Tag Archives: responsibility

Happiness in the Midst of Adversity

“You are the one who can bless creation.  It begins when you are willing to assume responsibility for what you want to use time for.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” WOM, Chapter 13, Page 161)

In The Way of Mastery, Jesus says quite a lot about assuming responsibility for ourselves.  We so often want to think of ourselves as victims, when just picking up the phone and opening up lines of communication might be all that is lacking.  As the Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements says, we need to ask questions when we are unsure.  We don’t need to make assumptions that are possibly wrong; in fact, we don’t need to make assumptions at all.

We have a responsibility to use time well.  What do we have to lose but a poor self-image?  Using time well will give us a good experience of life.  And when we enjoy our days, we are blessing creation.

Let today be different from the past by letting go of the past and clinging to the Now, as Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now.

We can be happy, even in the midst of adverse circumstances such as we have now in our world—isolation, quarantine, coronavirus.  If we aren’t sure what we can do to be happy, then an Answer is only a heartfelt question away.

Response, Not Responsibility

“Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you.  Response is given and thus genuine.  It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one.  Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation.  Response happens from within.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.13)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond to my significant others today.”

Reflections:

1 – Responsibility vs. Response

Here is the distinction made between having responsibility for another and simply giving a response, surely heartfelt, to him or her.  This passage continues the theme of the last several postings, emphasizing how very important these concepts are to A Course of Love.  We do not want to do things for others out of obligation; we want to do so with love, and this love is a response rather than a duty-bound responsibility.

2 – Giving and Receiving

Perhaps giving and receiving as one is such a commonplace part of our religious culture that we aren’t sure what it does mean.  Giving and receiving as one mean that what we give, we receive in equal measure.  The equality of giving and receiving will give us pause for thought.  If we don’t give, we don’t receive.  But I think that first we almost have to have received blessings from God that prepare our heart to respond by giving back–to Him, as well as our brothers and sisters.

3 – Demands

We do not want to do that which is demanded of us–at least, not often.  We rebel, because negative emotions such as resentment enter the picture.  But when our hearts are right with love, flowing over with love, we eagerly give a response from love.  And we do not recognize any covert demand at all.  We are too eager to give, in response to all that we have received.  Love does not keep record books; we give much as we forgive, 70 times seven (from the New Testament).  We respond with a willing spirit, and we respond because God has placed that will to do so in our hearts and minds.  He has first given to us, and with this recognition, we know that we can give and give and give, and yet our own store is forever full.  We do not give out of scarcity ever.  We know no scarcity.

4 – Look to Inner Self

The “within” aspects of this passage emphasize once again that we are to look to our inner Self for the direction that we need.  We look within and see no lack; we are therefore quite willing to respond to all needs that present themselves to us from those who are our brothers and sisters.  We do not respond when to do so would be inappropriate.  But the fact of appropriateness of response is broadened considerably when we open our thoughts to God and His way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to tell myself that You love my significant others even more than I do.  I have said this to myself many times over the past number of years, and I know that it certainly is true.  I can love only imperfectly, but Yours is perfect love.  And You will care for my loved ones.  I never need to think that I have to carry the burden all by myself.

Be with my loved ones today.  May I respond to their needs, without feeling that I have a particular, insistent demand from them for responsibility for their needs.  This is a great burden reliever, and I thank You for these words of Jesus.

Be with me today.  I need You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Call to Respond

impressionist trees

“Your thoughts are released from their concentration on what exists outside of you as your responsibility is placed where it belongs, in the call to respond.  This response is only yours to give and is all you are asked to give.  This response comes from within the Self–the rightly identified and acknowledged Self.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.9)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond as my Self tells me.”

Reflections:

1 – Restatement

This passage for today is a restating of the same passage quoted yesterday.  Jesus repeats his ideas when the idea is especially important.  Maybe he wants to be sure that we have caught the meaning.  And the idea is very, very important to central themes in A Course of Love.

2 – Internal Looking

We need to look within to determine what response to the outer world is called for.  This internal “looking” is a bid for guidance from the Self/Christ, who is within all of us.  We could also see that God is within, and look to Him for guidance.  The distinction is not too important, in my estimation, for we are a part of God.  This is in line with the monistic nature of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

3 – Eternity

When we recognize the Self within, we are well on our way along the pathway to Awakening.  Only time delays us, and time does not really exist.  All time is simultaneous, but it appears spread out to allow us to experience all that is happening.  Eternity is timeless.

4 – Look Within

We are not to focus too much on externals, seeking external cues as to how to respond.  We are actually becoming more introverted in our movement toward Christ-consciousness.  We no longer look to others to tell us what to do.  We look within.  And there we find our peace.

5 – Personal Experience

I personally started out as an introvert, and then moved closer to extroversion (as tested on written tests) when I practiced reference librarianship.  All of those questions from the reference, all of that interaction with library users, turned me outward.  Now that I am no longer practicing reference librarianship, I find myself naturally turning inward more, to introversion–actually my most natural response.  And it is good to know that this change is in line with A Course of Love.  We need to seek our cues from within, because listening to our brothers and sisters does not mean that what they say is “our” truth.  We can easily be misled.  We need to take nothing external unto ourselves unless it finds a welcome place in our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for being with me today, even when I was not conscious of Your presence.  I know that You were with me, because in spite of a hectic day, I am calm and at peace now that it is the evening.  Only You could effect such an experience.

