Are you response-able in your life? Do you take 100% responsibility for your life experience? Are you finding yourself at choice most of the time, even when you feel triggered by external events?
These are aims I passionately believe are worth striving for. In fact, they may be the very foundation of creating a purposeful and meaningful life.
So many of us look out at the world and see terrible brokenness and unnecessary suffering. We want to help, to stop the injustices we see, to put things right. Yet, we may fail to notice the places in our own lives, in our own relationships begging for us to “put things right.” The next time you catch yourself railing against world leaders and global injustice, pause and notice how they may be mirroring aspects of your personal world that require your attention. Until we learn to be response-able in our personal lives we can’t be counted on to be response-able in a global context.
To be response-able we must remember our Selves, we must find what renowned Italian psychiatrist and pioneer in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology Roberto Assagioli called our “unifying center.” In my practice I call this our Essence or sense of Wholeness. It is who we have come here to be.
One of the greatest accomplishments we can have in life is training ourselves to feel when we are in tune and really awake to our Essence and to grow to love that feeling so much that we won’t settle for anything less than that on a daily basis.
Assagioli saw humans as “tending naturally toward harmony within him [or her] self and with the world.” Yet the journey to achieve harmony is fraught with challenges as each of us must find some way to integrate the parts of ourselves that have been lost from the more innocent time of childhood while continuing to develop the adult capacity to see what’s unfolding in life as it is and take ownership over it.
Life is what we make of it. I make my life mean what it means, and you do the same with your life. With practice, you can completely re-pattern your response to your life. You can learn to differentiate yourself, and who you have come here to be, from what is happening in the moment – whether what’s happening confirms your worldview and sense of self or rocks it to its core.
Being able to see who you are as differentiated from the circumstances around you is what makes it possible to take 100% responsibility for your inner environment. It is not the circumstances in your life that illustrate how spiritually evolved you are, but rather your response to them.
What you see may bring up sadness and anger or joy and jubilation. Feeling emotions is part of what it means to be human, to be alive. Welcome your feelings, ALL of them. And then take responsibility for the experience you are having. Doing so will allow you to choose what you feel, think, see, and do next with greater ease and grace.
Response-able people have cultivated the capacity to allow what is arising in the moment to come forth and at the same time continue tending toward harmony, moving toward their unifying center. If you haven’t practiced this to some degree in your personal life, you are not likely to create much fruitful change in the larger context of the world.
I am not suggesting you turn a blind eye to what you see in the world that requires attention. However, be aware that attempting to create change in the world from a place of powerlessness or fear often does more harm than good. Once we become conscious of this, we only want to create new ways of living and being together when we are sure we are acting from our Essence. Yes, it is important to engage, but the bigger question is, “How can we engage without losing our connection to our Essence, our sense of Wholeness?”
The laboratory for testing our success is our personal life experience. We must practice first and foremost there, showing up with more love, more compassion, more wisdom and more understanding. While painful things are happening on the national and international level that reflects our collective incongruence with our true nature, we cannot allow ourselves to use those things as an excuse. We cannot let ourselves off the hook for maintaining our connection to our Wholeness and expressing who we have come here to be – whether we are taking out the trash, working in our cubicle, or marching in protest.
Remember, an awakened world happens one awakened person at a time, and the one and only person you have to worry about waking up is you.
So, let us become ready and willing to take 100% responsibility for aligning with who we have come here to be. Let us settle for nothing less than living an awakened life in harmony with and connected to our unifying center.
And let us make this promise to each other: “I will stay awake with you.”
About the Author
Rima E. Bonario is a dynamic spiritual leader, author, and speaker who is passionate about accelerating personal and planetary transformation. She is the co-author of The Art & Practice of Living with Nothing and No One Against You, a powerful workshop and workbook featuring the 21-day transformative practice called The Q ProcessTM. Rima is also co-author of Who Have You Come Here to Be? 101 Possibilities for Contemplation, part daily reader, part spiritual practicum. Drenched in gorgeous imagery, each powerful page invites readers to dance, to leap, to sit still, to stand tall as they ponder the question, “Who have I come here to be?” Rima is also a doctoral student in the field of transformational psychology at Holos University Graduate Seminary where she is conducting research on The Q Process and its potential as a tool to increase self-compassion and mindfulness. Read More About Rima.