Tuesday, June 14, 2011

...obligation...





"Obligation is the weight of your own unacknowledged desire to please."

~ Ken Wilber

21 comments:

  1. Another thoughtful post that speaks directly to my heart!

    My desire to please has been such a strong motivator to me for so many years. I've been trying to let go of it, and as I have, I feel at once a sense of freedom and one of guilt.

    It's my hope that by practicing this more, I'll balance out and feel the freedom without the guilt. Perseverance!

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  2. Marion: You bring up another interesting emotion - "guilt". There are 3 forms of guilt and we need to be able to tease them apart and evaluate the emotion to really be free ...
    1. Real guilt as a form of responsibility
    2. Compensatory guilt as a defense against fear or angst.
    3. Existential guilt.

    James Hollis, Ph.D. says: "Most of us were conditioned to be nice rather than real, accomodating rather than authentic, adaptive rather than assertive." This leads us to use guilt as a defense against fear of being disliked when we leave our conditionning and become more authentic.

    What you describe is not 'real' guilt - for you have done nothing wrong. It is more likely a defense to protect you from the real feeling underneath the 'guilt' - probably fear or anger.

    Think about it and see if it fits for you ... or not.
    :)

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  3. Ellen: Yes, I think this hits home for all of us. In this culture we truly are conditionned to feel obliged to please, conform, accomodate, not make waves ... etc. Then we come to believe that our conditionning is what we desire. How bass-ackwards!

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  4. oh snap, way to cut to the quick on that one bonnie...and love the pic!

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  5. Brian: Yes, why doesn't anyone tell us this when we are fifteen?!!!

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  6. Oh yes. And as for your comment just above mine (unless someone posts theirs before I do), that's a good reminder that WE should be making sure our fifteen year olds understand this. Wonderful pic.

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  7. HI BONNIE - another though provoking post, word actually!! oh how I feel obliged to do things so often. For me It is more about knowing what my efforts will mean to another person. In that I feel obliged to consider them and yes, it sounds altruistic, but it is not. No one is truly altruistic.
    Love ail
    peace.....

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  8. Obligation is such a hot button for me. Like Marion, I have such a strong desire to please, and as I am learning to cut back, I struggle with the overwhelming sense of guilt. Which is not an improvement over the feelings of resentment that comes from being pushed into doing something at your own expense.

    I think it will get easier once you come to the realization that others should respect your time as much as you respect theirs.

    This post leaves much to ponder, and as always so timely. Thank you.

    PS Love this image.

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  9. "Probably fear or anger!" Exactly, Bonnie!

    Thanks for providing this additional detail, it, once again, resonates with me.

    Think I'll just sit with the emotions and experience them, feel what's underneath the guilt

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  10. Hilary: Great point. Let's keep our children from living life tangled in these threads!

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  11. Gail: I guess the question to ask, as the quote in an above comment by James Hollis implies, is - if when we are acting out of obligation, are we being authentic?

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  12. Mila: Thank you. Did you read my comment response to Marion for further understanding on the dynamic between obligation and guilt?

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  13. Marion: That is truly the key to learning about what drives us - to 'sit with the emotion'. We will then learn from it, or watch it leave. :)

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  14. Heavy are the shoulders that bear this weight. I remember something said by Krishnamurti when he was asked to summarize what he really believed. His response was, "I really don't care what happens." Deceptively simple, I say, but profound once you think about it.

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  15. George: It is profound, considering it goes against everything culture and religion teaches us. Perhaps he could say that because he had arrived at the point where he knew he would accept whatever came his way - so it did not matter to him what happened. As you suggest, simple ... but not easy. Certainly freeing. I have only ever experienced brief moments of such liberation. You?

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  16. maybe i feel i have to focus out of obligation...both your comment and this post may make me rethink it. :-) thank you!

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  17. julochka: happy to make a tiny contribution to your very creative life. :)

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  18. A stunning piece of art...you are so talented. Yes, it definitely speaks to the viewer’s heart. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comment. genie

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