Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Transcending Guilt

The issue of being guilt-ridden is one of the heaviest and gloomiest facets of spirituality on many paths. In the theistic paths it takes the form of an external projection of conscience into a god-entity that oversees and forms ethical evaluations of our activities based on a given traditional standard. In non-theistic paths there is no "fear of god" per se, but in an ego-serving pursuit of spiritual materialism the spiritual ego is enthroned as the deity in slavery to which our puny lives are led.

There is however good and evil beyond the psychological distortions caused by either of the above two views, a sense of objectivity. There are wholesome and unwholesome activities, activities conducive to our and others' peace, welfare and happiness, and activities counterproductive to the same aim. Yet in this, there is no inherent psychological guilt distortion — you are your own master, and in the end only you alone are responsible for your activities. Not only that, but really it is only you yourself that you need to face with your decisions — your puny life really doesn't mean anything to anyone else in the end. And in the end of ends, it won't matter even to you...

Growing to this awakening, initially shocking and explored with a great sense of dare, was a great sense of relief for me. Literally, it was as if I had breathed fresh air again after living for a decade in a stagnated, dark basement. There was no longer any "employer" or "master" — there was just the free I, there to act as I will, in knowledge that I bear the good and bad results of my activities myself alone.

I alone am responsible, and I have a free choice. If I choose to engage in unwholesome activities, I will experience suffering in the future, while wholesome acts will lead to happiness. I can, however, choose to act in unwholesome ways if I am willing to bear the burden. I am free to do wrong, if just for the sheer experience, knowing the harmful effects of the activity on the body and the mind, both conscious and subconscious, something to confront with responsibility and integrity, seeing the causal bondage inherent in all activity.

The absence of an ultimate, lasting overseer gives you a great deal of fresh airy space to live in. It's just about you and your destiny. Period. And in the end, when the ephemeral and transitory nature of the ego-entity is understood, there is even no self before whom we would suffer from a sense of guilt. There is only the ever-present here and now, the focal point of experience. At this point, acts tend to automatically be geared towards the wholesome, being that they are in harmony with the natural flow of the universe, the imposing and friction-generating ego-agent having been dissolved.

Of course it's good to always retain a healthy inner imperative and a sense of integrity in our lives. In the interim, in reaching higher levels of enlightened existence, we should be — for our own sake — cultivating wholesome activities that lead to the purification of the mind, to freedom from greed, aversion and the myriads of delusions that condition us. But if you slip around or fall, there's no metaphysical entity with the powers or the right to issue judgment. There are just the mechanics of nature. And that's all there is.

And experiencing this open, spacious quality of nature sans ego is the heart of all spirituality. The deities and the rest are just so many cherries on the cake, present but without any real impact on the nutritional value of the food. It's deeply psychological in the end. Implode and introspect, get back to the basic elements of your psyche and your existence.

Wallowing in self-pity and feelings of guilt, we invoke a gloomy, darkening sky above our heads. There is little benefit in this in terms of empowering you with the mental factors necessary for progressive spirituality. Let go of the dark skies, let go of the gloom pervading your being. Expose yourself to the sunshine, to the wide blue skies. Fly and fly, higher and higher, glide across the majestic sky. Be you that eagle.

7 comments:

jijaji said...
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Ananda said...

Loved the full text... The story of the chauffeur was great.

"You have to understand that people, to make you spiritual slaves, have put ideas in your mind that "these things are wrong." That "if you do these things, God will be angry and throw you into hell." And naturally, nobody wants to go to hell -- except me, because I am immensely interested in hell. I don't want to go to heaven, for the simple reason that in heaven, you will find only dry bones, ugly saints, somebody holding his kachchha. In hell, you will find the best company possible. All great artists are there, all great poets are there. All great philosophers are there, all great mystics are there. In fact, anything that has happened on this earth and is beautiful, you will find in hell, not in heaven."

jijaji said...
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jijaji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ananda said...

I have given up my fascist moderator hat... =)

jijaji said...
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Tapati said...

I have given up my fascist moderator hat...

That's good, because I used to feel so guilty posting one liners at GD...

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