In this article we will discuss the state of consciousness called guilt. We will differentiate between artificial guilt and natural guilt and then will discuss guilt in the context of our ideas about good and evil, as all guilt stems from those belief systems which happen to be highly tied up with our religious views.
“I am well aware that strong elements of your civilization are built upon ideas of guilt and punishment. Many of you are afraid that without a feeling of guilt there would be no inner discipline, and the world would run wild. It is running quite wild now – not despite your ideas of guilt and punishment, but largely because of them.”1
Birth of Guilt
Guilt arose with the birth of compassion. It is the other side of compassion.
“Its original purpose was to enable you to empathize on an aware level with yourselves and other members of creaturehood, so that you could consciously control what was previously handled on a biological level alone. Guilt in that respect…has a strong natural basis, and when it is perverted, misused, or misunderstood, it has that great terrifying energy of any runaway basic phenomenon.”2
Animals have a built in sense of unity with nature.
Man, in his journey of the evolution of consciousness, chose to step outside that framework on a conscious level.
The birth of compassion took the place of animal’s innate knowledge.
Biological compassion turned into emotional realization.
“The hunter, freed more or less from animal courtesy, would be forced to emotionally identify with his prey. To kill is to be killed. The balance of life sustains all. He must learn on a conscious level then what he knew all along. This is the intricate and only real meaning of guilt and its natural framework.”3
Men and women began to believe in demons when they started to feel a sense of guilt.
Demons are a result of your beliefs – they arise from a belief in ‘unnatural’ guilt.
“You may personify them. You may even meet them in your experience, but if so they are still the product of your immeasurable creativity, though formed by your guilt and your belief in it.”4
Natural guilt does not carry with it built in punishment. It was meant as a preventative measure – any previous acts that had aroused feelings of natural guilt were to be avoided in the future.
Natural guilt is highly connected with memory. It arose hand in hand with mankind’s excursion into linear time (past-present-future).
Without linear time and a ‘moment of reflection’ – a pause in which you remember the past in the present and envision a future – natural guilt would have no meaning.
The ‘moment of reflection’ refers to the important act of recalling past acts, judging them against the present situation and imagining the future sense of guilt that might result.
It is meant to prevent entities from violating others – and this includes humans, animals and nature.
Pause. Look. Listen.
The conscience, as we think of it, arose with the emergence of artificial guilt.
“Man is innately good. His conscious mind must be free, with its own will. He can, therefore, consider himself bad. He is the one who sets those standards in his own image.”5
“If you find that you are berating yourself because of something you did yesterday, or ten years ago, you are not being virtuous. You are most likely involved with artificial guilt. Even if a violation occurred, natural guilt does not involve penance. It is meant as a precautionary measure, a reminder before an event. “Do not do this again,” is the only afterward message.”6
With theories of guilt & punishment you may feel hampered in this existence by guilts collected in the last life, or many past lives.
Remember, these multiple existences are simultaneous and open-ended.
“Do not forget, all “time” is simultaneous. In a simultaneous time, punishment makes no sense. The punishment is an event, and the event for which you were being punished, exist at once; and since there is no past, present and future, you could just as well say that the punishment came first.”7
“A problem caused by guilt, physically materialized as a malady, is meant to lead you to face and conquer the idea of guilt, the belief in it that you hold in your conscious mind. The body itself is always in a state of becoming.”8
Guilt & War
“If you shed the distorted concepts of unnatural guilt and accepted the wise ancient wisdom of natural guilt instead, there would be no wars. You would not kill each other mindlessly. You would understand the living integrity of each organ in your body and have no need to attack any of them.”9
Wars are self-perpetuating because they combine both natural and unnatural guilt, compounded and reinforced by memory.
The hatred of one generation of adults whose parents were killed in a war helps generate the next one.
Forgiveness is the only eradicator of karma. Forgiveness is the only eradicator of guilt.
Natural Guilt & Violations
Natural guilt refers to the species’ manifestation of justice and integrity (that is unconsciously built into animals).
To an animal it means: “Thou shalt not kill more than is needed for they physical sustenance.”
To a human: “Thou shalt not violate.”
Thou shalt not violate against nature, life, or the earth.
An outright lie may or may not be a violation.
A sex act may or may not be a violation.
A scientific expedition may or may not be a violation.
Not going to church on Sunday is not a violation.
Having normal aggressive thoughts is not a violation.
Doing violence to your body, or another’s, is a violation.
Doing violence to the spirit of another is a violation.
Swearing is not a violation. If you believe that it is then in your mind it becomes one.
Conscious killing beyond the needs of sustenance is a violation. This includes capital punishment.
Killing and self-defense
Killing another human being is a violation.
Killing while protecting your own body from death at the hands of another through immediate contact is a violation. Whether or not any justification seems apparent, the violation exists.
