Image by Stefan Keller
The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space. --- Eckhart Tolle
Responsible means able to respond, answerable for, trustworthy. Most of us would probably say we are responsible. But it is often the wrong response!
Trying to Take Responsibility for Others
Frequently, we are tempted to take responsibility for others, as in changing or healing them. As a peace activist, I know this one quite well. To me, doing human rights work in Central America actually seemed easier than doing the inner work, taking responsibility for myself. My ego loved focusing on educating others and urging shifts in U.S. policy. That somehow seemed more doable or important than taking responsibility for my own pain, my own mind, and my own unloving thoughts.
While Gandhi was in prison, a man wrote to him asking how he could help heal their country, to which Gandhi replied:
“Do not burden yourself with the responsibility of emancipating the country. Emancipate yourself, this burden is good enough. Begin applying all principles to your life, considering that you are India. In this rests the salvation of your soul. In this rests the salvation of India.” -- Gandhi
We may say, “If I could just change that other person (or country), my life will be better. If they would change, I would be happy.” Again, when we focus our energy on others, rather than ourselves, we interrupt their growth process, and hinder our own at the same time. We are not home taking care of our self.
Reclaiming Your Power & Creating Anew
Accepting and taking an honest, compassionate, and radical responsibility -- without judgment for self or others -- heals our world and our selves. When we deny, or blame someone else, we simply hand over our power. Are we responsible for what we have created, and for our experience here on Earth at this time? Or, did we just end up here, by fate, with no say in the matter? Or, perhaps it's someone else's fault: God, our parents, or the government.
When you stop seeing yourself as a helpless victim of a cruel and senseless world, then you can reclaim the power you used in creating it, and use that same power to create anew.
As we hold ourselves responsible, however, we must also hold our own government, banks, and other institutions responsible. We the American people are often resented more than represented, and our system is less a democracy than plutocracy -- rule by the elite. While about one percent of Americans were millionaires in 2009, forty-four percent of our members of Congress -- or 237 members -- were millionaires.
In recent years, we have not had a truly free and fair market, but a crooked, crony, corporate capitalism, which, for example, rewards the dirty industries of oil, coal, and nuclear power with billions of dollars in subsidies each year. The invisible hand that manages the market is often not an open hand of fairness but a closed fist of greed. All this comes at a cost. Mayan elder don Alejandro Cirilo Perez warns, “There will be grave occurrences on the face of the Earth. We won’t be able to buy the sun, the water, the air.”
Taking Responsibility for our Nation's Insanity
Yet each and every one of us needs to take responsibility for our nation’s senselessness and yes, even insanity. We have killed people to prove that killing is wrong. We have terrorized people to fight terror. We built and dropped bombs to punish others for having bombs -- which we often sell them, since the U.S. is the world’s biggest arms dealer. We have refused to see the true costs of our decisions and policies.
Returning to the events of September 11th, 2001, in the same way, forgiveness was ruled out. It was deemed treasonous to discuss any responsibility for our part in what occurred. Of course, bringing the guilty parties to justice is important. But it was, and is, political suicide to suggest that, along with physically securing our homeland, we could take a critical look at our government’s policies, our way of life, and our treatment of other peoples and the Earth itself.
Karma waves no flag. When we change ourselves now, we change what happens to us in the future.
Personal Healing is Global Healing
When we see the problems of this world as our own, as something we collectively create, then we can help heal them. On the other hand, we can release our narrow, anthropocentric focus and remember that it is not all about humans. The Earth will probably survive, even if many of us are removed.
Yes, there are present dangers and threats in this world, but it takes great presence, responsibility, courage, and vision to understand that the problem is in our own minds. And when we change our mind, we change the world. There is a Chinese proverb: When one leaf trembles, the whole bough moves.
Practice taking compassionate, radical responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
Contemplation: Radical Responsibility
Take a deep breath. Reflect:
* How is your life affecting the whole?
* In what ways have you been responsible?
* In what ways have you been irresponsible?
* How can you take radical responsibility for yourself, your energy, and your life?
Reprinted with permission of the author Roy Holman,
Holman Health Connections. ©2010.
Healing Self, Healing Earth: Awakening Presence, Power, and Passion
by Roy Holman.
As Americans face more frequent news of environmental catastrophe along with an increasing desire to improve their own health and lifestyles, along comes a book that seamlessly weaves the two concerns into an accessible guide for daily living. By author, activist and yoga instructor Roy Holman, this book provides a concise and clear understanding of the important topics of our time and how tending to our own personal growth can lead to the betterment of all.
The book is designed as a user-friendly handbook for those on-the-go as well as newcomers seeking in-depth understanding of a holistic lifestyle. Each of the 60 mini-chapters in Healing Self, Healing Earth includes stories, tips, quotes, daily practice points, and a meditation to guide the reader to a powerful and passionate life.
Click here for more info and/or to order on Amazon. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Roy Holman is a certified Yoga, Meditation, and Healing Instructor who has been teaching personal growth and Earth stewardship for over ten years and has been leading retreats to Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Sedona, and in his home state of Washington. Roy also spent several years abroad doing human rights work in Central America. In July of 2018, Roy was certified as a HeartMath Coach. HeartMath offers simple tools and techniques to help us move some of the energy out of our busy mind and to access our heart intuition and intelligence.
Visit his website at www.holmanhealthconnections.com.