Guilt is the greatest sin. At least other sins will punish you after death. Guilt punishes you when you are alive. A guilty person can never be at ease with himself. He will always lack self-confidence. He will always look for a leader for guidance. This is where the society steps in and exploits him. The moment you start feeling guilty about something you can be exploited.
Living Enlightenment is living with the intelligence of Consciousness instead of the guilt of conscience.
What is Guilt?
When you have desires you have guilt as well. Guilt is the opposite face of desire. Sometimes you feel guilty about desiring something because you feel it is not right to desire it. Other times you feel guilty when your desires are fulfilled because you feel you are not deserving of what you receive. When your desires do not come true you feel guilty because you feel you have not done what you ought to have. Desires invariably lead to guilt.
For example when you were in school, you might have said a few mean things to one of your friends which caused a relationship to break. Now, this many years later, with the intelligence that you have, is it right to review that incident and feel guilty? No! At that time you had only that much intelligence, so you behaved in that fashion. Now, you have updated intelligence.
It doesn’t make sense to review the past with your present intelligence.
The Futility of the Past
What is gone is gone. What has been done is done. You cannot undo it. Now if you constantly think about the past and feel guilty, you destroy your present and your future too. Nothing can do done about it, so guilt is useless. What can you do?
All that you can do is not repeat the same pattern again, that’s all. At that time wih whatever intelligence you had, you acted, that’s all.
Yet, we always let the past affect us. How do we allow the past to affect us? In two ways,
- If you review your past incidents or decisions using the present intelligence, you create guilt in your being.
- If you take the present decisions based on past experiences, you will be repeating the same past into the future also, may be in a little updates fashion!
Even though you might not commit exactly the same mistake, you will be moving in the same experiential level, in the same plane. Our mind falls into a groove, a track, a mindset that forces it to do what it has always done. So we keep making the same mistakes.
Three Kinds of Guilt that Kill our Intelligence
Three kinds of guilt take root in us and kill our intelligence:
1. Guilt created by immediate family – Before the age of seven, guilt is created by your immediate family. If you don’t do according to your parents’s wishes, they instill guilt in you. They tell you god did not approve of what you are doing. Poor god, he has to support whatever anyone says about him! Or your parents tell you should respect their wishes as parents. Immediately you feel guilty of making them unhappy. In this way, your family sows the first guilt in you. You in turn pass it on to your child.
A small child knows nothing of guilt – he is just wild and natural. He is total in whatever he does. That is why he is so full of energy. He is overflowing with joy and curiosity. The child wants to shout, dance and jump – that is his natural expression. But adults stop him, “Don’t shout! It is bad manners. You should be civilized. You should carry yourself well like us”. By and by the notion of being free and happy is itself associated with feeling of guilt.
2. Guilt created by Society – From age 7 to 14, society creates guilt in you through its rules.
Society instills the guilt in you that you are not good enough. It makes you feel guilty for what you are, what you do. Once it convinces you that you are a sinner, you are caught in its grips. You cannot enjoy the joy of life anymore.
The Tibetan poet-saint Milarepa* sang, “My religion is to live-and die-without regret.’. You are called sinner or saint only by society. As long as society labels you a saint, you are a saint. The moment society labels you a sinner, you are a sinner.
Once you have the idea of guilt sown in you, you can be exploited easily by society. A guilty person can never be at ease with himself.
The Dilemma of Natural Happiness v/s Society’s given Guilt
Guilt means you have done something which others don’t want you to do. If you don’t listen to the society and listen to your natural intelligence, you feel guilty of doing something wrong. You are afraid and start defending yourself. You even pretend you have not done it. Instead if you do something that others approve, you are not happy doing it because it is most often not what you naturally feel like doing. This is the dilemma you are caught in…
Guilt creates a dual personality, a schizophrenia in you – to the outside world you are one person and deep down inside yourself you are another. Guilt is the wedge inserted into your inner space which makes you take on double standards.
3. Guilt Created by You – After 21, the guilt sown in you by family and society grow roots inside you. Then you start creating guilt inside yourself, without any reason. Guilt becomes a permanent guest in your being!
When you internalize guilt based on fear and greed, you create new types of guilt for yourself. The moment you start feeling guilty about something, you can be easily exploited. That too when you start fighting with yourself it is easier to exploit you.
Acceptance – The Beautiful Way Out of Guilt
Acceptance is s wonderful too to relieve yourself of the pull and push between the past and the future. With acceptance you fall into THE PRESENT straight away.
The first thing – is to accept all the happenings of the inner world and all the happenings in the outer world. Whatever problems you have in the outer world and in the inner world, JUST ACCEPT THEM IN THEIR ENTIRETY. Summarize all that you experience as problems and accept then in totality.
Accept all guilt, all mistakes, all failures; even if you cannot accept, accept that you cannot accept. You will then relax; guilt will drop from your mind.
Just try this small experiment:
Just relax for 3 days with complete acceptance. If you relax for 3 days without the pull and push in the inner world and outer world, you are going to lose all your wealth? Surely not!
So there is no problem. In 3 days you are going to lose anything? Why don’t you give it a try?
Just for 3 days, sincerely, utterly, accept everything in your life 100%. If you are not able to accept 100% then accept that you are not able to accept 100%. Even the acceptance of ‘I am not able to accept myself in the inner world and outer world’ will make you drop from the pull and push between the past and the future. The moment you understand, ‘ I am not able to free myself from the pull and push of the desires and fears, I am not able to accept my reality’, that very understanding will start doing its job.
If you are not able to be sincere, accept that you are not able to be sincere. Even that sincerity is enough. You will start seeing a different space in you.
If you can fall into the PRESENT MOMENT, relaxing from the outer world and the inner world things, in 3 days you will have a GLIMPSE of ‘WHAT IS LIFE?” What does it mean to live in the PRESENT MOMENT? If this happens in you, you will experience such ecstasy, such a different space, such different life that you have never experienced before.
You have lived based on your philosophy for last may be 30 years. Just for 3 days, don’t try to alter anybody in the outer world. You will see that when you experiment such great techniques, they work miracles in your being. They start a great alchemy process in your being.
The total acceptance will bring about an active and intense relaxation in which your natural intelligence will flower. Then the transformation will happen, the realization will happen of what you always were deep within you.
You will see that guilt will go and leave no trace behind that it ever existed.
Milarepa – Tibetan Yogi and disciple of Tibetan Buddhist teacher Marpa.