For centuries, perhaps millennia, fear and guilt have been the primary tools driving our existence and ‘progress’. Civilizations and cultures have relied on these two tools to maintain ‘law and order’. Religious leaders have found them the best allies of piety. Nations and Politics need them to keep vast populations in conformity. Fear and Guilt have become the hammer and wrench of the parenting toolkit.
Today, after centuries of crawling through dark ages we are finally moving into the age of light and awareness. An age where reason and intuition become the equal partners they have always been. We are ushering in the New Earth, but the devil persists. The backbone is still the same old guilt and fear. Now there is a third partner – Anger. Our generation’s anger and guilt is a heavy stone-filled rucksack we shoulder day and night. Without them, it feels too light and that’s more guilt. How can I enjoy when the world is in suffering? We carry them because they give us a purpose in life. As if we really matter.
We are guilty of pleasures – no, not the old world pleasures of sex and food – we have liberated those from the gilded cage of guilt. Our generation is guilty of happiness, wealth, comfort and even peace. We are angry and guilty that we raped our earth. We are guilty that we aren’t doing yoga every day. We are guilty to sink into a sofa. We are angry that our family members use plastic. We have guilt of our privileges and wealth. We are angry at our own judgments. We live in guilt, eat in guilt, look into mirrors with anger. We are angry that we are guilty. We are guilty that we are angry all the time. We are the same old ‘morally outraged’ people as any generation before us, only the commandments are different. The New Age has become just old wine in new bottle.
And we are simply passing that on to our next generations. Fear and Guilt are again the tools out of parenting tool kits. I don’t beat my child nor use verbal abuse, but my child is so sensitive today that all it takes to give it a good beating is a look of reproach and blame. I know it makes me guilty to do that, but unless I learn to heal my guilt and anger, I cannot stop giving programmed responses to others. Does it mean that I should stop saving the earth in the meanwhile?
Well, isn’t healing ourselves the greatest contribution towards a better earth? What about plastic and violence then? Let’s look at the motivation behind the question in the first place. Why are we concerned about plastic? Is it because I love this earth all the time, or is it because I am carrying guilt all the time? Perhaps a bit of both. And violence, why do I want to put an end to it? Is it because I love humanity so much that I don’t want to see the end of it, or is it because I live in fear all the time. A bit of both.
If we try to heal just the symptoms without examining the causes, we will simply end up replacing the old symptoms with new ones. In fact, humans have just been doing it over the centuries.
Well, then how can I get rid of my guilt, anger, and fear then? Aren’t they the root causes to all of this? But what is causing them, who is experiencing them? I am not asking a ‘spiritual’ question here. I am asking a practical question. If anger, fear and guilt need to be healed, the one who is experiencing it needs to heal. But who is that ‘one’ when all anger, guilt, and fear are healed? Who is the ‘one’ who is constantly having equally opposing thoughts all the time? Who is the ‘one’ who is on a mission to ‘save’ the world? Am I? Who is the one that is apart from the world? What makes me, me without anger, guilt, and fear? Can we really look at ourselves and ask these questions seriously?
Perhaps these questions are too ‘impractical’ and ‘vague’ to be of real use to some of us. Maybe in that case, I should simply start becoming less and less morally outraged as a start towards healing this guilt and anger. Perhaps I should simply start watching myself and my feelings without too much attachment so as to see the inner movements of fear, guilt and anger before they even become external realities. Perhaps just observing will bring to light many hidden destructive pathways that I seem to take every day with practiced ease.
And what use is it if I do all of the above to save the earth and my children from suffering. That would simply create more guilt and anger every time I fail. Maybe it is time to acknowledge my own suffering as the greatest obstacle to healing and real peace. Maybe it is time to see suffering as the cause of it all. Can we choose to move away from suffering?