“Because you believe that physical self-defense is the only way to counter such a situation then you will say, “If I am attacked by another person, are you telling me that I cannot aggressively counter his obvious intent to destroy me?
Not at all. You could counter such an attack in several ways that do not involve killing. You would not be in such a hypothetical situation to begin with unless violent thoughts of your own, faced or unfaced, had attracted it to you.Usually there are a variety of physical actions, not involving killing that would suffice. As long as you believe that violence must be met with violence you court it and its consequences.”10
Good & Evil
“Man has created, so called evil, in his own mind. Evil does not exist. It was not created in the beginning. It has been created in the mind of man, and can only be gotten rid of by man, through a change in his thinking. The evil of man’s mind has run wild on this planet for a long time.”11
Good and evil effects are basically illusions. In your terms all acts, regardless of their seeming nature, are a part of a greater good. I am not saying the end justifies what you would consider an evil action.
“While you still accept the effects of good and evil, then you had better choose the good.”12
“Opposites have validity only in your own system of reality. They represent deep unities that you do not understand. Your conception of good and evil results in large part from the kind of consciousness you have presently adopted. You do not perceive wholes, but portions.
In your terms, the ideas of good and evil help you recognize the sacredness of existence, the responsibility of consciousness. The ideas of opposites also are necessary guide lines for the developing ego. The inner self knows quite well the unity that exists.”13
Good & Evil and the Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden legend represents a distorted version of man’s awakening as a physical creature. He becomes fully operational in his physical body, and while awake can only sense the dream body that had earlier been so real to him. He now encounters his experience from within a body that must be fed, clothed, protected from the elements—a body that is subject to gravity and to earth’s laws.
The Garden of Eden story in its most basic sense refers to man’s sudden realization that now he must act within time.
“The Story says that Eve tempted the male, having him eat of the tree of good and evil, or the tree of knowledge. This represented a state of consciousness, the point at which the species began to think and feel for itself, when it approached a certain state of consciousness in which it dared exert its own creativity.”14
Eve eats the apple because it is the intuitive elements that brought about the initiation of individualized consciousness, and intuition is symbolized by the female.
“It was a state when the species became aware of its own thoughts as its own thoughts, and became conscious of the self who thinks. That point released man’s creativity.”15
Only after this individualization could the ego (male/Adam) attain its new birth and necessary alienation.
The tree of knowledge offered both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fruits – it offered choices and free will for the first time. It offered the opportunity to choose unity or separation.
Good and evil represent the birth of choices.
“When the [Biblical] passages were written, the species had come to various states of order, achieving certain powers and organizations, and it wanted to maintain the status quo. No more intuitive visions, no more changes, were wanted. Creativity was to follow certain definite roads, so the woman became the villain.
By the time the Garden of Eden tale reached your biblical stories, the entire picture had already been seen in the light of concepts about good and evil that actually appeared, in those terms, a long time later in man’s development.”16
Satan represents – in this story – the part of All That Is, or God, who stepped outside of Himself, so to speak, and became earthbound with his creatures, offering them free will and choice.
“Good and evil, the desirable and the less so, were invaluable aids then in helping form the basis for such separations.
While this may seem like the sheerest Pollyanna, nevertheless there is no evil in basic terms. This does not mean that you do not meet with effects that appear evil, but as you each move individually through the dimensions of your own consciousness, you will understand that all seeming opposites are other faces of the one supreme drive toward creativity.”17
Good & Evil in Relation to Health & Illness
If value judgments are used and illness is seen as a moral stigma then you will add an unneeded quality to any condition of ill health.
“If you are bound and determined that “GOD” creates only “good”, then any physical deficiency, illness or deformity becomes an affront to your belief, threatens it, and makes you angry and resentful. If you become ill you can hate yourself for not being what you think you should be – a perfect physical image made in the likeness of a perfect God.
If on the other hand you carry the idea too far – that illness can also be a learning process – then you can fall into the other extreme, glorifying sickness or disease as a necessary ennobling experience with which the body is purged so that the soul can be saved.
Following such a belief, you will confuse suffering with saintliness, desolation with purity, and the denial of the body as spirituality and a badge of holiness. Under such conditions you can even seek out illness to prove to yourself the strength of your own spirituality – and to impress it upon others.”18
Good & Evil in Relation to Poverty & Wealth
Perhaps you believe wealth is a result of moral virtue and comes from God’s direct benevolence.
Poverty then becomes evidence of a lack of morality.
“God” made so many people poor that obviously no man should dare try to change the situation – that rationale is often used.
The poor are looked down upon as are the diseased.
Perhaps you believe poverty is virtuous, and wealth is a vice and represents evidence of spiritual lack.
This harks back to Christ’s association with the poor rather than the rich.
