Guilt and Shame

monet - bridge reflections“Those things about which you feel guilt and shame are simply the remnants of lessons unlearned.  While you hang on to them by keeping them hidden, no learning occurs.  (A Course of Love, 31.19)”

Affirmation:  “May I be aware of my guilt/shame today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Do Not Admit

Many of us on the spiritual path do not want to admit to our guilt and shame, but we need to take a look at all parts of ourselves if we are to be awakened.  Guilt and shame may be exactly what is causing us to stay on this side of awakening.  There aer two parts in this lesson, and each mean something a little different.

2 – Regrets

Guilt is a proactive emotion, and is often the result of something that we have said or done that we regret.  The answer is to ask for forgiveness, and to remember that in this we need to ask ourselves for our own forgiveness.  God does not forgive, we are told in A Course in Miracles, because He has never condemned.  He wants only our good, and He fully understands our frailties.

3 – Shame Different from Guilt

Shame is a little different from guilt.  We may be ashamed when there is no need, in which case we have a kind of false shame.  There are always mitigating circumstances, and sometimes our minds are not rational.  We may do or say things that we later look back  upon with shame, but we had diminished responsibility, for which we need to give ourselves some latitude.  Of course, sometimes we do things that are shameful and for which there are no mitigating circumstances.  Then we need to address the guilt that in all likelihood attends the feeling of shame.

4 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the touchstone of A Course in Miracles.  And there is no better way to put guilt and shame behind us.  Make amends if necessary, and know that God Himself does not hold anything against our fundamental innocence.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that, rationally, there is nothing to feel guilty and shame about.  That does not mean that I have eliminated all error, but just that forgiveness is mine whenever I ask for it.  Of course, this means that I must listen to You and not repeat the mistake.  To repeat the mistake and repeatedly ask for forgiveness is a misjudgment, in my opinion.

Thank You for the fact that guilt and shame came to the forefront today.  I needed to hear this lesson.  We often say or do things that we regret.  None of us is perfect.  And today I am particularly prone to noticing my imperfection.

Be with me as I seek to reestablish a good self-image, even though that is a persona that is not the real I.  I would soon be done with personae, and rise to my Self.  A Course of Love will show be how.  Thank You for that channeled work.

Amen.

False Shame

“Those who are true leaders follow until they are ready to lead.  They do not strike out on their own at the beginning, before they know the way.  There is no shame in learning, no shame in following the course another has put forth.  (A Course of Love, 1.9)”

Affirmation:  “I would follow and lead, at different times.” 

Reflections:

1 – Leaders and Followers

We are often taught in school that being a leader is somehow preferable to being a follower.  And, so, as a result, we may lead, but in wrong directions.  Let’s don’t do that today!

2 – Heading toward Observation, not Learning

We need to learn until we are ready to lead by observation (A Course of Love tenet).  The old way of learning will indeed eventually fall away, but most of us have not reached that point yet.  We still have learning to do, and there is no shame in recognizing this.  Indeed, the recognition is a strength and asset.

3 – No Need for Shame

We need not feel shame if we know less than others in any given direction.  We know more in other directions.  Always there will be those who know more and those who know less, but we are all, ultimately, equals.  It is only remnants of the ego that would assert that we ought to be leaders always.  Our spirit knows that we have more humility than that.

4 – Insidious Emotion

Shame is a particularly insidious emotion.  We would do well to ask for guidance in leaving behind such a destructive thought.  Here in A Course of Love we have the guidance, we may believe, of Jesus.  Most of us recognize him as an elder brother who has walked the pathway ahead of us, and thus is in a particularly good position to show us the way.  He will correct all mistakes that we cannot correct (a tenet of A Course in Miracles).  He stands at the end to help us tie up the loose ends of our salvation.  Let us be grateful that indeed, at that point, we accept our place as followers and do not try to lead.  We would surely lead ourselves astray.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would lead about only what I am knowledgeable, and I would pray to You to guide me in what I say and do, and, yes, even think.  We reap what we sow, and I would sow good things today.  Help me to be emotionally and physically healthy, ready to do Your bidding.  And may those whose lives I touch be helped by the interaction.

Let us forget a minute about leaders and followers.  Both have their place, in different arenas, in our world.  And let us not lead when it behooves us simply to follow.

And the best one to follow is Jesus.

Thank You for his life and example.

Amen.