This is an excerpt taken from Radical Honesty, by Dr. Brad Blanton, PhD. These are some key lessons of life that cut across every philosophy, religion, and belief. To paraphrase one philosopher: “You are as much like God, as you as willing to take responsibility”. Another philosopher stated that: “The first and greatest lesson in life is to emotionally accept the premise: ‘I am responsible for me.”
For Mormons, or others into religion or spiritual, this principle of responsibility lies at the heart of these Gospel principles, among others:
- Being born again
- Love for God and your neighbor with ALL your heart, might, mind, and strength
- Making goals and commitments
Responsibility means that whatever you are doing, you are willing to experience yourself as the cause. You are the source of your troubles as well as of your successes. Wherever you are on the way to reaching your goals—whether you are cruising along, pulled over to the side of the road, or feel like you’re going backwards—the willingness to experience yourself as responsible is the crucial element of success.
As long as you are blaming, explaining, apologizing, trying, resolving to be good, hoping or feeling guilty, you are not being responsible.
[in other words: “Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.]
Trying to experience yourself as responsible won’t work. What you can do is declare yourself responsible, and then see what happens, it is possible to interrupt the powerless games we play to avoid being responsible. When we begin to interrupt those games, we can move on.
One of these games is called, “Okay, okay, I’m guilty.” This game is to make it look like you have taken responsibility for yourself when you haven’t. Admitting you are guilty is a great way to avoid being responsible.
There is a big difference between admitting you are guilty of failure, or “copping a plea,” and really owning your power as the creator of your life. Whether you feel guilty or not is irrelevant. Admitting you are wrong or were wrong is only a prelude to taking responsibility for your life. It is not enough. You have to make a commitment after you interrupt this game. After you acknowledge that you’ve been fooling yourself by trying hard, you have to make a public declaration of what you will now be responsible for creating. Stick your neck out. Put your ass on the line. Tell everybody what you are about, and by when you will get results, and ask them to help.
We all know that commitment is essential to creation. What has been unclear in our culture is what to do when you’re not committed to anything but struggle. When we feel powerless to keep our word, eventually we stop giving it.
Your wholeness—the experience of yourself the way you are must precede commitment, because to be anything less than your whole self is to be trapped in the morass of beliefs you have about who you are based on your case history. Commitment must be based on the awareness of what is, and on the willingness to be responsible for ourselves the way we are. That means if we are imperfect beings who make mistakes, break our word, get angry, and are selfish, greedy, petty, and unfair, we must make our commitment as those imperfect beings. We spend our lives waiting to get better so that we can accept ourselves. We refuse to enjoy life, refuse to accept that we are loved and forgiven, and refuse to tell the truth about who we are because we never quite meet our own standards. Perfectionists are people who would rather be the worst than be the second-best. Everyone who ever successfully made a change that worked and served as a platform for the next, did this first: they finally accepted themselves the way they were. They gave up the struggle to get better. Then, finally, they were free to change.
The source of your historical being and the source of your present being is like a generator that has been constant since it started. Getting back to your source is the first technique for change. When you pay attention to the being you are, you withdraw attention from the dilemmas of your mind.
This is at the heart of Buddhism, Yoga, Vedantic Philosophy, Christian salvation, and other forms and practices of enlightenment. When a Zen Buddhist sits and looks at a wall for fourteen hours a day for seven days in a row, he does it to be able to sit and look at a wall. To be able to sit and look at a wall and just sit and look at a wall is enlightenment. To sit and look at your life story like you would sit and look at a wall is to recontact your source in the same way.
Your heartbeat started about eight weeks after the egg that became you got fertilized. You tuned in to life by growing into attunement. That is who you are. To get back in touch with who you are when you have been lost in your mind is to get back to your source.
This is hard to do. You have to die to live. Your “pretend” self, that doesn’t include your imperfection, has to die. Then, you again become a whole being. You then have the power you have always had, only now you can use it consciously. This is the good life. It requires that you sacrifice the pleasure of crying yourself to sleep on a greasy mattress.