You are learning much in this life about responsibility. The notion that you create your own reality is becoming widespread and many of you espouse it heartily. But what about when times are hard or you are ill?  And especially what if you are ill over a long period?

Can it be true that you are responsible for this also, that you are responsible for bringing prolonged suffering to yourself?  And if true, how can this be tolerated?  What kind of person is it who causes themselves suffering? Surely only a fool or a villain?

Let’s begin with a vital distinction.  Responsibility has nothing to do with blame or shame. One of the great virtues in your willingness to take responsibility is that it empowers you.  What you are willing to take responsibility for, you are also able to change. Now notice what happens to you when you feel blame or shame. Let yourself feel a little of these emotions for a few moments, just enough to notice how your body responds. I think you’ll find that your body begins to curl up or it becomes more rigid or it sags or responds in some way that diminishes your ability to move freely.  These emotions disempower you.

But if taking responsibility empowers you, how are you to respond when a chronic condition, for instance, resists your best endeavours? Maybe there is not guilt or shame, but perhaps there is a fear of incompetence? If only you were more evolved, stronger, better, then you could make that difference?

Here is another important distinction. It comes in two parts. Firstly, responsibility and the empowerment that comes from it does not always mean being able to make the changes you desire; for you create your experiences from many different levels of your being, while you naturally tend to be most aware of your desires at the human level. Secondly, the amount of change you create is only a measure of your skill if you take into account every level at which you exist – and these are very many. If you measure your skill by the amount of change you are aware of generating here on Earth, you will not have any true sense of your degree of skillfulness. So neither the quality nor the quantity of change you create is a measure of your skill, unless you are able to see a much bigger picture than is currently available to you.

There is a good reason for having this limited viewpoint.  The earth plane is a particular kind of arena, that allows you to focus in on fine details and to slow time right down, so that you can examine in a kind of slow motion the fine details you are focusing on. In order to do this effectively, most of you have elected to forget or temporarily ignore large swathes of your greater consciousness.  It’s like playing a card game, for instance, where you allow yourself to be temporarily engrossed in the game.  Imagine yourself playing cards on a train; you might well choose to forget that you are moving at eighty miles an hour, so that you can concentrate properly on the game in hand.

Nevertheless it is also true that it is your purpose to grow in consciousness.  You might be said to be developing the ability simultaneously to see the bigger picture and to focus on the fine details. The earth plane gives an ideal opportunity for developing this precious combination of abilities.

So then, should you find yourself experiencing a long-term illness or any kind of long-term issue that feels intractable, what is to be done?  Begin, as I have suggested, to do all you can, patiently and lovingly, to let go of shame and blame and all self-judgment. If you can, acknowledge that you may not know why you are experiencing this, but instead acknowledge that you are experiencing this. In other words accept the experience – “This is what I am experiencing”, you can say to yourself.

If you are experiencing pain, whether physical, emotional or mental, see if you can surround it in love.  Imagine that you are doing this quite literally; that love from your heart or somewhere deep within, has its own substance and you can use your intention to surround the pain (wherever you locate that) with this substance. Even if you experience the tiniest, briefest easing, you will have shown to a part of you that needs to know it, the power of love.

Ask inwardly, “What is this illness or lack of ease showing me?”  It does not matter if there is no instant insight; the act of asking begins a process that brings you answers under the guidance of your soul. The answers that come may be only glimpses from your human viewpoint, as if the card player on the train looks up and sees out of the corner of her eye the name of a passing station. There is much that is mysterious to you in this life. It may be that acknowledging the mystery is wiser than pretending it does not exist.

Understand that there are currents that flow through your life or even, we might say, that your life flows upon. These currents are enormous, subtle, complex and beautiful.  They are an aspect of your greater consciousness.  That greater consciousness is coming into your lives more and more strongly and by degrees it becomes easier for you to expand your personal consciousness into it. In time you will come to identify with these flows of greater consciousness, but for now it is still the case that you can simultaneously feel, truly, that you are causing and creating your reality and that you are simply being swept along by it.

If you find yourself ill, ill-at-ease or diseased, you may find it helps to think of this condition as a product of these two different ways of experiencing yourself. You can ask of yourself, “How can I make peace with this experience? How can I flow with the current which carries my life? What might this illness show me of the flow of the greater consciousness of which my life is part?”

Above all, know that you are not at fault, that you can create change (though that change may not always be what your human self desires or expects), that your condition is not a measure of your worth, and that your soul desires and works for your joy.

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