Vernon Howard saw guilt as a major barrier to creating and experiencing a tranquil mind. When asked why a person should not feel guilty, he replied
For several reasons, one of them being that guilt is a purely self-centered emotion. It supplies an unhealthy thrill to condemn yourself, to reflect about your cruel self. But let’s concentrate on the most important reason why you must abolish guilt from your life. It is a familiar but totally false idea that guilt is a sign of humility or repentance. Far from producing humility, it creates the exact opposite. Being a miserable pressure, a sense of guilt drives the individual into negativity, such as arrogance, hostility, and additional cruelty. Such cruelty may be rationalized and covered up, either slyly or openly, but it is still there. So a sense of guilt leads to hostile actions that produce more guilt.
And the vicious cycle continues as this person wallows in self-condemnation and builds resentment toward those who refuse to accept and carry the guilt that is thrown toward them.
It has been my experience that guilt results from believing we are meant to be perfect. It is fed by the inability to forgive oneself for not hitting the mark. I cannot say I have ever experienced in myself or in others a situation in which guilt produced healthy and lasting change.
What is the answer then? It is to expand your awareness into the Truth of Who You Are. It is to practice what you are learning about your True Self. It is to rest in that Truth, in the Oneness of Self and Source and to allow yourself to experience being human – which means letting go of all ideas of perfection as our culture defines it. I have written before about the true meaning of perfection. The original word in sacred writings meant to come into maturity or to fulfill one’s purpose. For example, an apple tree is perfect when it matures into its own ability to produce apples. It fulfills its purpose in existing.
As a spiritual being currently having a human experience, my purpose is to manifest the Divine – Love & Compassion – while being fully human. So, the path out of non-productive guilt is to have love and compassion toward myself so that I learn to forgive myself and others. Love and compassion will guide me into making necessary amends to myself and others; love and compassion will guide me into healthier, happier behaviors as well. Judgement brings condemnation. Forgiveness based in the awareness of the Divine within brings expanding awareness of the Truth of All That Is.
And, as I have written in the past few days, this transition is found, begins, and is brought to fruition within. It is found in the sweet stillness, wisdom, love and peace of your Soul, dear hearts.
Perfection is found in the manifestation of the Divine within you. As you mature into the Truth of Who You Are, trying will be laid to rest and be-ing that Divine manifestion will become your natural state because it is Who You Are. Like the apple tree, you will produce the fruit that reveals your oneness with the Divine. Please let yourself off the hook of guilt based on harsh, unreasonable expectations. Let yourself play in the gardens of life as you grow and flourish, as you become fully human enlivened by the Divine spark within.