By Dev Lingadevaru
INDIA New England Columnist
Many of us live our lives with guilt inside for whatever actions we did in the past. When we do a mistake knowingly, unknowingly, or uncontrollably and realize it was a mistake, a feeling of guilt arises. Sometimes even if there is no mistake, we feel guilty because of the choices we have made in our lives. The magnitude of guilt could be small or big.
Out of the many emotions such as anger, blame, fear, guilt, sadness, anxiety, shame etc. guilt is the strongest emotion. Guilt depletes the most energy.
The effect of guilt
Feeling guilt makes us lose our self-respect. We begin to look at the self with blame. We lose time and energy in this process.
It is as though we become a prisoner in the mind; the same feelings of guilt erupt every now and again, not allowing us to go beyond it.
For many feeling guilt is also a habit with the repetition of actions that create guilt.
Feeling guilt unnecessarily:
Feeling guilt is based on the beliefs in one’s life. If I believe something is wrong and I did that action then I feel guilty of doing it. But in reality, belief is only a belief and not the actual truth. The beliefs could be based on one’s culture, upbringing, nationality etc.
Therefore, unless I revisit my belief systems, guilt could become a close companion throughout my life.
How to overcome guilt?
To overcome guilt, one needs to understand the self from a deeper dimension. It is because we have limited understanding of the self that we judge ourselves based on the action that took place. We have entangled our identity with our deeds. Spiritually helps us to separate the self from the action.
The action took place, under the influence of external forces. The deed was not right, so let me separate the self from the deed. Who is the self? The self, rather the true self is a beautiful, loving, pure, peaceful, complete soul. At the time of action, I forgot my true self / true nature….so a mistake happened. Realization means I get back to my originality. Realization helps me learn, reform and program myself to be careful for the future and move forward.
If the guilt is due to a mistake, then realize that mistakes are the lessons for our perfection and a stepping stone to rise higher.
Love the self:
Knowing the true self also means recognizing the highest potential within. Realizing our purpose here, and the uniqueness of our role on this planet earth we can develop true love for the self!
When I love myself, I also learn to protect the self. When I have love, I care about my well-being. Not allowing myself to go through feelings of guilt is to care for the self and to protect myself.
Just like we forgive little children for whatever mistake they do, likewise, we can forgive ourselves with the power of love and release our minds from the prison of guilt.
The real effort in life is not to keep freeing myself from this prison of guilt but in fact to get to know the self and my purpose here. This is self-realization.
To change the pattern of thinking and feeling guilt and move forward in life I need inner power. Inner Power can be gained through these three things:
- To either keep telling myself the truth (self-realization) repeatedly or keep hearing it from others.
- I need to take responsibility to not repeat the action that would create guilt, and thereby stop depleting the thought energy.
- Incorporating meditation as an everyday practice.
Use the following steps in meditation:
- Disconnect from the action (of guilt)
- Connect to my true self
- Access my true qualities /my eternal nature
- Experience love
- Connect to the Higher Source
- experience the strength
- Free the self from guilt.
To learn more about meditation, self-development classes and the other activities of the Brahma Kumaris please visit bknewengland.org or call 617-926-1230.
(Dev Lingadevaru is co-coordinator of New England regional Brahma Kumari activities.)