The title of this article might seem out of place and even slightly unnecessary. You might be wondering how a word of such meaning, can be used to describe something as normal as responsibility. There might also be the chance of your thoughts being along the same lines as what I am about to discuss here.
This will be a psychological perspective on responsibility. The role the ego mind plays in all of this and then as a result of this, how it filters out into our every day life and society. How it forms the way we look at every aspect of our life.
And along with responsibility there is also the area of power or empowerment. I will talk about how these two seemingly unrelated parts actually go hand in hand and cannot be separated.
What Has Our Ego Mind Got To Do With Responsibility?
I believe that in order to understand the nature of responsibility, we have to look at the ego mind. This is the master control system of our body and our life; it has the ability to control what we see and what we don’t see, what we experience and what we don’t experience. It also makes its decisions and choices based on what it perceives as safe and therefore what is familiar to us.
It also has many ways to protect itself during moments when its own sense of safety is under threat and or when it perceives its own safety is under threat. In the first example I am talking about a situation that is real and the second example I am referring to a situation that might seem like a threat to our ego, however it is only a threat due to an interpretation or projection that is arising from past experiences. What it uses to protect itself is called a defence mechanism.
These defence mechanisms allow the ego to protect itself from what it perceives as a threat to its own safety. And although this might sound like I am referring to a life or death situation, it could be something that is the complete opposite. For example, if during our younger years we were told off or scalded for smiling or showing emotion it can create an association of smiling or showing emotions is unsafe. And this can naturally lead to one finding it hard to show a full smile or to express how one feel’s.
So by the ego protecting itself and using defence mechanism, it begins to create its own version of life, what could be called a fantasy world. It’s not reality itself, but a version of reality that corresponds with what the ego mind perceives as safe. It then begins to project its own conflict into the world and interprets every experience it has, based on what is familiar and safe. This of course makes it extremely difficult to be present.
Loss Of Responsibility
As it utilizes these two approaches of projecting its disharmony onto reality and through interpreting what its sees, it begins to lose its ability to look within. To see that what it sees and how it perceives what it sees, is actually appearing as a result of what it has come to learn or should I say associate, as being safe.
And upon the reflection of this, it becomes easy to see that living our life completely in our ego can cause us to feel powerless and a victim.
Pretending To Be Powerless
The more defences we build in our own mind, the more we cut ourselves of from our true nature. The more we go from a whole human being to a person that feels isolated and cut of from there own centre and from life itself. And naturally if we become completely identified with our mind, we will feel powerless and cut off.
It’s a bit like a wheel on a car thinking that it’s all alone and that there is nothing it can do, when ultimately it is not only the wheel, it is connected to something much greater.
Our ego is there to allow us to be individuals, to have our own purpose and yet through the conditioning we receive that causes one to forget this, we end up victimising ourselves
So if we are not our mind and we are actually part of much more, how powerful are we?
So once we have become indentified with our mind and momentarily lost our own ability to question what is safe, we become trapped by what are mind perceives as safe. And if what we perceive as safe makes us feel powerless and hopeless, then a natural occurrence here is that we will need some one else or something else is going to give us what we want.
This brings to our attention how important it is to be conscious and to develop our ability to observe our mind.
As we start to lose awareness of our own behaviour, thoughts, feelings, emotions and how the environment is affecting us, we then lose our ability to see what is known as cause and effect operating. This is the ability to observe that what happens in our life is usually the consequence of something internal or an external factor. However, when we have little to no awareness of these aspects, we not only become frustrated, we also feel like a victim and that we have no control over our lives.
A result of this ignorance is that we not only create lives as individuals that seem random and out of our control, but also a society and world at large that seems random and out of our control.
However, it is my outlook that through the awareness and observation of how these defences work, and becoming connected to our own self, we will be able to see the patterns and behaviours that come from our internal processes that are co-creating the reality we are seeing.
Validating The Lie
Having awareness and being able to observe the cause and effects nature of life, is extremely difficult, not just because it takes patience, and commitment, but because the society and the world we live in is largely based on the dysfunctional paradigm that things just happen and that life is random.
It doesn’t take much reflection to see how destructive this paradigm is. So not only do we have to deal with the dysfunction in our own lives, and becoming conscious, we also have a society that is constanty validating the illusion of life being random and that we are victims of circumstance. This assists our egos sense of separation and that we are mere victims of circumstance. It creates a loop of further misery, like a hamster on a wheel, going round and round.
Another consequence of this is that by everything being seen as random and out of our control, the whole idea of what we see is feedback to what we believe goes out the window. This is then replaced by such things as Statistics, DNA, Bad luck and other such things. Which of course is not only disempowering, it is also false.
