Most people are familiar with the symptoms of guilt. A typical example is after someone dies, perhaps a parent or loved one. The torment of guilt arises when the person judges themselves to have failed or been inadequate in some way – perhaps having transgressed some kind of moral code or religious indoctrination. There are countless other examples where guilt arises. But it’s always in retrospect, never in the moment of doing. Since the truth can only be discerned in the present, guilt relies on the co-operation of the person to keep it alive by thinking and reflecting on the pain of the past. People hold on to their guilt like an old lover and, in so doing, affirm the right to be exclusive in their unhappiness. This dark cloud of negativity emanates outwards, polluting the space around them and beyond into the environment
In the judicial systems of the world, guilty people are punished for their crimes in accordance with the laws of the land. In the spiritual system of truth, the law resides in one’s own integrity within the depths of the being. It all comes to down to giving up the arrogance and wilfulness to be guilty. Many people afflicted by guilt believe they have to be remorseful and emotionally penitent in trying to make sense of their inner conflict. This is to make a virtue of guilt; but since everyone (including therapists and psychologists) believe in the right to be guilty, it thrives as a corrosive poison of the human condition.
Dissolving guilt is usually a gradual process and is only effective if an individual is sincere. However, once the falsity of guilt is truly seen, it’s possible to be free of it now. In my own experience of facing guilt, this is what I would suggest to anyone struggling to detach from the hold of this insidious emotion: To suffer rightly is to face the fact that you did what you had to do, or have experienced something which has irrevocably changed the life. Be present with the discomfort if it’s there, but don’t judge it. Surround the pain with your love and let it be. You might say, ‘I let go of my guilt or any notion that I wronged you, or didn’t live up to the expectations to be something that I’m not. I know now I can only be what I am and don’t need to be true to any moral code outside my own integrity that resides within me’.
To be guilty means not being responsible for life. It’s an unconscious declaration that someone or something has the power to hold a person to ransom through emotional demands or expectations. Responsibility resides in being conscious now – in every action and for everything that’s happened in the past. What have you and I done that the rest of humanity hasn’t passed through a billion times before? The answer is absolutely nothing. Guilt is based on the assumption of having caused someone else’s misfortune or suffering. This is delusion and an omission of self-knowledge. It is life as a movement of supernal intelligence that runs the world, and that arranges events and situations for the greater good and not for the individual alone. To the degree that a man or woman is responsible for their life, they participate in this wondrous journey of self-discovery in their place within the harmony of the whole.