Dealing with GUILT
I know what you mean. What I found interesting and want to share here is some information I read this week while studying more about meditation. Some of the quote is in reference to guilt in a different context but the information can be applied across the board.
..... It is important when we are encountering restlessness to expand our awareness to the unacknowledged feeling or emotion beneath the obsessive thoughts. The fact that we have not faced the anxiety or the guilt is what allows it to escalate into restlessness. Our task is to drop below the level of the repetitive thoughts and, mindfully and compassionately, experience what we are actually feeling.
This way we experience both relief and release, going beyond habitual relationship to our pain. This is happiness that arises not from what is happening to us but from how we are relation to what is happening to us. We are relating to our feelings with the inner knowledge, It is okay. I do not have to run; I do not have to push the pain away. I do not have to get lost in it. It is okay to simply be aware of it.
This quality of relating openly to our feelings is the antidote for restlessness, guilt, and anxiety. When we develop the ability to open to our underlying feelings, we can transform guilt into wise remorse. Being aware of whatever we are experiencing with a peaceful attitude allows us not to be driven into restlessness.
A Heart as Wide as the World
No matter what the degree, inflicting pain on another being inevitably results in experiencing pain ourselves.
We might think that reviewing a harmful action over and over in our mind with lacerating self-hatred counts as some sort of atonement, but actually compassion is atonement. When we are filled with guilt, our identity collapses, and we think, This is who I really am, the one who. As our sense of ourselves narrows in this way, we punish ourselves repeatedly through unhappiness, disconnection, loneliness, hopelessness. This is what we feel we deserve. We may even hear something like the Buddhas teaching that all living beings want to be happy and have the full potential to be happy, but it only makes us feel more isolated. .
We cannot undo what we have done, and we cannot escape the results of our actions. But rather than hate ourselves or dwell in helpless shame, we can dramatically change thequality of influences in our lives
If we have done something inappropriate or unwholesome, and if our lives then become strongly influenced by compassion, mindfulness, and lovingkindness, (we) become radically altered, and this changes everything. This is a transformation we can begin right now.
We start by using mindfulness and lovingkindness to look directly at the pain we have caused others and the pain we are experiencing ourselves. We look at our shame, our guilt, our fear, and our sadness with understanding and compassion. We see the difference between saying, I am very wrong, and I that is all that I am, and saying I did something very wrong, and I feel remorse about it.
A Heart as Wide as the World