How many actions demonstrated in our physical world are the result of guilt?
Guilt is acted out every instant of every day. Shame, anger, blame, grudges, belittling, punishment, violence, anxiety, reactiveness, and on and on and on. There are many effects of guilt and some of these effects are acted out on others and some are put on the self. If we see where we behave like this in our own lives we may recognize that there is a lot of guilt being thrown around!
So, why do we feel guilty?
A Course in Miracles teaches that it is because we feel that we separated ourselves from the Source of Love. And in so doing, we feel horribly guilty about it.
“What do I have to feel guilty about?” is a common question I hear from my clients, so if this also seems foreign to you and you are genuinely questioning whether this is relevant for you then try this… observe how you feel when a cop car pulls up behind you. You know that your insurance and registration is up to date, you know that you’ve been going the speed limit and have been signaling correctly, so what’s with the guilty feeling and defensiveness? The cop doesn’t even have their sirens on and yet you’re busy making sure all your ducks are in a row. We play out this dynamic in so many ways. Think about whenever someone is upset with you and they let you know as much. The common reaction is to justify your actions and establish your own innocence, even if you did something or not. You’re attempting to disown the guilt. You’re disowning it because it feels absolutely horrible to feel guilty!
Here’s a little background on the psychology of guilt…
“What was in our mind on a massive metaphysical level – namely the terrible unconscious guilt we felt over the initial separation from our Source – was denied and projected outward.
A psychologist will tell you that projection always follows denial. That’s because when you deny something, it has to go somewhere. Now once something is denied, it becomes unconscious… So you forget that you denied it, and then when it’s projected outward, you think the projection you’re looking at is reality. You forget that you made it because it’s been denied! So it’s your projection, but you’re not aware of that. And then the Course teaches that “projection makes perception.” That means that what you’re looking at, but then you forgot, and you take it as reality. You forget that it’s a miscreation of your own making. “
Love Has Forgotten No One, pg. 9-10
This is the guilty ick of the ego. An ever present feeling that peaks and dips throughout the day. Whenever you’re poked by someone or some situation, the unpleasant feeling which follows is a symbol of the guilt that you identify with. This is truly a gross misidentification.
You are not a guilty being deserving of punishment. Quite the opposite!
You are perfect love seeking to undo your ego identification!
I will put it simply, whenever you feel guilty, you gotta forgive it! Or else it will just circle back.
Here’s a little more about this guilt dynamic…
“It (forgiveness) also allows the Holy Spirit to heal that which is hidden in the deep canyons of your unconscious mind: the guilt you didn’t know about that goes all the way back to the original idea of being separate from God, which is the so-called original sin that is really the source of your upsets. But then you assign the reason for your upset to be something outside of yourself, because that’s where you projected it. So you think you’re upset because you’re not going to have enough money for your retirement, or because the terrorists are going to blow up your airplane, and you forget that it’s not the projection at all that’s really upsetting you, but its source in the mind.”
Love Has Forgotten No One, pg. 21
Nothing good ever comes from guilt and this is something that we need to be fully cognizant of. The effects of guilt are always projected outwards and as, A Course in Miracles, states, “without projection there can be no anger.” T.7.VIII.1.1 - So, you want to work within your own mind to make sure that you are not acting out to others your own guilt.
One of the ways I prevent myself from doing this is that whenever I’m upset with my perception of the actions of someone else I ask myself, “Can I handle this without making (insert name) feel guilty?” The last thing I ever want to do is highlight the unconscious guilt in someone else and that is avoided by realizing that it is me and my mind that needs to heal my perceived guilt. You can also use this quote from the Course as your guide, “If he senses even the faintest hint of irritation in himself as he responds to anyone, let him instantly realize that he has made an interpretation that is not true. Then let him turn to his eternal Guide, and let Him judge what the response should be.”
A Course in Miracles - Manual for Teachers, 18.4:2-4
In recognizing that you have identified with an unfounded guilt, you can see that you are truly innocent. All the things that you supposedly did wrong were not sins to be punished but mistakes to be corrected. We all make mistakes, forgive it and let it go. Love heals, not punishment, and this is true for everyone.
So let your innocence be your guide. This requires a high level of self-awareness especially when conversing with others but it will win out in the end. Love always prevails.
To help you along your path of letting go of guilt, here is my favourite affirmation from The Course. It is the ultimate correction! Remember that you can switch out terms to suit your taste, the important thing is that you recognize that you made a mistake in your thinking and that you want Love to correct that mistake. Simple.
“Decision cannot be difficult. This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel. Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made…
And so, correct it by saying…
I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the
Consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.”
A Course in Miracles T5.VII.6:1-11
This is the most POWERFUL affirmation you can ever make! It undoes the guilt in your mind, corrects any negative repercussions from your mistaken thinking and brings your innocence to the forefront of your mind. Rock this out whenever you feel upset! Once you experience the freeing results for yourself, this affirmation will truly become your best friend.
Remember that you are innately innocent and there is a part of your mind that knows this so tap into that loving part of your mind and let it grow strong. You are not the ego nor its convoluted mess of guilt and fear. Let your innocence be your guide. That’s truth.
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