With a twitching nose my inner witch cackles merrily as she throws the poisonous toads into her bubbling cauldron. She’s planning to take you down and you won’t even see her coming. Eeeheheehe!
Ugh!!! Where did that thought come from and why am I indulging it?
The spiritual path I follow (A Course in Miracles) teaches me to look only for the good in others. Even nasty thoughts have an energy force behind them that can be harmful. Instead of judging others I try to observe what the problem is and be helpful.
That’s why, when I catch myself partaking in critical thoughts towards another, I feel guilty. I’ve just swallowed my own brew. And guilt is the toughest of all emotions to let go of.
But is guilt itself always to be viewed as negative? Holding on to it may be ~ but just like all difficult emotions it can be used to shed light on what is going on within us.
My friend picked a tarot card that said, “You must scan your emotions for guilty feelings and bring them to the surface for analysis. Healthy guilt is a warning that action should be taken. Irrational guilt needs to be released.”
I heard a different person once say that guilt is unnecessary and therefore she never allowed herself to feel guilty. But I noticed that that person tended to carry around a lot of anger that was continually aimed at others. Allowing someone else to have a different viewpoint caused great upset within her. So getting other people to see things from her perspective was her main preoccupation. In this manner she would try to convince herself that she was thinking and behaving correctly. However, it is inner peace that is the true barometer.
The suggestion to look within to find the source of a deep need to be right at the expense of other’s feelings is often met with resistance. There are those who declare that an inner inventory reveals that problems do not reside there. I believe fear of guilt is the reason why people fight hard to project their troubled emotions and thoughts outward ~ much easier than exposing the source within.
To be faced with the possibility of being in the wrong is likely to trigger the fear of guilt. Struggling to keep this feeling at bay will not bring the harmony we desire. And when we handle things poorly, guilt is the likely result no matter how deeply we try to bury it.
When we acknowledge that we haven’t thought or acted lovingly toward someone else, it can be viewed as a learning experience. Letting go of the guilt is essential so as to not let it become the irrational guilt that hangs out in our subconscious mind wreaking inner anxiety and at times manifesting as physical health problems.
I now view my guilty feelings as a powerful tool. I look to see if there is something I need to change, even if it is only a thought. And I don’t need to hang on to the guilt as a punishment for having had the thought in the first place. I simply send anyone involved an extra dose of love. Hopefully this brings us both a sense of wellbeing.
In fact, owning up to guilt is part of the power behind the twelve-step programs. Their method has helped people overcome addictions for over seven decades. I believe its success is due to encouraging people to take stock of whom they’ve injured and make amends where possible. This releases guilt in a healthy way and also balances karma.
There are only two kinds of people I know who have no guilty thoughts ~ saints and sociopaths. Admitting our mistakes, making a sincere apology when possible, and forgiving our selves and all others is the route to the former. The corrections that are made can spread peace throughout our world.
So yes, I am guilty as charged at times. But I will keep doing what I need to do to make improvements within myself and to be of benefit to others. Life is a tough school, but learning our lessons takes courage. Making an internal review is not an easy process, but shedding old skin allows for honest transformation.
Pen Augustin is author of Waves of Light and The Priestess Tale series. She is also founder of Lady of the Lake Holistic Health. Pen loves to give messages about how we can heal ourselves and bring balance to our beloved planet. Living near the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, she enjoys spending time in nature and communing with the local wildlife.