Unfortunately, many of us are tortured and imprisoned by guilt; a thought process which runs in circles and preoccupies the mind. It distorts perception and distracts the mind. In it there is no clarity or understanding. It darkens the mind.
In it there is fear, there is regret and remorse; unfortunately it is used to control people too, it is a form of coercion. If effective on you, it will sway you any way it wishes. But it is rooted in illusion.
duera_toujours, Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Image and Ideal
You have an idea of what you should be, taught to you since childhood and reinforced since by you and others on through youth and adulthood.
We operate primarily through memory. Memory functions normally and necessarily when we need to remember how to get to the store or to perform a specific skill like driving a car.
But we also have a memory of ourselves; a memory of myself is a collection of ideas, ideology, status, race, sex. It is also a memory of what I did or what I think I should do.
When I feel guilty about what I did, it is memory responding. I remember what I did and it doesn’t jibe well with my ideal. The memory is an image, meaning it is imaginary; because what has already happened no longer exists. I am responding with illusion when I use a memory of myself. Therefore, guilt, a memory of what I did compared to my ideal of what I should do, which is a fantasy projection, is illusion. It is merely an image. I have set up static rules that have no bearing on reality nor can it be used to see directly and perceptively what is actually happening.
We live by image and illusion which creates struggle and distorts reality. By Ray from Singapore, Singapore (Dual Perspective) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Perception without Image
The guilt lingers not only because of mis-perception, but because something has not been clearly understood. It comes about because of a lack of awareness. The rules, the ideals, merely distort thought, create friction, a conflict; inner conflict always creates confusion. When there is no split in the mind, when a person is whole and clear, there is no choice but to see directly and clearly.
If you are on a street in your neighborhood where children are playing about, and you see a car speeding up the street, it takes a millisecond to understand and see that it is wrong for someone to be speeding on that street. Awareness is clear, immediate and takes into account multiple variables in one shot. You see that children are there, that the car is a danger, that there are so many ways someone could be hurt.
However, we do not always see ourselves this clearly or completely. Awareness is without rules, without image, it is direct and whole. When we look at ourselves with image, with the conflict of ideal compared to the actual, then we do not see what we are doing.
Therefore, actually, the residue of guilt is immediately cleared by complete, whole, direct awareness not distorted by image and ideal.
To see without image or thought is to be lucid, whole, sane.
Why Do We Do It
We like to think we are something; something that will continue, last forever. We build up an image that is supposed to be immortal, because certainly we fear death. If that image continues, “I” continue. Even if I’m ridden with guilt, at least “I” still exist. Without my guilt, I’d be afraid there is nothing left of me.
When plagued by guilt it means we do not see what we are doing. Our minds are distorted by what we think we should be conflicting with what we do. This is not to say we never make mistakes. But like the speeding car endangering kids, we can see our mistakes as they are when we see directly and in a whole way not divided by notions and superstitions of what we are supposed to be or concocted rules of conduct that cannot apply limitlessly across that board.
The important thing is a mind that sees, truly. Not the mind that wishes, not the mind that wants to be something, not the mind that compares. What is important is undivided awareness that can cut through all image, that isn’t divided by illusion and comparison.
Featured image: CalypsoUchiha, deviantART, some rights reserved.
Up to this point, I've done many things: Practiced martial arts, graduated from University, worked in the Human Services field and have written web articles across the Net. But my main interest is in how the human mind can be freed and lead to positive change in society.