Ever come across a situation where we are enraged by what we read in the news and at that brief moment of upset vented our anger, wishing that the perpetrator be sentenced to heavy punishment, suggesting death sentence or even torture as a way to compensate what he has committed? The anger may be expressed in the mind, verbally or in action by petitioning it – but whichever way, seldom do we ponder whether there is any difference between our thoughts and that of the perpetrator who had committed the crime at that moment.
But the issue is not about the act itself, but rather the guilt we imposed upon others. Be it mental, verbal or action, we sentence that person to doom by making him guilty of the crime and make him pay for it. It is as if by doing so, the punishment is justified and the crime nullified. The meaning of guilt arises in our mind each time we make a judgment, as we make others guilty of their act. And each judgment is a passing of a condemnation equivalent to punishment, albeit a mental thought. Doesn’t matter whether it is a trivial matter, as in an irritation arising from a person crossing our path or a serious comment as in what we read from the papers – each little judgment that comes up in our mind is a strengthening of its meaning – that guilt is inevitable. We justify a situation, an event or a communication by placing a label of guilt to it. Imagine how many times we do that repeatedly every day? All judgments are impartial, as it does not see a difference between judging others or judging oneself. Thus when a judgment is directed upon ourselves, which naturally has to occur due to the nature of us putting meaning of right and wrong to any particular event, irrelevant whether it is the world or ourselves, who then justifies our guilt? Sad to say, ourselves. We condemn ourselves severely, exactly as we condemn the world. What we do to the world, we do to ourselves. It cannot be otherwise.
If we have the idea that guilt is the way to redemption, it will also be true that whenever we have done something as perceived wrong in our past, we have no choice but to include and indulge in guilt into the equation as to make the “wrong” complete. We nail ourselves to that pain and perpetuate its suffering. We don’t, or seldom see guilt as part of the “wrong” equation. In fact we see guilt as a necessary step to healing. Do we really heal or merely put a cap of fear into the mind so that it does not repeat itself again in the future? Where there is fear in the future, there is surely shame in the past – shame of what one has done, and thus not repeating it again out of fear. Does one heal by wisdom and understanding or by shame and fear? Both shame and fear are just another camouflage of guilt, imprisoning our mind deeper into the abyss of our dark shadows – a dungeon where it awaits our return as a murderer, a rapist, a bully, a persecutor, a stalker and all its dark relatives – in short, a return of vengeance of what we have created and suppressed within ourselves.
It is purely insanity. That reminds me to share again what J mentioned:
“Nightmares are childish dreams. The toys have turned against the child who thought he made them real. Yet can a dream attack? Or can a toy grow large and dangerous and fierce and wild? This does the child believe, because he fears his thoughts and gives them to the toys instead. And their reality becomes his own, because they seem to save him from his thoughts. Yet do they keep his thoughts alive and real, but seen outside himself, where they can turn against him for his treachery to them. He thinks he needs them that he may escape his thoughts, because he thinks the thoughts are real. So he makes of anything a toy, to make his world remain outside himself, and play that he is but a part of it.”
Guilt rules the world, and it is from this tiny mad idea that springs forth the meaning of judgment, shame, fear, punishment, attack, defense and all its relatives. Guilt is insane as it wrongly perceived that what has been done could be undone. It works on the effect instead of the cause. It sees what has occurred as a condemnation, instead of using it as an opportunity for inquiry, making an understanding out of it so that a new cause is created for the effect to take place in the future. Thus instead of blossoming love and wisdom, the mind uses guilt to flex its muscle, imprisoning oneself again and again to the cycle of birth and death.
Thus forgiveness is necessary. Not that we need to forgive but rather forgiveness as in right perception, that in reality nothing has really occurred except our projection of guilt that leads to judgments. It is the misperception that needs to be forgiven. Without guilt, forgiveness is unnecessary. Thus it is a special kind of forgiveness not targeting at what wrong others have done but what they have not done, except within our own mind – misperception.
Let me share with you a passage which stood out to me this morning when I flipped through a page from the book Your Immortal Reality by Gary R. Renard:
The key was in the remembering. I was improving at remembering that when someone pushes my buttons, the purpose of it was to see the stupidity that I thought true of myself for throwing away everything, or Heaven, in exchange for nothing, or death, in that person instead of me. The quicker I stopped reacting and forgave my brother or sister for what they didn’t really do, the quicker my suffering ceased. That alone would have made forgiveness worth doing, and I realized how important it was for me to continue practicing remembering the truth in any situation, no matter how quickly it came up, because I was the one whose life was transformed.