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Life Principle # 5: Own It!

by Bill Harris, Founder, Centerpointe Research Institute

In this article, the late Bill Harris discusses how your life will be empowered when you take responsibility, not just for what you do, but for how you think and feel.

Bill Harris

Bill Harris

Taking personal responsibility is not about blame but rather about personal power. If someone or something outside of you is the cause of your feelings or behavior, you are powerless – a victim.

If you or at least your unconscious processes are the cause, then you can exercise some choice in creating your feelings and behaviors. People or events may be a stimulus, but your response comes from you, either consciously or unconsciously.

Until you realize that you create your experience of your world, including all happiness and all suffering, you will be controlled by, and at the whim of, whatever is happening around you.

Your only chance for happiness will be to find perfect circumstances and to find a way to keep them that way. How likely is that?

Choose How You Respond

The truth is, you are responsible for every feeling or behavior you have, in the sense that it is either how you choose to respond to something that happens or an automatic unconscious response based on the way your internal map of reality has been structured.

You can live in a world where you think other people or events cause you to feel the way you feel, but you live in that world at a price. The price is feeling bad a great deal of the time.

When you take total responsibility for every feeling and behavior you have, you can choose to feel good or to behave in a way that has the greatest chance of having a good outcome.

There are three levels to what I’m talking about:

Level 1: The lowest level is living in your mind, where your mind is automatically and unconsciously creating a hallucination you believe to be reality. At this level, you are unconscious about how your mind creates what happens. This is where most people are.

Level 2: The second level is one where you’re still creating a hallucination, but at least it’s the hallucination you intend to create. You may or may not realize it’s a hallucination because you aren’t yet aware of the third level.

Level 3: In the third level, you’re not taking the internal map created by the mind to be reality, and you realize that this map involves pretending that there are separate things and separate events, that there is a separate you that does things to other separate things.

In the third level, you see the creations of the mind for what they really are—conceptual rather than real.

Level 1  Responsibility

When you let your mind run on automatic, it creates exactly what it has been set up to create by your past experiences. You feel like a victim. Life seems to happen to you.

Your feelings just happen to you, your behaviors seem to just happen, and your results seem to just happen.

This means that the creative process is going on under the surface, outside your awareness, and since you can’t see it, it seems as if what is going on around you causes what is happening.

Responsibility vs. Blame

An important side issue of Level 1 responsibility is that people confuse responsibility with blame. If I say, “you are responsible for what is happening to you” some people translate that as “you are to blame for what is happening to you.”

Blame belongs to the world of black and white, right and wrong, “me” and “not me”. People who are concerned about not being blamed almost always have been abused or traumatized in some way.

They feel like victims, and they want someone to blame—and they certainly don’t want it to be them. Because of their abuse, they strongly focus on what they do not want, and one of the things they do not want is to be blamed, to be wrong.

Begin by accepting this main premise: you are responsible for the feelings and behaviors you have—even if you cannot directly see how you are creating them.

Most feelings and behaviors are conditioned responses, and your internal map of reality unconsciously tells you to feel or behave in a certain manner when you are stimulated in a certain way.

Perhaps when your father yelled at you as a child, you felt afraid, then angry.

Once this has been set up as a conditioned response, like Pavlov’s dogs salivating when they heard the bell announcing dinner, someone yelling at you will cause you to become afraid and then angry and then you’ll react in a certain, preconditioned way.

It seems as if these emotions are caused by the yelling. They are not. They are triggered by the yelling, but they are caused by the conditioned response set up by your past, in your internal map of reality.

Change the parts of your internal map of reality that created this response and you have a completely different feeling followed by a completely different behavior.

Cause vs. Trigger

What is the difference between a cause that leads to a response and a trigger that leads to a response?

If there is more than one possible response, if different people respond in different ways to the same stimulus, the stimulus is a trigger.

If there is only one possible response, the stimulus is a cause.

Pouring water over your head makes your head wet. The water causes the wetness. Everyone who has the water poured over his or her head will get wet.
Yelling at someone could cause anger, laughter, disinterest, puzzlement, fear, or any number of other reactions. Yelling is a trigger, not a cause.

Even though yelling may result in some sort of uninvited feeling, just knowing that it is triggering your response is a start in taking responsibility for what is happening.

This is Level 2, where you begin the process of changing your internal map of reality so you can make different choices.

Level 2 Responsibility

You can move from Level 1 to Level 2 so that what happens to you is a choice rather than an automatic response you have to take responsibility for what you create and acknowledge the states you experience.

The way you experience what happens around you depends on what you do inside your head.

Your goal is to choose your response to each event.

Choose what is most resourceful for you, what makes you happiest, most peaceful, and most successful. As long as your response is automatic, you are at the whim of events and people around you.

It is only when you acknowledge that every feeling and every behavior is coming from you, that you will make progress toward this goal.

Choosing how to feel, the state you are in, and how you behave in the most resourceful way possible are major components of freedom.

This is a goal very worth working toward.

Holosync® meditation technology can be the best shortcut to becoming increasingly conscious. As you use this soundwave technology, your conscious awareness increases so you know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Quote by Jim Rohn


Our culture has popularized victimhood over the past several decades. No one is responsible for anything that happens to them. There’s an underlying belief that taking responsibility would be onerous, difficult, a struggle, or just too much work.

The truth is – without exception – being a victim is onerous, difficult, a struggle, and too much work. Being responsible for everything that happens, for every feeling and behavior is the easy way to live because it is the way to happiness, inner peace, and a productive life.

It is the surefire way to end all the dramas in your life.

When you take responsibility for the fact that you can operate your internal processing any way you want, and create nearly any outcome you want, you gain control over your life.


Level 3 Responsibility

In order to take responsibility for what you create, you have to start with the premise that there is a separate you who creates your reality and ultimately that isn’t true.

The separate you is a hallucination created by the mind, which chops things up into separate things and separate events including the idea of a separate you.

When you are responsible at this level, you step out of the world of the mind.

And that’s a very powerful place to be.

The thing to realize is that there is no separate you who is doing the spiritual practice.

The universe is doing the practice, through you.

Your Truest Self

Meditation calms the mind so it isn’t running all over the place. It allows you to see how your mind is creating the illusion of a separate self, along with creating all the other internal states and external results that seem to happen to the fictitious, separate you.

Meditation turns down the volume on the feeling of separation and creates increased awareness.

The reason the awakened person is so powerful is that he or she doesn’t buy into the idea that they are a separate self. They know that the universe is the doer, not them.

The wave on the ocean is not separate from the ocean. It rises up for a while, and then disappears back into the ocean. The ocean is doing the wave.

The 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi, explains it this way: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

You can more more separate a drop from the wave, or the wave from the ocean, than you can separate yourself from All That Is.

You are not separate from your truest self. You never can be.

About Centerpointe Research institute

Centerpointe LogoCenterpointe Research Institute was founded by the late Bill Harris in 1989. The Institute produces as it’s flagship a product called ‘Holosync®,’ an audio program formulated to recreate the brain wave patterns of experienced meditators. If you use this program daily, you can achieve the same results in 8 times the time it takes for traditional meditation.

If you would like to get a free e-book called ‘The New Science Of Super Awareness’ by Bill Harris, please visit this web site.

When you sign up, you will also be able to get the audiobook version as well as  a free demo of Holosync®