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.
Guilt is nothing but your past decisions and actions being reviewed with your updated intelligence.
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.
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 be 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 with whatever intelligence you had, you acted, that’s all.
The past is always past, it is always dead. That is why it is called past. 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 will create guilt in your being.
- If you base your present decisions on past experiences, you will be repeating the same past into the future also, maybe in a little updated 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 as well.
There are three kinds of guilt that take root in us and kill our intelligence:
- Guilt created by immediate family
- Guilt created by social laws
- Guilt created by ourselves
Before the age of seven, guilt is created by your immediate family. If you don’t do according to your parents’ wishes, they instill guilt in you. They tell you that god will not approve of what you are doing. Poor god, he has to support whatever anyone says about him! Or your parents tell you that you should respect their wishes as parents. Immediately you feel guilty of making them unhappy. In this way, family sows the first guilt in you. You in turn pass it on to your child. Like a crown, it is passed on over generations.
Because you don’t have the knowledge to explain why things have to be done in a certain way, you change it to a rule and impose it on the child and create guilt through it. For example, children love whirling. They love moving and flowing with the body. It is a natural way for them to center their energy. But what do we do? We stop the child and put the fear in him that he may fall. We don’t stop our efforts until we make the child stiff, frozen and dull like us! The child may want to go outside and play in the sun or collect some flowers or just jump around in the fresh air. If you think about it, it is not much the child is asking for. But the mother says ‘no’ – he may fall ill due to the hot sun. If you look a little deep, you can see that by saying ‘no’ she gets a subtle feeling of power, of being in control. She might say it is the sun but it is subtler than that.
The ‘no’ by the mother actually has a deep impact on the child. It creates guilt in the child. Now, the child may force himself to stay in or he may escape from his mother’s eyes and step out. But either way his raw energy is being suppressed. If he forces himself to stay in, his energy is not being allowed to express. If he goes out, he will feel guilty, he will be afraid that somebody might spot him. And all this for nothing big, just for playing in the sun!
As the child grows, this deep engram of guilt will actually settle inside him. Even after he grows up into a man and becomes independent, he may be sitting in the lawn under the sun and those childhood memories may be triggered. He may feel guilty and uneasy for no reason. There is nothing to feel guilty about just sitting in the lawn, but the old memories are awakened.
This is how guilt arises. Small incidents like this collect and make guilt your natural way of life.
Why can’t we enjoy and encourage the natural joy and happiness the child lives in?
If you look a little deep, you can see that happiness itself has become associated with guilt. A small child knows nothing of guilt, he is just wild and natural. That is why seeing a small child can be so captivating. He is total in whatever he does. He has not been introduced to the mask of civilization. He is still wild. That is why he is so full of energy. He is overflowing with joy and curiosity, he is just vibrating with the energy bubbling inside him.
The child wants to enjoy everything, but the parents are filled with the conditionings of society like guilt, seriousness, hypocrisy. The child wants to shout and jump and dance; that is his natural expression. But the 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 feelings of guilt.
From seven to fourteen, society creates guilt in you through its rules. The guilt based on fear is created by social laws.
source: Living Enlightenment