Letting Go of
How to let go of guilt?
So then how do you heal and let go of guilt? It took me many years to learn how to do that. What you need to do when experiencing unwanted feelings of guilt is to ask yourself this question: “How does it make me feel to have this guilt?” The answers may be many and varied. Let’s look at some examples.
Say you ran over and killed a cat. You have the sense that if you had been more focused while driving, you would have been able to avoid it. There’s a gut wrenching feeling of guilt over the pain and death that you caused.
You also realize that you obviously did not do it on purpose, so logically have no reason to feel guilty about it. Yet you can’t stop beating yourself up thinking about the cat, the pain it must have felt, and how you could have avoided it. Now the question becomes:
“How does it make you feel to feel guilty about running over the cat?”
As mentioned earlier, guilt is a bubble of nothingness in the emotional body and behaves much as a bubble in liquid. As you know, carbonation bubbles in soda may stay submerged as long as they remain attached to something, such as the side of the glass or a straw or ice. Once they detach, they float to the surface and dissipate.
It is the same with guilt in the emotional body. It can only stay as long as it’s able to remain attached to something that is more solid than the liquid state of a healthy emotional body – i.e. frozen emotions.
Trick to Letting Go of Guilt
So the trick to letting go of guilt is to discover what true emotions are evoked by feeling guilty. Returning to the example about running over the cat, how do you really feel about it? Does it frighten you when you think back to what happened? Does it make you angry – with yourself for not avoiding it, with the cat for running out in front of you, or perhaps even with God for allowing it to happen? Feeling these emotions - whatever they may be - in a state of accepting yourself for having the emotions will allow them to thaw and transform, which in turn allows the guilt to let go and dissipate.
I will give another entirely different example so that you can get the full range of the types of guilt that this can be applied to. Is there any area of our lives more laden with guilt than our sexuality? Homosexual people usually have to face this guilt at some point in their lives. Not because it is wrong in any way, but because society often perceives it as such. (Incidentally, this is one possible soul cause for choosing a life as a homosexual. Another reason may be to overcome judgments. Judging homosexuality in one lifetime is a sure-fire way of getting reincarnated as a homosexual in another. However, there are endless reasons for choosing any kind of life experience.)
But say you’re a common heterosexual. You undoubtedly still have had some sexual thoughts and feelings that you’d be extremely uncomfortable if anybody knew about. (Why do you think you have those dreams about being naked in public?)
Letting Go of Sexual Guilt
Letting go of sexual guilt works in the same basic way as letting go of any other form of guilt, and you don’t have to wait for the embarrassing moment when your ‘naughty’ sexual secrets are actually exposed. For most people, the mere thought of ‘being caught’ in their dirtiest sexual fantasies will send shivers up their spines or make them feel like they are free-falling in to an abyss of shame.
These emotions that are brought up by the guilt are the emotions that need to be experienced in a state of full self acceptance – where you fully accept your spontaneous emotions whatever they may be. So the question becomes, can you accept yourself when you feel intense shame? Can you accept yourself when you feel fear of being sexually ‘exposed’and humiliatingly naked, as in your night-time dreams? And can you accept the feeling of embarrassment you'd experience if you actually were exposed, even if it's only a matter of thinking about the situation, not actually going through it? That is how to let go of sexual guilt. By having acceptance for yourself when you feel any spontaneous emotion that the sexual guilt brings up in you.
Dissipating Guilt by Unfreezing Emotions
Once you learn to find self love and self acceptance for yourself in whatever uncomfortable emotional state it may be, then the painful frozen emotions can begin to thaw. Guilt is always attached to some frozen emotion(s), and once you are able to thaw and release those emotions by accepting them, then the guilt can dissipate too. The method for releasing fear – which also applies to any other painful frozen emotion – is described in my article “Understanding Fear.” But to briefly recap, all you need to do is to have acceptance for yourself and your current emotional state while feeling the emotion.
To summarize: Letting go of guilt is accomplished by unconditional self acceptance of your current emotional state whatever it may be, with the underlying understanding that the true emotions are whatever you feel in response to the guilt, not the guilt itself. As the painful frozen emotions thaw back to a healthy liquid state, the guilt will have nothing to hold onto and will dissipate.
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