Human rights and human responsibilities

Some cite human rights when they refuse to take the vaccine or wear a mask.

For me, human responsibility is equally important.

I chose to take the vaccine and wear a mask because I want to protect others. I want us all to move through the pandemic as fast as possible. I want to be part of our collective solution and not contribute to the problem.

That’s my human responsibility.

Also, human rights are not just for me. Other people have their own human rights. They have the right to expect me to do my part. They have the right to expect me to take the vaccine, wear a mask, and do whatever else I can to protect them.

The question is: Do I value the human rights of others as much as my own? Do I value my human responsibilities as much as I value my human rights?

Distressed because we put the blame out there

When something happens and the mind sees as unfortunate, it tends to try to put the blame out there – onto others, God, life, or even being a victim. (The victim identity is “internal” to the self concept, but is still seen as “other” and “out there”.) What we blame depends on our worldview and background and can include childhood, parenting style, ancestors, karma, evolutionary traits, and any sub-personalities we see as screwing things up for us.

Putting blame “out there” is distressing since it’s not entirely true. There is a distressing battle between what we tell ourselves and others about the situation (the blame), and what we know about the situation if we take the time to look (our part in it).

The truth is a combination of our own responsibility and a set of circumstances, and the more we can own our own part of it, fully and honestly, the more there is a sense of quiet and peace around the situation. It settles for us.

For instance, my life derailed in several respects when I made a major life decision that went against my own inner voice and knowing. I can blame life, others, childhood trauma and more, and there may be some truth to all of it. And yet, I didn’t find peace with it until I could find and take a more full responsibility of my part. I was the one making that decision, and I was the one who stuck with it for far longer than was comfortable. I know some reasons why I did it (fears, trauma, cultural expectations), and they are part of the picture, but the real peace comes when I take a fuller responsibility for my part.

For me, it really helps to talk with good friends about this, as a confession. It helps “cement” my responsibility, and it helps the turmoil around it settle.

I was reminded of this when I saw a press conference with Therese Johaug, a Norwegian skier. She was caught using illegal medication (in this case, it seems to have been medication for sun burn), and she put all blame on her doctor. It’s very understandable since she needs to do what she can to avoid being excluded from future competitions. And it’s also understandable since many of us react and initially put the blame out there when something like this happens. At the same time, avoiding taking responsibility creates a great deal of distress. And it was her responsibility to look it up for herself and make sure it wasn’t on the list of banned medications.

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Adyashanti: you need to take responsibility for what’s happening

The teacher can light a fire, but the teacher is not going to complete the process for you. Transmission is most powerful for people who feel a sense of resonance with what is being offered. If the resonance is there, a potential is ignited. Once the potential is woken up, then you need to take responsibility for what’s happening.

Don’t just sit around waiting for the teacher or the teacher’s transmission to do it for you, because then you come into a dependent relationship. And as soon as you come into a dependent relationship psychologically or emotionally, the effect of the transmission is dampened down tremendously. It just kills it right on the spot.

It’s like putting water on a fire. We need to become responsible for our own transformation because no teacher can in any way do everything for us. We’ve got to do it for ourselves. We’ve got to look for ourselves. Being in the presence of somebody might light a fire spontaneously, but you yourself have to tend that fire.

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Anthony de Mello on waking up and responsibility

That’s the reason why I told you the wise guru will not attempt to wake people up. I hope I am going to be wise one of these days and make no attempt whatsoever to wake you up if you are asleep. None of my business! My business is to do my thing, to dance my dance. If you profit from it, fine, if you don’t, too bad. As the Arabs say, the nature of the rain is the same but it grows thorns in the marshes and flowers in the garden.
– Anthony de Mello, 3:55 to 4:45

I am responsible for my my own choices, actions, words and how I relate to situations. All of that has infinite causes, but I am still responsible for it. And the more I take responsibility for my own life, the easier it is for me to see that we are all responsible for our own lives. I am responsible for what I do, you for how you receive it. You are responsible for what you do, I for how I receive it. There is a great relief in seeing this.

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Taking responsibility and the Dark Night

This goes for any of us any time, and it also seems to be a key for me right now.

It is easy to slip out of taking full responsibility for our actions. When things don’t go according to plan, I may – sometimes slightly and sometimes more obviously – go into victim mode, and ask why me? Why is …. [he, she, they, God, life] doing this to me?

Instead, I can take responsibility for my own actions.

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