The Secret Code to Transformation 6: Guilt
Imagine that you are a university student whose family has a path for you in the sciences leading to a medical degree. Your high school science grades were among the best. You are doing well in your coursework, but something is not right. Your motivation is lagging. It is harder and harder for you to finish your assignments. As you finish of the term you decide that during the next term that you are going to take some different courses in the arts. You realize that you have to keep your decision secret so that your parents won’t find out. When you start veering from the expected path, the negative emotion of guilt suddenly appears in your mind. It comes with the family voice and some finger pointing because you have broken away from the family expectation.
At the moment that the negative emotion of guilt comes in, it should be an automatic code signal to you that you are in conflict between what your inner self is moving you toward and the standard or expectation that someone else has for you (usually an authority or parental figure). Much of the guilt that we receive from our parents has to do with the recognition that they want to get from others by you following the path that they want you to follow (even though their words are quite to the contrary and seem to be all about you. If you are feeling guilty from a situation like the one above, it means that the standard being set by others has absolutely nothing to do with your own inner development. The guilt comes because there is an inner belief that you have to be pleasing to others, not your own true self. Hardly any culture is free of it in the modern world. Most of us feel some guilt when we move from other’s expectations towards are own inner drives.
Guilt leaves you in the stuck place where you feel like you have no choice. When the feeling of guilt enters your mind and body, it means that you have not fully responded to what your inner self wants for you. You get out of communication with the inner world which can and most likely will take you away from your destiny as a human being on the planet.
When you respond to the inner messages of your inner being, It does not necessarily mean that you should pack up your bags and leave whatever you are currently doing as in the case of studying the sciences. The inner world does not usually recommend a revolutionary-type move. It more often seeks a gradual evolutionary path. Because you may need a path that includes more arts, it does not mean that you should pursue it as a profession. It may be a professional choice, but you only know when you are responding to the inner world and where it wants to take you.
People with a more introverted nature have an easier time with guilt because they tend to be in more constant communication with the inner world. Extreme extroverts, who have little ability to respond inwardly, are the ones in the biggest trouble because they are always seeking guidance from outside of themselves, which usually isn’t very helpful. It is like men who are having relational problems who asked their friends for advice. It is almost always disastrous.
What many people do not understand is that the inner (spiritual) world is in constant communication with us if we turn to it. If we turn outward and respond only to the pangs of the materialistic world and our egos, then it shuts off. Often the best question to ask yourself when you feel guilty is whose standards/rules are you breaking? They are not your own.
As in the above case, the problem that arises with guilt is that if you start responding to your own inner guidance and going your own way, there will be consequences you have to face from the source of the guilt. While guilt requires a change of mindset or a change of belief such as in the above scenario, actually living out of the new path requires both courage and wisdom and involves overcoming the fear of being ostracized or abused. If you do not feel guilty, then you only have to deal with fear, but feeling guilty means that at least some part of you believes you should abide by their wishes.
When you have trouble with guilt, it probably means that you do not have a very well developed habit of meditation or reflection. Being guilt-free means that you can easily commune with the inner divine spirit.
There is such a thing as positive guilt. It is related to the positive fear of God which is when you know something is wrong, but you do it anyway such as cheating on an exam or harming someone else. In that case guilt allows you to reflect on the wrong doing and then change it. Like negative guilt, the goal is take you inward to find the appropriate guidance or to follow the right standard. When you do not have positive guilt or the fear of God, you are likely to commit wrong-doings and act with criminal intentions. You are likely to follow misguided authoritarian rulers because they promise to get you what you want regardless of the methodology.