May we be transformed as we live our lives day to day.  I belong to You, and that statement is one of the most important that I remember from my early years.  A woman friend, rich with faith, said, “I belong to God.”  And I have remembered that witness all the years since.  Now I too belong to You.  And knowing that this is true gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams.  Thank You.

Amen.

Relationship

impressionism

“The second rule of the art of thought is to acknowledge relationship, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.  This is thus a call to realize that you exist in relationship, that your relationship calls for a response, and that you are given to all as all are given to you.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am part of all.”

Reflections:

1 – Respond

The Treatise on the Art of Thought emphasizes that in relationship, one is required to respond, but not to take responsibility for another.  We are all equal.  We can help one another, but each is responsible for himself/herself.

2 – Responsibility

What about the sick, the infirm, or those who are too old to care for themselves well?  I would say that this is still a time when one responds to need, but does not take “responsibility” for another.  This is a fine point, a fine distinction.  One does respond to another’s needs, but the actual choice of when to live and die belongs to the other individual’s Self.  We are not to interfere with all decisions that another is making on behalf of his/her Self/Christ.  That is not our business, not our responsibility.

3 – Given to All

But we are given to all, all others.  We are a part of God and all others.  We are One.  And this response that we are called upon to make may be a tremendous giving on our part.  The response may be gigantic, though only, perhaps, rarely.  We are not to turn aside from need, though.  We are to give to others by way of responding to their needs.  We just don’t take their integrity from them.

4 – An Example

I think of this mostly in regard to a parent who has dementia.  We take care of that individual, but we do not steal their choices from them until the very last, when they can no longer express preference.  We let parents with dementia retain their integrity and their dignity.  To do less would not be kind.

5 – Puzzling Reactions

We often need to respond to individuals who puzzle us in their reactions.  If we know the person well, we can often fall back on that knowledge and react in ways that have worked previously.  But this is not always a viable solution.  We are not to look to the past, when guidance will come to us in the present.  We are, after all, meant to live in the present as much of the time as possible.  If unsure of what response to offer another, go inward for an answer.  And we can be certain that the answer will come, usually immediately.  Only if there is strong emotion (which may mislead us), need we wait at all for a solution to the problem.  As I have said many times in this blog, quoting A Course in Miracles, the solution is with the problem.  And we will respond accordingly, if we are thinking and acting wisely.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we respond with love, realizing that taking responsibility for another is  not what is needed or asked.  And this is true even for children and the infirm.  May I respond fully to need as it is presented to me.  May in no way I turn aside from one who asks for help.

May the challenges I face be known as an incident only, for there is no challenge when one has studied long and hard.  I try to be attuned to guidance, and I ask, especially today, to be so attuned.

Help me to reach out to others who need my care.  I will respond, and I will do so lovingly, given Your help to do so.

Amen.

Disengage from Meaningless Conflict

“To strive for that which has value is what this course  is about.  It has nothing to do with struggle.  You think also that to leave struggle behind, to disengage from the conflict of this world that causes it, is to turn your back on the real world and all that has meaning in it.  In this you think correctly.  . .This desire to engage in struggle has nothing to do with your sense of responsibility and duty.  It is merely your ego’s attempt to involve you in distractions that keep you from your real responsibility.  (A Course of Love, 1.14)”


Affirmation:  “May I strive to do Your Will today.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Struggles

We all have struggled long and hard for accomplishments in this world.  But Jesus would say that, in all likelihood, most of those struggles were instigated by the ego (an interpretation, not state in ACOL).  So, having given up the ego (or in the process of doing so), we do not have any reason whatsoever to “struggle” anymore.  The suffering entailed won’t buy us anything that we want.  So what is the difference between struggling and striving?

2 – Striving

Strive is, bottom line, more compassionate to ourselves.  It is also a more positive attitude.  A Course of Love does not want our sacrifice of ourselves for the “good” of somebody else (an ACOL tenet).  Sacrifice is never called for, according to ACOL.

3 – Guidance

But we will continue to strive to help, and it will not feel like work to do so.  We have guidance.  We are on the road to Christ-consciousness.  We have entered the time of Christ, and we are exiting from the guidance of the Holy Spirit (on which we depended mightily while studying A Course in Miracles).

4 – Christ-Consciousness

Very likely this transition to Christ-consciousness will not happen suddenly, though this sudden transformation is also a possibility.  We will see glimpses of Awakening before we sustain Awakening.  Let us ask for a glimpse today.  Elsewhere in ACOL Jesus encourages us to ask for a miracle, one that would put our minds at rest, one that would provide certainty that we are not alone.  Perhaps today is the day for us to ask for a glimpse of Awakening, for we can ask for miracles any day.  They are our birthright.  If you can conceive of the miracle happening, then indeed it can happen.  Do not be foolish about this recommendation, but do look inwardly before you ask.  We may all be surprised with what we are guided to request.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave behind the fruitless struggles of this world.  But may I remember my brothers and sisters who need my assistance.  To disengage from conflict is to drop the ego–nothing more.  I would strive when led to do so, but I would not struggle again.

This world is a place of struggle, and joining others in struggle does not help them.  We need to realize why this is so, and perhaps the passage for today will guide us in our interpretations.

Help us to have good days always.  If there are things that need to change in our lives, may we strive to change them.  But otherwise, let us be mindful of the needs of ourselves and  others, and seek to answer those needs without struggle.  Without the ego.

Amen.