A very subtle and cunning way of sowing guilt today is through the idea of heaven and hell!
People exploit your fear and greed by showing you ideas of hell and heaven. They create in you greed for heaven and fear for hell. They create so many concepts of hell and heaven and sell them to you.
They say, ‘If you practice these types of things, you will be rewarded with heaven. If you practice otherwise, you will be punished with hell.’ When you are given rules based on greed and fear, you automatically start creating deep guilt in you. Be very clear, heaven and hell are not physical locations. They are psychological states of your mind. One instant the mind may be in hell and the next it may be in heaven. The gates to heaven and hell open and close at any time alternately.
Till the age of twenty one, knowledge from family and society creates guilt. After twenty one, the guilt sown in you by family and society grows roots inside you. Then you start creating guilt for yourself without any reason. Guilt becomes a permanent guest in your being!
The guilt created by family and the guilt created by society are imposed guilt; they are like a crown that is passed on from one generation to another. The third guilt is the worst; it is the one which you create for yourself.
When you internalize guilt based on greed and fear, you create new types of guilt for yourself.
The moment you start feeling guilty about something, you can be exploited. And when you start fighting with yourself it is easier to exploit you. If you look into your life you can see how every moment you are subtly looking for some reason to fight with yourself, to feel discontent with yourself. You cannot remain without some conflict, you want to create misery for yourself because that is what you have been taught – happiness is a sin.
You are designed to move like a freely flowing river. Guilt is like the rocks in the path of the water. Society has subtly branded happiness as a sin. That is the problem. That is why you will notice, when everything is going smoothly and happily, there will be a lurking feeling of guilt in you. You are taught by society that being happy and enjoying life is being irresponsible in a way. So you feel guilty.
But when you feel sad and depressed, do you ever feel guilty? No!
You are taught that life is a chain of suffering and endurance, with happiness stepping in once in a while.
This is also why people can’t take it when you are happy and smiling all the time. They try their best to bring you back to the so-called reality, by instilling guilt in you. When you are enjoying, dancing or relaxing at the beach for example, suddenly you will observe guilt starts rising in you about all the work that is pending, about all the responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. Guilt has no basis, but it can destroy your whole life. If you can live without guilt, you will enjoy every moment without any regret and still fulfill all your responsibilities.
The problem is that your being is a crowd of voices that don’t belong to you. It is a totality of your mother’s voice, your father’s voice, your teacher’s voice, your neighbor’s voice and what not! All these voices are in there. If there is only one voice, you will never have any problem.
Your mind will move like a river. But there are so many voices telling you so many things and creating the rocks of guilt in your path.
As long as you flow like a river, you will express extraordinary intelligence in your life. You will live with an energy that is overflowing every minute. The moment you allow guilt in you, the moment you are stopped in your free flow, you create energy clots inside your being.
Once you become aware of how you are driven by guilt, you can start practicing to come out of it. When you start practicing anything, naturally you will slip a few times. When you practice to be without guilt, you are bound to slip back into the older patterns of greed and fear. Then suddenly you will remember, ‘Oh, I started working out of fear,’ ‘I started working out of greed.’ Then you will start afresh. When you start working, naturally you will see these things happening.
When you start something new you will have three phases.
- The first is resistance.
- The next is just indifference– people will neither care nor resist.
- The third acceptance.
In the same way, when you start doing anything inside your system, you will start growing, but these three phases will be there. The first phase will be resistance. You will feel the new practice is a difficult change in your current system. Because of this, the next thing that happens is you start avoiding opportunities where you should be practicing the change. Again and again you will go back to your older ways. Your system will resist, it will try to create all kinds of complications, all possible arguments. If you allow the resistance to grow, you become your own enemy.
Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Let you lift yourself by yourself. If you don’t, you will be your worst enemy.’ It is up to you to help yourself as your best friend or hurt yourself as your worst enemy. Nobody can hurt you unless you allow.
Nobody can help you unless you allow.
If you have forgotten the practice, remember and again and again lift yourself. Don’t fall into depression, don’t have guilt. Don’t think you will not be able to do it.
Even if you read in the life of enlightened master Buddha, he was about to leave the body when his disciples asked him to give his ultimate message, and he said Atma deepo bhava – Let you be your own light, let you be guided by yourself.
source: Living Enlightenment