I remember once believing that guilt was a wasted emotion. People usually feel guilty about doing, saying, or believing things they were told were wrong. In that case it really is a waste, because unnecessary guilt limits our potential for happiness. We should remember what we were told, but listen to our hearts to decide if the information describes who we are or want to be.
Unfortunately, because it is such a strong emotion, guilt sometimes gets in the way of our inner truth. With a little help from fear and anxiety, guilt keeps us trapped and asleep. To break out, you may have to think it possible that everything you were told by your parents, clergy, teachers, and peers might be completely wrong for you. If you're able to at least accept this as a possibility, you're on your way. If not, you'll be trapped until you awaken.
Like all emotions, there is a place for guilt. A centered spiritual being, one who has moved past her limiting beliefs, will feel guilty doing something that goes against who she is or wants to be. As a youth, I got caught up with gambling and decided, along with a couple of friends, to become a bookie. We took bets from friends, paid off when they won, and collected when they lost. Because they almost always lost, we made a ton of money. I remember making about $10,000 one week.
We did this for a summer, and I felt guilty. I was taking advantage of my friends. As we watched, some of these friends lost everything. I told my "business associates" how I felt and received the expected rationalization: "If they don't bet with us, they'll do it with someone else."
I still felt guilty, and after someone I knew was arrested for bookmaking, I felt fearful as well. I decided these feelings were telling me that being a bookie was wrong. It was not a matter of being right or wrong in the eyes of God. It was only that being a bookie was not who I wanted to be and, therefore, not right for me. So I quit, and my associates continued for years, never getting caught.
To this day, one still doesn't understand why I quit. His path was different than mine, and I knew that my calling was not to be a bookie, because it didn't feel like Love to me. Eventually, my friend gave up his "business" due to a lack of customers. He says he has no regrets. But by seeing and listening to him then and now, I believe he was both guilty and unhappy, even though his professed belief system told him the happiness of others was not something he needed to be concerned with. He was unaware that his actions caused a disconnection with others that led to his own unhappiness. After reading this, I hope he'll see a purpose to that unhappiness and remember his true nature of Love and oneness with all.
If we are willing to listen to examples such as this (and are not imprisoned by past belief systems), our emotions will work for us, and we can remember more about who we are.
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About The Author
Bruce D Schneider is a spiritual psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, Usui Reiki Master, psychorientologist, metaphysician, and the founder of the Perfect Creation Foundation. His seminars, workshops, and counseling sessions have helped others transform their lives. You can reach him at: www.PerfectCreation.com.