Responsibility, Freedom And Empowerment
This removes our individuality and our personal responsibility; this not only arrests our evolution as human beings, it also prolongs our unconscious tendencies and assists in out continuation of living our life through defences. The only downfall here is that by doing so, we give our power away in the process. As we renounce our own responsibility, not only do we give our power away, we also lose our own freedom.
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Oliver J R Cooper
One of the questions I have been asking myself recently is; are we seeing reality based on how it is today or are we interpreting and creating it based on what happened in our past
The first response to this question could be; Of course we are seeing reality for how it is today, what else is there.
This sounds like a reasonable and even a logical conclusion, to think that we are just experiencing life as it is and there is only one meaning when it comes to the situations and experiences in our life. But what if there is not an absolute meaning and the only meaning we usually see is based on our own projections and interpretations’ of what happens.
Where Do They Come From?
So the next question that might come to mind is; where do these projections and interpretations, which we have, come from? And what stops one from being fully present and to be able to see reality for what it is today?
My current understanding is that they originate in our younger years. This is through the projections, interpretations and ideas that the people around us have about us during these formative years.
As we come to accept and embody how the people around us respond and behave, we start to create a dysfunctional view of not only ourselves, but also of the world.
What I mean by this is that instead of seeing situations in our life as unique and different from the last, we can end up seeing each one as if it were the same.
Our Inner Child
Although our body has changed and many years have passed since we were children, the child we once were still lives within us.
What this means is that all of the experiences we had as children that caused us pain and conflict will continue to play out in our life, until this inner child is acknowledged and healed.
The inner child is not something we can deny or separate ourselves from and influences every part of our life.
This is because it is constantly trying to make up for all of the needs that were not fulfilled when we were a child and unless we can begin to observe our inner child, we will react and perceive the world through the eyes of our inner child.
Emotional Age And Chronological Age
So if we are still unconsciously identifying with our inner child and therefore playing out these old patterns and behaviours, it is not to much of a surprise that we can find ourselves acting in ways that are reactive and unconscious. Ways that don’t reflect how we want to behave or that truly reflect who we are and that attract us into situations that mirror our childhood.
Our body will continue to grow, but our inner child is still craving and searching for all the needs that were not sufficiently met. And a consequence of this is that our emotional intelligence could be far removed from how old we are and our biological age.
With these experiences being the first point of reference for us as a child, this creates an association of familiarity and as a result safety for our ego mind. As I currently see it, there is two parts to this process.
One is that these ways of acting and perceiving the world might have been functional for us as a child and yet as we grow and develop as individuals, this might no longer the case. The other is that although it was dysfunctional for us even as a child, it is our inner child’s only point of reference and therefore it holds onto the memory and reference point as a way to protect itself.
However, through the process of observing our inner child and as a result merging with it, in the place of fighting it, we will see that there is always another way for us to act, and to see the world. To be able to see through the eyes of who we are today and not through the eyes of what was safe for us many years ago
A big part of how our ego mind works is through its function of holding onto what it perceives as safe. From my experience I would say our ego mind is largely conditioned by our childhood. So even though consciously we can have the desire or intention to let go and to act in ways that reflect our true nature, our ego mind would rather die than let go.
What I have just said might sound a bit exaggerated. But with our ego being the most primitive and oldest part of the brain, it hasn’t got the ability to question. This is the part of us that functions in very basic ways. The fight, flight or freeze response, arises from here.
This comes back to the nature of the ego, with change meaning death. This is why the more we fight our mind the more frustration and anger we will accumulate.
Being The Observers
This brings to our attention the importance of being a conscious human being, to evolve from our primitive natures and to operate in the world as a whole human being. That lives not only from our body, but also from our hearts. To observe ourselves and to question why we do what we do.
To fight or to resist our mind will only assist in strengthening our ego mind. As the saying goes ‘what we resist persists’. Becoming the observers of our mind means to step out from the mind, removing the resistance and the fighting. To move away from the black or white or all or nothing dual nature of the mind.
This of course is a process and like anything else in our life, involves commitment and perseverance. It is not always pleasant facing those deep parts of ourselves that we have long denied and neglected. However, I believe that what we gain from it or should I say reveal from it, is far greater than anything we will have to face.
If you feel this has been of value to you please leave a comment or get in touch with me. I appreciate your comments and views.
Oliver JR Cooper
Teacher, Author, Transformational Writer & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.
A Dialogue With The Heart - Part One
A Dialogue With The Heart - Part Two
A Dialogue With The Spirit
Why Does He Behave That Way? Why Do I Behave This Way?