They Say I Did This

They Say I Did This 

(Originally posted August 26, 2012)

This is getting posted a tad bit late. I arrived home late last night, later than I had anticipated, from my KY prison visit.

I learned while making this visit that an inmate does not say “I did such and such a thing/crime/virtually anything.” rather they will say the phrase “they say I did such and such” instead of ‘I did such and such.’

This got me to thinking about the idea of personal responsibility or personal accountability.  I understand why they say it that way.  It so  they do not admit to doing anything, as to say otherwise would be or could be an admission of guilt. It got me to thinking how many ways we also avoid personal accountability for our actions.

We may not use the exact phrase but often times I think we may try to avoid personal responsibility in a variety of other ways. Such things as equivocating, offering a mitigating excuse for an action as if somehow it will absolve us of responsibility.

Other ways we engage in this is to say we had no control over events or circumstances, as if we are somehow a mere innocent player in our own story. We also sometimes may even avoid considering our motivations or our actions, just acting merely on a whim.

It also got me to thinking how easy it is to go through life only concerned with our own objectives. When we drive our car it is usually all about our personal destination or goal we consider. If we even think of other drivers it is primarily to avoid them. But how often do we think about what actions we could engage in without hurting ourselves that would help others to accomplish their goals, a sort of proactive approach to interacting with other people.

These are just some ruminations from my trip; perhaps something for your personal consideration.

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About Ryusho 龍昇

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.