“In all such cases, however, blanket moral judgments are being applied that involve feelings of guilt in which individual experience is forgotten.”19
Good & Evil in Relation to Color
White – considered pure, good, brilliant consciousness, youth.
Black – considered impure, evil, unconscious, old age, death.
“This of course involves consideration of race.” This is an extremely key concept in regards to the current state of racism in our society!
In this value system, black races are feared, as, basically, the aged are feared. The blacks are considered the primitives. To them are assigned creative musical abilities, for example, but for a long time these were ‘underground’ activities. They gave birth to acceptable musical productions but were not admitted themselves into the concert halls of the respectable nations.
In your society, the black race has represented what you think of as the chaotic, primitive, spontaneous, savage unconscious portions of the self, the underside of the “proper American citizen”.
“The blacks were to be oppressed on the one hand, and yet treated indulgently as children on the other. There was always a great fear that the blacks as a race would escape their bounds – given an inch they would take a yard – simply because the whites so greatly feared the nature of the inner self, and recognized the power that they tried so desperately to strangle within themselves.
Both groups acquiesced to their roles. In larger terms, of course, each has belonged to other races in other times and places; or to be more accurate, in simultaneous existences one plays out the others’ role.
Now all of this so far is from the standpoint of American and Western belief. In other “underground” systems of belief, however, black is seen as a symbol of great knowledge, power and strength. When this is carried to an extreme you wind up with devil cults, in which the poorly understood powers of creativity and exuberance rush out in distorted form; the undersides of consciousness are then glorified at the expense of the other, white “conscious and objective” values.”20
Common Belief System #1
Some feel it is good and morally superior to be Christian, Protestant, white, wealthy, in excellent health, and male.
If so, you will be uncomfortable mingling with others of a different race, creed or color.
These people will consider poverty as a sign of God’s displeasure and so be inclined to leave the entire matter in his ‘hands’.
Disease, poverty, femininity, non-Christian concepts and non-Caucasian racial heritage will be considered wrong.
“Both racial problems and religious dissension will be rationalized from the standpoint of these beliefs.”21
“Now if you happen to be Protestant, male, white, American, rich, and healthy, at least within the framework of your beliefs you can look at yourself with “clear” eyes. Your foundation is shaky indeed, but at least you fit within it for the moment. If however you hold this group of beliefs and you fall short – that is, if in some way you do not fit in – then even within that system you are in trouble. Some of the components are more charged than others. A Catholic or a Jew possessing these beliefs is obviously out of step to some extent, and will feel guilty as he measures himself against them. A black man who accepts the same system is indeed in difficulty. If he happens to be a poor black man he is in double jeopardy.”22
Common Belief System #2
Those with this belief system feel it is wrong to be white, American, wealthy, or even well-off in financial terms.
These are all obvious symptoms of moral deterioration to these people.
They believe material possessions are evidence of spiritual decay.
The exotic is romanticized; the foreign held up, the picturesque seen as real.
Black or brown skin is the criteria of spiritual perfection.
Poverty is a badge of honor.
“The people who follow these belief systems think that they are right. Their living style, community affiliations, and political leanings will be in direct opposition to the “white-wealthy” ethic.
Now if you happen to be black or brown, poor, and believe in this system, you will at least feel secure within it. If you are instead white and wealthy and hold such beliefs, you will think yourself quite inferior indeed, and do everything in your power to show how picturesque, and liberal and open-minded, and black or brown you can be, while still being white, fairly well-off, and perhaps secretly addicted to your Christianity.”23
These are two powerful belief systems commonly held my many in these modern times. You may find yourself fitting into one or the other.
There are, of course, other roads, other choices, other belief systems that do not place value judgments on skin color, religion and wealth & poverty. These belief systems recognize the validity of each and every human being; and they also allow each person to rise to their own unique individual highest potential for the greatest good without having to stuff each person into a destructive and limiting dogma, stereotype or label.
The point here is that we create guilt within our own minds. We attach stigmas to certain things or beliefs or people and those stigmas harm the health and unity of our minds, and therefore, our world situation.
We must learn that all colors of people are good. Wealth is not evil, unless gotten by ‘evil’ means. All people are equally spiritual in potential and we are all connected as one greater consciousness.
We construct the barriers around our minds and our lives and then we complain about them and criticize (or worse) those outside of our barriers.
This type of common behavior is ridiculous and immature and needs to be transformed as soon as possible within each and every person’s mind.
Until you are aware of your beliefs and how they affect all aspects of your reality you will be unable to do so.
Yet the work goes on, and it is wise to remember that all people are inherently good. Sometimes they just need to be reminded.
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
- Rogers, Walt, The Brown Notebook, 1958-1960
- Roberts, Jane, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1972
- Roberts, Jane, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1981
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974