Yesterday, we suggested that guilt is error's dark companion, and is responsible for most of the resistance to the admission of a mistake, especially from people who have made so many of them, like the members of the BushCo team.
Well, as luck would have it for us, Bush did issue an apology yesterday, on behalf of "the system."
"The system failed you and it failed our troops and we're going to fix it...I apologize for what they went through and we're going to fix the problem."
Apology accepted, Dub. Now, "fix the problem"—fire your VP, your AG, and your rap-dancing marketing director, and then leave office yourself. Then, all of you, get out of the public eye and work on expelling the demons that have driven you and our nation to this desperate point of geopolitical chaos, murder, domestic waste, and pervasive corruption. Get treatment for the disease that has so long afflicted you.
It all begins, as it can for many of us, with a recognition of the falsehood of guilt as a principle of human nature. As I say in The Tao of Hogwarts:
...is there anything, anywhere, in Nature that experiences guilt, except humans? Do animals or plants or rocks or stars or the earth itself feel guilt—do any of these things subject themselves to the punishments and the hideous self-torment of one who perceives himself as inherently flawed and poisoned by Nature with Sin? Or is guilt what makes us who we are—original, uniquely human, the Lords of the Earth and the fullness thereof? If guilt is what makes us special, what distinguishes us from all other forms of creation, then I would suggest that it is time to renounce the distinction and return to our pre-human evolutionary roots.
Fortunately, that last bit is quite unnecessary. We can, in fact, "fix the system," by committing ourselves to a program of "inner elimination." We all value good habits and practices of physical elimination, because we know that if we couldn't shit, pee, sweat, fart, or belch properly, toxins would build up in our bodies and make us very sick. But we often fail to apply the same principle to our minds. That's where the "inner No" comes in. Here is another excerpt from my book, which includes guidance on some basic principles of "inner elimination:"
Say an inner No to the validity of guilt as a principle of human nature. In a brief, daily meditation, ask for help from the hidden world and firmly, yet without bitterness or hatred, say the word "No" three times to the idea of guilt as a natural aspect of your being. Say a further No to any group ideology, pseudo-scientific theory, religious belief, or social doctrine that arises to your consciousness as a specifically intrusive source of the belief in guilt as a natural human trait. Ask the teaching Presence of the Cosmos and the helping cosmic energy of dispersion to dissolve the notion of guilt from within you. Finish each meditation with an expression of thanks to the cosmic energies that are thus clearing you of these destructive attachments and prejudices against your true nature. Many people have found this to be an extraordinarily restorative and cleansing exercise, and the best part of it is that it costs you almost no outer effort and only about two or three minutes out of each day.
Identify the areas in your life where you are bound by group affiliation, and sever the ties on the inner plane. In Hexagram 59 of the I Ching ("Dispersion"), Line 4 has this poem:
He dissolves his bond with his group.
Supreme good fortune.
Dispersion leads to accumulation.
This is something that ordinary men do not think of.
(from the Wilhelm/Baynes translation)
Let this insight lead you to reflect on the aspects of your life—work, national affiliation, an academic, social, religious, or other group allegiance, and even family life—that need to be examined for the limitations they may be imposing on your true nature and the fulfillment of your individual uniqueness as an independent moment within the Cosmic Consciousness. Many of us have spent much of our lives trying to live up to the group self-images projected upon us by collective ideologies—the obedient child, the good and sacrificing husband/wife/parent, the loyal, hardworking employee, the patriotic citizen of a particular nation. The fact is that children naturally behave as adults would like them to, when obedience is not beaten into them as an ideological imperative engraved on the stone of an institution's moral code; we are all of us more natural, loving, and enduring marriage partners when we are allowed to live independently, even as we maintain the inner connection with our beloved, free of the darkly threatening decree to "honor and obey" another; we become more loyal, supportive, and nurturing parents when we give up the lugubrious self-consciousness of "sacrificial duty" towards our children; we are more productive and creative workers when we are liberated from that obsessive and vaguely paranoid attachment to the institutional ethic of "hard work"; and we are far more beneficial to our community and our nation when we consider ourselves as citizens of the Cosmic Whole, rather than as parochially allied to some tribe, clan, or state and its prevailing ideology of the moment.
So consider which of the institutionally-programmed self-images of the collective ego are most limiting you in your inner growth as an individual, and work on releasing these bonds, in the knowledge that you are truly benefiting the natural family, community, business organization, and nation by doing so.
Be led to a more accurate and personally viable understanding of error and its place in our lives. In the I Ching, there is no direct mention of guilt, because, as we have discussed, guilt has no basis in cosmic reality. However, it is understood throughout the oracle's text that error is an aspect of the way of inner growth for humans, and so the I Ching speaks in many places of "remorse" or "regret." This, indeed, is how we are meant to understand the role of error in our lives. In contrast to what the collective ego and its ideologies would have us believe, there are no spots that won't wash out: our bodies, after all, are 75% water—the basic element of the baptismal ritual is already within us in abundance! So when you have said or done something which you regret, and that you recognize as an error, a temporary separation from your true nature, try the following steps in a brief meditation:
♦ Ask for help from the Cosmic realm in understanding the cause, nature, and the correct resolution of your mistake, and apologize to the Cosmos for the error, in a free and open inner expression of remorse that is unstained by guilt, self-blame, or bitterness.
♦ If it is an interpersonal issue that has occasioned your error, then apologize to the person you believe you have wronged, on the inner plane. Simply let your consciousness speak to that person and express your regret sincerely, as if they were right beside you in the room. This practice has a far greater transformative effect than most people would be willing to acknowledge, until they experience it for themselves.
♦ Finally, ask the Sage, the teaching energy of the Cosmic Consciousness, to guide you in understanding what, if anything, must be done, in addition to the above, to resolve the effect of your mistake and return you to harmony with the principle of Te, or Modesty. You may use the I Ching or other oracle, or simply attend to the messages you receive in meditations, in dreams, or through your own reflection. If you feel that any action or communication on the outer plane would be helpful in completing the resolution of your error, ask for help in learning the correct approach in this respect. And remember this: the capacity to say from your heart, "I am sorry" reveals an ability of such greatness as the leaders of the most powerful nations on earth completely lack. As with any meditation, finish by expressing your thanks to the Cosmos for its help in guiding you through this process of self-understanding amid an awareness of remorse.
If guilt, blame, and fear are severely troubling you, seek help from a professional. The guilt and self-blame that are engendered by our futile efforts to live up to the institutional ego's monumental self-images lie at the root of many depressive and anxiety disorders. We are not born to live in an inner state of slavery, ever fearful that we will be deemed insufficient to the self-images that cultural laws, moral codes, religious beliefs, and societal norms define for us and program into us. Your need for help is not a manifestation of something aberrant or weak in your true nature, but is rather a result of cultural conditioning. You can find a counselor, therapist, or other professional through talking to family and friends, or via professional organizations that offer referrals based on your needs and resources.