"Free of guilt, my relationship thrives!"
Some people say guilt serves a good purpose. They would tell me guilt is a tool of my conscience which alerts me that I'm doing something that shouldn't be done and therefore influences me to stay on the "right track".
Such an explanation does not stand up under logical scrutiny.
For one thing, nobody can say what a "conscience" is other than a subconscious matrix of culturally derived values. In other words, in a society where it is considered the highest and most glorifying honor for a mother to sacrifice her firstborn to the gods on a bloody altar, the knife-wielding mother would feel ecstasy, not guilt.
If guilt is related to conscience then guilt is relative. But if guilt is relative, anything goes. A murderer doesn't have to feel guilty. A murderer of millions, like Adolph Hitler, could feel justified. Guilt would have nothing to do with any absolute right track.
Examining the issue, I have no choice but to consider the possibility that although feelings of guilt are related to values, they have nothing to do with keeping me on any truly right track.
When I consider that it's possible to make a mistake and yet not feel guilty, it then becomes clear that guilt has nothing to do with keeping me on any right track, but is merely a device my ego uses whenever it can get away with it to make me unhappy.
Let's look closer to be sure. Imagine I make a mistake. What are my options?
If I listen inside to my spirit, I might hear something like, "Be at peace. A mistake is not the end of the world." My spirit would never counsel me to be unhappy about mistakes, true or false?
But if I listen inside to a different voice and hear something like, "Oh, you fool! You are such a fool! What did you do?", then I know I'm not hearing my spirit, true or false? So I must be hearing my ego and if there is one thing I don't want to listen to it's my ego.
Guilt is ego-advised and it serves no good purpose.
But worse yet, guilt smothers out the light and love in relationships.
By very definition, if I'm feeling guilt my heart is not fully open and I'm not loving. Just as love feels good and tells me that I am good, guilt feels bad and tells me that I am bad.
If I buy into the idea that I am bad, guess what kind of relationship I am going to create for myself?
A punishing relationship? A relationship that beats me up and kills my spirit? A relationship that gets even with me for everything I've ever done and felt guilty about?
How did I guess?
In such a case, does my ego call a spade a spade and place responsibility on myself for the way my relationship partner treats me?
Hah! Does anyone really think the ego would voluntarily expose itself and its tricks? No, the ego places the blame "out there" on my relationship partner. My ego tells me my partner is to blame ... my partner is a bad guy ... my partner deserves condemnation.
Oops! So much for the relationship!
Of course my partner in such a case truly is to blame ... but my partner in such a case is not who I think it is. All along my hidden partner has been ... my ego!
Clearly I no longer want the ego as partner and clearly I want to rid myself of ego-influenced guilt and guilt tendencies.
Each day this week I begin the day with a statement of intent for the day. Here are some possible sample statements:
"Today I love my mistakes, using them as excuses to choose happiness."
"Today I laugh at my mistakes and laugh at any tendencies to feel guilty."
"Today I view mistakes as having no effect whatsoever on my joyous spirit."
Each hour during the day I reserve five minutes for a little meditative period during which I attempt to feel what it feels like to be totally innocent and guiltless. I might ask my inner self:
"What does it feel like to have no guilt at all?"
"What does it feel like to be totally innocent?"
Then I allow myself to feel the feeling as fully as possible. The more I practice feeling guiltless, the more I'll be willing to hang out in guiltlessness. The more I hang out in guiltlessness, the better I will feel about myself. The better I feel about myself, the better all my relationships will be.
At the end of each day this week I pretend I have an imaginary trophy room full of golden trophies, one for each lesson learned with this course. Then I review my day to see how many times I switched from the temptation to feel guilt to instead laughing at the ego and loving myself. If I made the switch even once, I award myself another imaginary golden trophy.
Before falling asleep I count the blessings in my trophy room of lessons learned, full of bright shiny gold reflection. I rejoice that I AM that bright golden light!
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Course in Political Miracles