Welcome to the Guilty New Age

We have crawled out of the Dark Ages into the New Age of reason and intuition, but we have carried our guilts and fears into the light. Can we heal them now?

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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.

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Angry and Guilty (“Stock photo. Posed by model.” ) Image Courtesy: http://www.freeimages.com

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?

Who is my Soul Mate?

'And they lived happily ever after....'
‘And they lived happily ever after….’

‘And they lived happily ever after…’

There is a reason why many fairy tales end with a perfect couple finally getting to be with each other and the above statement. Because even those who wrote fairy tales – tales of hope, love and magic – could not imagine what kind of a life ‘prefect’ couples lead! So they simply throw that statement ‘they lived happily ever after’ and get away with it!

Who is my Soul Mate?

As a therapist who also deals with relationship issues I often get asked this question both by single women and men. Sometimes by married men and women too asked me this question.

Let us be very honest for a moment. Do any of us consider ourselves perfect? Not really. Then why do we expect a perfect person in life? Why would a perfect person choose to live with someone as imperfect as ourselves?

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the term Soul Mate, especially among those into the ‘New Age’ circles. The common misunderstanding is that a soul mate is a romantic partner who is meant to be yours, someone who will storm into your life and set all things right for you, at least on the relationship front. And everybody is supposed to have a soul mate.

Well, if that is true then for every person who remains unmarried all their life there will be another disappointed person who is left forcibly unmarried or caught with a ‘wrong’ partner. It even implies an obligation to get married whether one likes it or not. Well, with so many social and religious obligations already around I would say you are better off without another ‘sin’ falling on your head.

The Need for a Perfect Partner

 Most of our needs for a perfect partner, just like most other relationships, spring from an internal lack. We feel lonely, unloved, worthless, or because we feel our family and friends have not really understood us. In fact, if there are soul mates and we do find them, this very dumping of past expectations on to that person’s head is alone enough to wreck that relationship!

Another issue is social/cultural/religious programming we receive since our childhood regarding relationships. We need partners who fit our programming. Hence a lot of marriages end up as bitter disappointments for both the partners.

I am not saying there is nobody called a Soul Mate. All I am asking is to question yourself with forthright honesty as to why do you want to hold onto such an idea? Our mind never does anything randomly. So if there is a belief then there is an underlying motivation holding that belief. And whatever that motivation or lack is you can heal that without a need for any external saviour.

Perfect Relationships

Suffering comes from inside of us never from outside. What’s outside is always a reflection of our internal state. I am not being a killjoy here. I do agree there are perfect partnerships but not perfect persons. What do I mean by a perfect partnership?

We always attract what we need in our lives. I am not putting forward some romantic pseudo-spiritual concept here. I am speaking of how our minds shape our reality and experiences. How is that when you drive in anger you seem to attract all the ‘idiots’ in the road who overtake you narrowly or drive straight on the wrong side of the road directly towards you?

More than we attract what we wish for consciously, we attract those beliefs that motivate us to consciously hold desires and ambitions in the first place!

This is no exception in case of relationships too. We seem to find partners who are smack opposite of who we are. Or they soon grow into that. You can look at the situation from two viewpoints – one we got what we attracted so we must suffer. Or two, we have an opportunity to go within and question the belief that attracted this situation in the first place.

Mirrors to our Fears

Partners can reflect our underlying fears and beliefs
Partners can reflect our underlying fears and beliefs

A life partner usually fulfils the role of a mirror perfectly. What you see in a mirror is exactly the opposite of your image as well as the same as you. Opposite because the poles are reversed – left to right appears as right to left in the mirror. Same as us because they reflect all our fears and beliefs back to us. What can be a more perfect partnership than that?

When friends mirror our fears, we cut them from our lives. When siblings do that we start avoiding them. When parents do that we run away from them. But when finally spouses do that we deliberate for a long time. Even in countries where divorces are common, people spend a lot of time in the marriage before they opt out.

Opposites Balance

In fact, opposites balance out each other nicely many times. Think of a spendthrift man with a frugal wife. If they learn to accept each other’s shortcomings, there will still be arguments once in a while, but there will a balance of thoughts built in each. If they think they are not good partners, there is only suffering.

Do I mean partnerships should not be broken? I am not speaking of any outside actions here. Before you opt to stay in the relationship or to get out of it, make sure you’ve questioned and healed all your beliefs and fears the other person is reflecting back to you.

For if you fail to do that, you will either continue to suffer in the relationship, or move out of that relationship and attract a similar one again!

Isn’t it selfish to look at self healing in a relationship? Perhaps it is, but is it unselfish to expect a soul mate to walk and be disappointed with who comes in?

If you are single, ask yourself what is your idea of soul mate relationship and why do you want such a belief? Find and work out the beliefs that are motivating you to look for a soul mate.

There is nothing wrong in falling in love before or after marriage. There is nothing wrong in thinking this is the perfect partner for you. But dumping expectations on the other person in relationship – be they personal or social/cultural – that is the beginning of trouble.

I’ve seen more relationships break or not happen at all out of idealistic concepts, fears, and expectations than actual lack of compatibility.

A partnership is a best opportunity for us to heal ourselves. And if both partners do that, they would certainly realize they had attracted Soul Mates indeed!

Strange as it may sound, a perfect relationship happens when the both partners do not expect anything from each other!

Suggested Readings:

Power of Manifestation

Sometimes Separation is a Way for Healing Marital Issues

Photo Courtesy: adamr, Michal Marcol, and imagerymajestic @ freedigitalphotos.net