Seventh Declaration of Principles- We affirm the moral responsibility of individuals, and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature's physical and spiritual laws. (We bring unhappiness to ourselves by the errors we make and we will be happy if we obey the laws of life.)
The term "moral responsibility" refers to the duty that individuals have to act in accordance with the moral principles that are important to their social communities and to humanity at large.
When I think of duties I think of honesty, integrity, moral courage, and acts of selflessness. Over the many years that man has roamed the earth hard work was considered paramount to survival and that in doing so was its own just reward. Each day was filled with hard work and there was no discussion about happiness. For many in our global family that is still true today. Just the same I wonder if there are individuals who like Jonathan Livingston Seagull "try to behave like the other gulls; screeching and fighting with the flock around the piers and fishing boats, diving on scraps of fish and bread"…choose to spend their time learning to "fly" because there is so much more to their human existence.
In our society, many forms of communication now include the topic of happiness as a bench mark to a successful life. We can agree that happiness, or at least acting happy, or at the very least not inflicting one’s unhappiness on others, is important in making the world better than any other human trait. Consider the effects of an unhappy parent on a child. Ask people raised by an unhappy parent if that unhappiness still lingers. Consider the daily interactions a person may endure in a toxic work place and how it may be carried to all aspects of his or her interactions. Even though our country's Founders were wise to include “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, our nation these days does not project happiness in its rhetoric. What am I to do when there is so much noise around me?
Fortunately, the level of control over this process is manifest through the natural and spiritual laws of infinite spirit. We are much like a gardener. Our role in all of this is not to manipulate the sunshine, or cause the sky to rain, but to nurture and provide the conditions for the seeds we make to grow. The seeds of compassion, kindness, and responsibility, which will ultimately yield the fruits of the highest spiritual life. As we wisely fulfill this role, within ourselves we witness the stirrings of new understanding and opportunity to experience the true life we desire.
I know that I as a spiritual being having human experiences I have the opportunity to act splendidly in every way. This means I alone am morally responsible for my every action, feeling and thought that I create. I also recognize that as expressed in the Christian scriptures, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" and some days I will act badly. As I continue to learn and unfold my spiritual awareness I lose the option of saying, "It's not my fault." When operating from a higher vibration, I will now say "I own my actions and, I will clean up any mess that I have made, and I will rejoice in knowing I planted good seed." I will tuck these learning opportunities away in my living journal and will endeavor to respond differently in the future from wiser choices. I have the responsibility to contribute right actions to the greater good of humankind and will make my own happiness from doing so.