The title for today’s blog, “Let not the little interferers pull you to littleness. There can be no attraction of guilt in innocence” (ACIM T-23. 4:1) quickly sums up what I had not been focusing on the last few years.
On March 6, 2014, my sister died from her third heart attack. She was 45. Her heart attacks were caused due to her pain pill addiction. She had been crushing them up and injecting them directly into a medication port, which went directly to her heart. My husband relapsed on the same day. Within a 10-day period my relationships and finances went to shit. It was a defining moment in my life and even after years of dedicated spiritual practice and prayer, I defined myself as guilty. My sister’s death was so hard to bear. We used to be so close when we were young. I felt guilty for having judged my sister for 20+ years of drug use and poor parenting. I felt guilty that I hadn’t set stronger boundaries with myself in my relationship with my husband. I felt guilty I hadn’t saved more money. I fell into the egoic self-indulgent guilt I had been warned about by my teachers.
Instead of having a healthy regret that informed my decisions moving forward, I believed I was guilty and deserved all guilt has to offer. Guilt and it’s best friend, shame, become an emotional dependency.
I got so turned around from where I had been heading in my spiritual practice. In one single day, I discovered where my spiritual work needed to be directed, but it took time, courage, and empowering support to direct it deep enough to meet the pain head on.
How could there possibly be any attraction to guilt?! What could possibly make someone believe that remaining in the consciousness of guilt is a good thing? Well, the human mind can make anything sound good if it is getting a benefit from it. I have examined the conscious and unconscious negative ego benefit to guilt ad nauseum and uncovered my baseline attraction to guilt. Deep in the subconscious was a belief that being a guilty sinner, and the constant supplication to God required for said guilt, would help me be a good person and quit making mistakes that caused people to suffer. Because, in my emotional immaturity, I did try to solve my problems in a way that only perpetuated more pain.
What were the little interferers that pulled me into littleness? Fear, insecurity, emotional neediness, unforgiveness…. Maybe it was my religious upbringing that instilled the belief of God as Punisher. Maybe it was because I was shamed to the hilt for making mistakes as a child. Maybe it was a lot of things…but the common denominator was me. My mind. My emotions. My will. I had to choose innocence or risk being an energetic match for punishing experiences for God knows how many more lifetimes.
So how did I get turned back around? How has peace and innocence been restored to my mind? Transformational/Transpersonal support and spiritual guidance that’s how! For those of us awakening to our wholeness/holiness in a world of duality, we cannot make it alone. No one ever makes it out of error thinking alone. No one. I listened to the guidance of my spiritual directors Robert and Rosa Bustos who emphatically reminded me of my good heart and innocence and I accepted the offer from my professional coaching supervisor, Dr. Rosie Kuhn, to work on my personal psycho-spiritual challenges. I returned to my ACIM practice and came into acceptance that I am, as is everyone, a learning, growing, evolving being. We are in the process of developing a consciousness that can carry the light of our wholeness to greater and greater degrees.
Guilt serves no one and no thing except the energy that would perpetuate separation. Humbleness and asking for help when needed serve the highest and best in us all.
My internal commitment to living a beautiful life is fully supported by love and gratitude, even when I was guilting myself. It was because I loved and cared for others and experienced regret for my immature actions of the past, that I tried to solve the problem of hurting others with guilting and shaming myself. Twisted as my thinking became, even then it was based in love and not wanting others to suffer. So, I decided to give myself a damn break and discover ways to keep my mind, will, and emotions in a loving healthy place!
Its taken a while to have the courage to talk about this time of my life publicly, but I am finally ready to share the lessons I've learned during this painful, but psycho-spiritually productive time of my life. Let’s look at a few of the things I’ve learned about living from the innocence of being a learning, growing, evolving being.
Being responsible for our ideas and actions doesn’t mean we have to be condemned by them! Being willing to develop the ability to respond to thoughts of fear, insecurity, neediness, and unforgiveness with compassion and wisdom takes courage. Practice Response-Ability by beginning a mindfulness practice. Notice when you are acting or not acting, feeling or not feeling, in a way you want to represent yourself. Notice what the part of you that is acting/feeling in this way is wanting. Be with the wantingness. Give it attention and compassion. Just don’t take physical action on it. Talk to a trusted spiritual director and/or professional to support your practice. Commit to internally responding to yourself before committing to any outward action.
Choose Radical Honesty
Radical honesty is a dangerous business for an unforgiving and fearful heart! Some of us may have strong self-punishment programs we are detoxing! Just as in a physical detox in which we experience a craving for the substance we are detoxing, the soul can experience a draw to dwell in the old mind it is in the process of transforming. Give your honesty practice the role of Executive Director of Practice. Let your honest noticing direct where the Love needs to be sent and received. It is in this you will discover for yourself the Real Truth about yourself that you cannot learn from any human teacher.
Vigilance for God or right action can quickly turn into rigidity. Be watchful for any sense of that sneaky devil, condemnation. Gentleness looks at behaviors born of ignorance and delusion with a deep compassion and respect. Gentleness knows that each soul has its own journey that unfolds as each curiosity is fulfilled and surrendered to the highest good. The wisdom of gentleness also knows when to gently and lovingly choose not to engage with people, places, and things that are not in alignment with our highest good, without making any of them wrong.
As we allow gentleness to direct our choices, we learn the only thing we ever defended against, was our own delusions of who we thought we were. So fragile are our own self-made images. The idea that we must make ourselves be something more than what we were created to be, is the idea that supports defense. Once we accept we were made by perfection itself, we also come to the deep understanding that there is nothing for us to do to experience Peace. Our focus then becomes only to be aware to the blocks to love within our mind, will, and emotions.
Elizabeth Sabet, PCC, ACSLC, CBC