The Tricky Thing About Self-Responsibility

If we simmered all the teachings from the Pathwork Guide for a year, reducing and reducing and reducing them, they would all boil down to this: self-responsibility. Yet this notion that something in us is at the heart of all our disturbances can easily go sideways.

One problem lies with the issue of awareness. We’re simply not aware of what we’re not aware of. And as long as we lack awareness of the origin of our conflicts in life, we can’t see how we could possibly be responsible for them. Here lies the crux of the challenge of being human.

The only way to truly unwind our difficulties in life is to look for where they truly originate. And always, that place is inside us. It's all about self-responsibility.
AbouThe only way to truly unwind our difficulties in life is to look for where they truly originate. And always, that place is inside us. It’s all about self-responsibility.

In her excellent book Left Neglected, neuroscientist Lisa Genova tells a story about Sarah, a woman in her 30’s who suffers a brain injury. What’s fascinating is that the injury steals the woman’s awareness of everything on her left side. So she must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole.

At one point in the story, her husband is visiting her in the hospital. She asks him to tell her everything he sees in the room. He names the bed, sink, chair, door, window. Then she ask him to say what’s on the other side of the room, the side he can’t see. He’s confused. There isn’t another side. But that’s her experience now. She has no awareness of one side of life, which is everything on the left.

You could say our unconscious is, in effect, everything on the left. It’s the part of life we can’t see. As such, we don’t even know where to turn to start looking for it. Most people are unaware it even exists.

Uncovering the Whole Truth

In a channeling by Pat Rodegast, the wise and loving spirit named Emmanuel said something confusing. He said, “There is no such thing as ‘cause and effect’.” This is quite contrary to the many teachings from the Pathwork Guide about cause and effect.

Perhaps what was meant is that there’s no such thing as cause and effect as long as we only look for it through the lens of our conscious awareness. For when that is the case, we tend to think our misfortunes are related something we did wrong. Like, I bet that accident happened because I killed that bug. When we get lost like this, it’s nearly impossible to see how we are actually creating—or at least contributing to—our problems.

No matter how wrong the other may be, if we are troubled, there’s something in us that’s amiss.

Too often, we figure our struggles must be caused by something other than us. This leads to blame and the feeling that we’re a victim. And yet neither blame or victimhood can lead us to freedom.

For no matter how wrong the other may be, if we are troubled, there’s something in us that’s amiss. As such, blaming can never reveal the whole truth. In fact, blaming and feeling like a victim, according to the Guide, are part of our mask. That’s the outer layer of our personality where our ineffective defenses live. These are basically strategies we use to avoid pain, but which only bring us more pain.

Back to self-responsibility, the only way to truly unwind our difficulties in life is to look for where they truly originate. And always, that place is inside us. The way forward then is to unwind our hidden untruth and release the old unfelt pain associated with it. This is what we’ve been running from for eons. It’s time we start to see the whole truth.

But this is exactly where things become tricky. For the moment we catch on that we are responsible for our troubles, we turn on ourselves and start to judge ourselves as being bad or wrong. After all, we’re compelled by the illusion of duality to split everything into good or bad, right or wrong.

Yet as the Pathwork Guide teaches, the unconscious does not respond well to a moralizing attitude. So if we’re hoping to give up the untruthful secrets behind our struggles, we’ll need to find another approach.

What’s a Better Approach?

The best way to move ahead is to become curious. What could I possibly be hiding that I have not been willing to see? One area to explore is our faults. For in fact, all human beings have faults. Yet our faults are not the truth of who we are. They can’t be. Because they are always built on a foundation of untruth. They are, in short, a distortion of the truth.

What is meant by “distortion”? It means that every fault was originally a divine quality. During the Fall, all divine qualities became twisted. So a fault contains a highly charged current of energy, but now it’s distorted. And until we unwind our faults and discover the untruth pinning them in place, they will continue to rule and ruin our lives.

Our faults are not the truth of who we are. They can’t be.

Here’s the rub. Since they are charged with energy, acting on our faults will activate our life force. In other words, our faults light us up. When we act on them, we get a hit of energy (although it doesn’t actually feel good). And that’s why we like them so much. Yet anything based on untruth is bound to produce unpleasant results, both for us and for others.

The Importance of Change

Changing our ways is what life is all about. We must see where we have been in distortion, where we have acted from our faults, and then correct our course. We must allow ourselves to feel remorse for any pain we have caused by what we have done, or not done, due to error.

But as we step into self-responsibility, we must not slip into moralizing guilt or shame. For we will uncover far more light through curiosity than by judging ourselves or others.

“True remorse has nothing to do with either guilt or shame. With remorse, we are simply recognizing where we fall short. These are our faults and impurities, our shortcomings and limitations. We’re admitting that there are parts of us that violate spiritual law. We feel regret and are willing to admit the truth about our destructiveness. We recognize that it’s a useless waste of energy and hurts others and ourselves. And we sincerely want to change.”

Pearls, Chapter 17: Discovering the Key to Letting Go & Letting God

So is that what most people do when our outer conflicts and disharmony show us where we have work to do? Do we admit our errors and work to uncover the truth? No, typically we double down on our errors and fight to be right. Most of us would rather die than admit we were wrong.

This, in fact, is one of the most challenging parts of the whole process of self-discovery: becoming humble. Yet that is the only antidote to our pride. Humility, then, is one of those divine quality that has gotten twisted.

Truth is a Solid Foundation

If we build our house on sand, it might last for awhile. But eventually things will start to crumble and collapse. We may even have forgotten we decided long ago to build on sand. But that doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

In the end, anything not built on a solid foundation of truth will eventually collapse. It must. So it can be rebuilt the right way.

The era that’s now arriving is going to further shake whatever is not sound, whatever has been built on sand. The way forward is for each of us to look for the roots of disharmony in ourselves. Because what we’re seeing in the world today is nothing other than a reflection of the inner landscape of the people living in it.

We must collectively come to realize that the only way to get to the other side of our challenges is by stepping through the doorway of self-responsibility. And that’s exactly what the Pathwork Guide is showing us how to do.

–Jill Loree

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