“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.” Kahlil Gibran
The month of March is a wonderful time of year to begin a personal transformation of rebirth and reform. Here at the Jersey Shore, early signs of rebirth are evident. While on my meditative walks, I spy nature’s subtle changes with green sprouts breaking through the thawing winter ground. With this promise of hope, now is an ideal time to release any heavy-laden spirit that may have darkened your winter.
“It’s an ideal time of year for spirits cried in human form to sprout anew.”
For this New Spiritual Blog Series, I’m going to examine the physical and spiritual sides of emotions that typically act as a catalyst for change. Before I dive in, your motivations for change may be different and I welcome your feedback in the comments below. Guilt will be our first emotion and a very likely motivation for personal transformation.
How can guilt ignite a personal spiritual transformation? Let’s explore how…According to Webster’s dictionary, guilt is described as a feeling of responsibility for wrongdoing. Synonyms for the word guilt would include contriteness, contrition, penitence, regret, remorse, remorsefulness, repentance, self-reproach, and shame. Most of us associate guilt with shame, remorse and regret. Physically it feels heavy in the body and can overwhelm us in our minds.
When I reflect back to when I was 21 and struggling with alcohol, my inner voice was telling me there is a better way to live. Even when I was out partying, I had this feeling I wasn’t being true to myself. I needed to make a change. My inner voice was relentless and despite it’s persistence, I didn’t make things easy for myself. It was a dark time and I carried a load of guilt.
Today, I know that as humans we are complicated individuals, living in a time that feels like a difficult-world. Easily, we can get so far away from our True Self.
What is our True Self?
Joseph Campbell, American scholar, talked about the “Hero’s Journey” in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. He said as we go through life, experience pain and then sorrow, and come out of it somehow, there is something inside of us all the while that helps—it’s that quiet voice, that quiet piece of us that is eternal, and it’s always been there, and it will always be there.
Some people call it the soul; some people call it the spirit or the eternal eye or the eternal I. Others may refer to it as Christ consciousness or Buddha nature. The Hindus actually call it the Self. It’s beyond description but everyone is reaching for this, and they don’t know it. I was striving for this at a very young age.
Whatever you call your True Self or inner voice, is up to you and your business; knowing it exists and becoming aware of it, will change your life forever.
Guilt may seem very real and can sit in your mind as shame and a thick negative state. There is no denying the pain. Yet pain can be the positive motivator we need to begin to change.
As the Buddha taught, on the deepest level all thoughts and feelings are transient. They come and go like passing ships in the night or like clouds crossing the sky.
In reality, all that guilt is good for is a springboard to finding your True Self.
If guilt is taking up space in your mind, it needs to be cleared out once your spiritual journey begins.
This True Self is found through personal transformation and renewal. Here are two steps to start you on your journey:
- First Step: make a decision to begin living a better life. Start slowly eradicating vices and in their place creating virtues. One of the most important steps is to really commit to finding out who you really are and this will start you on the path to polishing up your behaviors that caused guilt in the first place.
- Second Step: bring Self- love into your awareness and consciousness.
Buddha said the following about Self-love, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Finding Self-love and finding out who and what you really are represents the beginning of the greatest journey you will ever take. Guilt feels real until the true nature of your reality is found out. If you experience the emotion of guilt, allow it to be the spring board for spiritual and personal renewal, then prepare to drop it quickly.
Contemplation: Begin to try and forgive yourself and forgive all others. Pick up a journal and begin writing your thoughts about living a life guilt free. What does it look like for you? How will that feel? Then, begin each day with a little meditation by blessing yourself with forgiveness and self-love. Loosen the hold of guilt. From there you will be able to bless everyone else
Meditation: While sitting in silence, ask your True Self within if there are any relationships or situations in your current reality that would benefit from more love and less blame and guilt. Try and feel the heart space within you.
- Where are they?
- Who are they?
- Consider deeply how you can bring more peace into these dynamics.
Take a few soft gentle deep breaths. Drop in to that pure feeling of quite awareness, and allow your mind to empty and stop worrying. Allow a silent childlike imagination of freedom and peace to enter in and empty the guilt.
Say a short prayer to yourself as follows:
I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
Forgive everyone and bless everyone
Trust. Breathe. Enjoy.
Open your eyes slowly and gently
Hold this in your heart all day.
Want to share? Comment below. Next week I’ll explore the duality of Passion and how we can use this emotion to bridge us to a spiritual rebirth.