I took a small chunk from another entry to elaborate on this week [The entry was originally written on October 16th, 1997 – Dawn]. The entry goes in another direction after the first couple paragraphs, and I wanted to address what I like about this part separately from what I mostly don’t like about the rest of it. So, here it is, two paragraphs that I felt should be written about first.
Don’t forget to check out last weeks blog post, “About My Next Book”, to read the first chapter of “Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels”, set to release in December. Thanks for reading!
We are born to particular parents, into a particular situation, for particular reasons. We choose our own reason, we choose our own situation, we choose our own parents. Each individual’s upbringing, even in the earliest years, has volumes upon volumes of experience, of potential learning. These volumes are rarely recognized as being anything conscious: somewhere along the line they simply form who you are.
The way we think, the things we feel, the way we move, the way we talk, the way we interpret and react to the world is all a product of this conditioning. We are born a clean slate, and the largest portion of it is filled during our earliest years. We learn from those around us who we are, what we are expected to be. We learn at every level at the same time, a big part of why this is such an awkward time. The habits these people formed years ago, that they do automatically, we learn by watching them repeat their patterns.
One of the first concepts I encountered that quickly became a cornerstone in my personal philosophy is the concept of Ultimate Responsibility. Kindly note that I categorize this in my “personal philosophy” file, not my “social philosophy” or my “universal philosophy” files. More on that later…
There are many names for this concept, and it certainly isn’t mine. I think “Ultimate Responsibility” sums it up best, as that it somewhat explains the idea while naming it at the same time. The basic concept is that I chose this incarnation with full knowledge of what opportunities and challenges came along with it. The purpose of entertaining and possibly embracing this concept is that it requires leaving victim consciousness behind entirely.
I had a big problem with victim consciousness when I was first trying out life as an adult. I was quick to take credit for anything good that fell in my lap; but the majority of my life was crap, and the entirety of the blame for it fell on shoulders other than my own. Of course my life wasn’t really crap; I was just a typical spoiled American kid who thought I deserved respect without accomplishments and rewards without effort. Had my viewpoint at the time been more realistic, I would have realized that taking responsibility for being born in a place where life is immeasurably easier than most of the rest of the world is more than a little arrogant. All I could see was what I could criticize, and the way I saw it none of it was my fault.
The thought that I had chosen every aspect of this incarnation before being allowed to ride the ride was a bit of a boggler for my mind at first. All of my programming defaulted to pointing fingers outward even when explaining my own thinking and behavior. Even if this new and somehow familiar concept weren’t true, it opened up avenues of thinking that had been previously unavailable to my carefully narrowed mind.
I began to act as though it were true, that I had deliberately chosen to be in this body with this name, this family and this past. The planet I chose from all the possible possibilities, and the specific time period we on this planet call “now” because we are in it, were the best setting for me to experience what I want and need at this stage of my existence. It wasn’t lucky or unlucky of me to be raised in this culture at this time; it was quite simply appropriate.
This is where we should perhaps draw some lines. I expect myself to take responsibility for my place in this world and any affect I may have on it. I do not expect anyone but me to live by this philosophy, however. I am happy to explain this philosophy as best I can, and I can guarantee that proper personal application of this philosophy will improve any individual that adopts it.
Many people at this point ask about babies that starve around the world every day, innocent people that are victims of war or terrorist attacks, and folks that are born in less privileged parts of the world. Did they choose to be born in that place at that time in that body?
When this question arises, it is invariably some spoiled American who has never known real poverty or actual starvation doing the asking. I have to judge at this point just what kind of person I am discussing this matter with before giving one of two answers. Don’t get me wrong; they are both honest answers. One is used to communicate this philosophy to those so obviously entrenched in their social conditioning and patterned programming that discussing life with them must be restricted to a very limited set of possibilities. Otherwise the conversation runs completely off the rails and no benefit comes from the interaction for either participant.
My answer to those with Earthbound souls and difficulty with thoughts not orbiting closely about them is simple: This is my philosophy in regards to myself. From my perspective, this philosophy is both empowering and devoid of blame. Living by this philosophy has made my life better without putting me above or below anyone in status, importance or progress. This is my personal philosophy, not my social or universal philosophy. Everyone gets to have their own personal philosophy.
Then there are those who may not see being part of an industrialized machine bent on the destruction or imprisonment of virtually everyone as being a particularly privileged position, no matter the fringe benefits. There are those who are aware that many people in economically impoverished countries consider themselves morally and spiritually far superior to the kindest of modern Westerners. There are those who understand that soul progress is the only valid currency in this Universe, and that the body’s circumstances are illusory.
To these people I point out that different souls have different needs and desires; and that assuming my contribution to the collective consciousness is more significant or less significant based on the fact that I have a job or a car is either an unfair judgement on me, on another, or both of us. What my soul needs is right here where I am. I cannot decide or predict what any other soul needs. I can see how this philosophy could have helped me no matter what situation I happened to be born into. At the same time, I understand that it can be hard to develop a personal philosophy without adequate food or shelter; not to mention books and literacy itself. I think it’s possible to see both the destructive and constructive influences on you and around you and appreciate the advantages the positives bring while acknowledging the inevitable effects of exposure to the negative more objectively through this lens.
It can be said that this is a first-world philosophy, and I won’t argue with anyone saying it. I also won’t argue with anyone who says this philosophy or some aspect of it has been largely instrumental in bringing individuals or families from a third-world to a first-world reality more than once. Looking at this philosophy from a place of assigning blame and credit is looking at it the wrong way. This philosophy is about taking responsibility for where you are so you can get to where you want to be. It may not be relevant to many people in the world, whether it happens to be true or not. I don’t pretend that I can prevent war or poverty or cataclysmic disaster by living this philosophy; I do know that this philosophy will aid me in living my life should I survive these things.
[Make sure to come back next Friday for the next installment from our Chapter by Chapter preview of “Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels”! As always, you can email your questions and comments to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading! – Dawn]