, for we all suffer far too much, far too long, and worst of all, needlessly.
The world’s going to do what the world’s going to do. To think that we’re going to make life more comfortable and less contentious by trying to change the world is misguided and meddling. Your responsibility is not across the street. It’s standing in your shoes. And here’s the reason why that is NOT selfish or self-centered. When you truly take responsibility for your life in this world, you become someone who can bring peace, because you know when emotion begins to arise, you are its source not the person you would have attacked or accused in prior times. You will bring love, because you will not be looking for someone to blame or something to hate in another, because you know you are the source of your discontent or error. And you will bring joy, because when we stand in the place of taking responsibility for our lives, what we offer the world is a safe place to be, one where people can drop their guards and open their hearts. When a heart opens, the world in that moment becomes beautiful, joyful and sweet beyond measure. This is how we change the world, and strangely; our self-focus used in this manner is what ultimately places us in a position to realize how utterly connected we are to and with everything. The selfish place is one of self-absorption and that’s where we live when we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives.
In this season of love, make a commitment to your own heart that you will explore personal responsibility in the year to come, and let its magic possess you. Yours will then be a life committed to a growing awareness to the truth. And would you like to know one thing more? There is no increase in awareness without this commitment. The ticket for admission to the real game of life is one thing and one thing alone— your willingness to assign responsibility for your life … to you.
So the next question invariably is: How Long Will That Take? That’s Topic 17 next week.
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