Friday, October 24, 2014

What is This Thing Called Guilt?


I have an enormous problem with feelings of guilt. I’m convinced it’s the bane of my existence, my chief obstacle in life. I rationalize away too many good hours of my days in service to this insidious structure of my ego. I want to break its hold on me. But how? I can’t afford a psychotherapist. Maybe the Catholics have it right—maybe confession is good for the soul! I think I’ll try it:

I suck at the art of relaxation and when I try to relax, I feel guilty about it even though in an out-of-reach region of my consciousness, I know it’s a beneficial thing. But tell that to my ego! Tell that slave-driver that not every moment must have a purpose, some useful something attached to it.

Sometimes I just feel lazy. Ahhh, laziness—not the same as constructive relaxation at all, but a SIN! If you don’t believe me on this point, ask M. Scott Peck, M. D., who wrote the definitive exposé on laziness in his ground breaking book, People of the Lie. He theorized that laziness is mankind’s greatest evil…that it IS the very DNA of evil. My poor mother, God Bless Her Departed Soul, could only justify her need for this evil by feigning illness and going to her bed for a few hours in a week, or so. My God, I’ve become my mother and one of Peck’s reprobates!

I’ve made mistakes with my kids—little mistakes and big mistakes. I still do. Those are the guilts that bore treacherous, black holes in my mind and heart into which I most often plummet…and yes, I lose myself there. My ego loves those plunges most of all because there’s no end to the ego’s guilt-affirming, mind-chatter there.

Sometimes I gossip! Shame! Shame! Shame! There really is no excuse for it, but still I do it on occasion even while one part of my brain is berating me for my indulgence while the other is joyfully partaking of it. The gossiper-me is like a food addict licking a huge dome of vanilla ice cream, my taste buds blindly welcoming as an honored guest the fat cells accumulating on my behind. And thereafter for days, I feel dreadful about the gossiping and the ice cream orgy.

Sometimes, and sometimes for very long stretches of time, I just don’t want to write, and especially to market my writing. There’s no limit to my guilt related to that one because it’s directly centered on God, no less! Why, you ask? Well, because God sent me here to be a writer; it’s my purpose in this life, my ticket into this particular incarnation—and I have the unmitigated gall to ignore that agenda, to squander my gift, to thumb my nose at God!!!

There just is no hope for me. Guilt has me in a firm grip and it won’t let go. But wait a minute! I think I do feel a slight easing of my conscience. Wow! This coming clean really works.

Maybe you’d like to try it. Oh come on. You can do it. There’s a blank space just below with your name on it. Only you and I will ever know—I promise!