An unfortunate result of this commandment
is that by the time we become adults, our avoidance
and evasion skills are badly under-developed.
When we finally get high blood pressure or ulcers,
we need to drop social duties and quit work,
but nothing in our upbringing tells us how to
make this escape.
isn’t one fibre of quitter in me”
A mind that sees “avoiding responsibility”
as cowardly and dishonourable will never achieve
full relaxation (ie letting go of all concerns).
It’s impossible to be duty-bound and happy at
the same time, which is why those who obey social
commandments usually look unsatisfied.
The more we dwell on
the more responsibilities we get.
Preoccupation with work, obligations
and duties is a potent form of negative self-hypnosis.
For example, every time a compulsively house-proud
person tidies up, he/she becomes more sensitive
to the onset of untidiness. Eventually it becomes
a necessary duty to vacuum every thirty
minutes, which does nothing but annoy the neighbours.
The ‘required amount’ of work
is arbitrarily determined. How often does the
car need washing; how much of our work
is necessary? More to the point, how
little could we get away with? People
who talk a lot about duty and responsibility
probably never know how much they depress everybody
It’s always better to
The ‘responsibility’ function
of an adult’s brain is to receive the cornucopia
of rich sensory impressions from the environment
colour, taste, touch, movement, sound
and then translate it all into problems
we feel responsible for. We find burdens wherever
we look because that’s what we’re educated to
do. Social roles such as ‘hard worker’, ‘responsible
parent’, ‘devout follower’, etc, merely allow
us a choice of burdens to identity with. If
we detach ourselves from these burdens, it’s
regarded as a moral breakdown.
Minor worries can be
The irritation/anxiety reaction
to a sudden problem is caused not by the problem
itself, but by the thought that we must do
something about it (ie that we’re responsible
for it). This is a conditioned response which
can be reprogrammed with a psychological gimmick.
The technique is to do nothing when you notice
a problem or rather, suspend judgement
for a few days. Problems often disappear by
themselves if they get the chance (especially
if they appeared by themselves). In settings
tinged with urgency or guilt (eg work or family)
they don’t usually get the chance.
(If you’re not convinced by this,
and you remain attached to solving problems,
there’s always the comforting thought that as
long as you focus on problems, there’ll be an
endless supply of them which conveniently
justifies the need to solve them).
Often the unpleasant
effort ‘required’ to solve a problem is just
The cliché, “never put
off until tomorrow..”, can be reversed for
people who worry about problems. It’s always
better to postpone worrying. An effective
postponement device is the ‘worry sheet’, which
is a piece of paper for writing down your problem/worry
as it occurs so you can forget it now,
and deal with it at some later date. Minor worries
can be postponed indefinitely.
Rather than putting off life’s
pleasures until after you’ve solved all your
problems (ie after you’re dead), you postpone
all the worrying until after you’ve finished
having a good time.
Often (and probably subconsciously),
the unpleasant effort ‘required’ to solve a
problem is just ritualised self-punishment.
This results from the dubious belief that we
deserve our problems (and thus require punishing).
When this notion is replaced with the understanding
that you deserve nothing but effortless bliss
and happiness, many problems seem to vanish.