People sometimes wonder if they should be doing something to create or cause their path to enlightenment or if they should wait for a big lightning bolt to hit them with Universal intelligence. There is more power in being responsible for your own actions.

The principle of “Cause and Effect” is, on the surface, pretty straightforward. What you do causes a particular something to happen. You flick on a light switch, a light bulb comes on. You neglect to pay a bill and the bill collector calls. You run head first into a brick wall and you’ll give yourself a tremendous headache!

The important point of cause and effect along the path to empowerment is to live our lives on the cause side of the coin, not the effect. Living from the effect side is the classic victim syndrome of “life is doing it to me.” It’s seeing ourselves as a victim to the circumstances and movement around us. From this place, we have no power, no choice, no ability to do much of anything except get smashed against the rocks in a river. The victim claims that “she made me angry” or “the economy ruined me financially.”

Being “at cause” is to acknowledge that we create our own reality. If in some form I “caused” the little old lady to pull in front of me and slow down, it’s clearer that I am then responsible for how I decide to respond to it. Being on the cause side allows us to be powerful, to choose, to create our own options of how we respond. It’s a place of total responsibility for the outcomes of our own lives.

One tricky thing about cause and effect is that the effect can happen at the same time as the cause or even precede the cause! Though we live in a time-bound material world that moves in linear fashion, the universe itself does not. Time and space are illusions. As Albert Einstein pointed out, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” He also said that “The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a persistently stubborn illusion.” Problem is that many of us take this illusion too seriously and it thwarts our efforts at growth.

For example, a student of mine was somewhat addicted to time. She wanted everything to unfold faster than it naturally did. She would find herself frustrated as she tried to control the process and speed up her learning. The lesson for her was to let go and let the process unfold in its own illusionary timeframe. Personal/spiritual growth has no set schedule. Once she got that concept, she found the freedom to walk through life with more peace and equanimity.

Be bold and create your own path, but trust in the process to bring true empowerment.