It is possible for our egos to create a thought-based sense of guilt. That happens when we don’t act in alignment with thought-based reality. But the things we are genuinely ashamed of only produce shame because those are times in which we have behaved in ways that are truly out of sync with who we fundamentally are.
Our egocentric ‘mistakes’ are not when we expose ourselves as bad people. ‘Mistakes’ are when our ego is testing our comfort zone. Those experiences always lead to growth. Guilt is the ego’s Yin. It’s the other half of the wheel that is the Soul’s Yang. Quite distinct from that are our moments of ‘regret,’ or ‘shame.’ In those cases, rather than being our of alignment with other’s expectations, we are out of alignment with our true selves.
We cannot think that guilt or shame reduces us. Meditate on it: there are already people that love you. They prove that can be done with you as you are. Sure, change if you want to –if it’s enjoyable to grow. But if we’re going to call anything ‘crazy’ let’s call it when we’re out of touch with our own lovableness. And guilt and shame can do that.
Everyone makes mistakes. We all make them because everyone spends their lives searching for who they are. Our ego says –maybe this person? And we try some life and part of it feels bad so we reject it and try something else. Or maybe it feels right for a while but then we or life changes. Those changes will be precipitated by feelings of ‘wrongness.’ It’s not us failing –it’s our signal to become someone else.
There is no ultimate destination of ‘happiness.’ There is only the verb of our ‘being.’ When we act in alignment with ourselves we feel good. And when we’re out of alignment with our soul we feel shame. And all of life Yins and Yangs between both. That very motion is what creates our lives.
Life is like a novel. Every life includes all of the emotions and feelings that make life rich. And all of our stories will take us through periods of both guilt and shame. We need not have these trap us, feeling as though we have failed.
Guilt simply means we broke a rule of society’s that we agree with. It happens all the time. Those things only bother us when we think about them. And while the shame is more serious as a violation of our fundamental self, it still isn’t some failure. It is simply nature’s feedback, telling us that we have hit a limit around who we are willing to be. It is in fact a sign that we are good people, and that there are lines we will not cross.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.