Question: What is guilt? Does it facilitate, or hinder spiritual growth?
Speaker: We often use the term ‘spiritual growth’. It is alright if it is used loosely, just to indicate something. But it is not alright, if you mean ‘spiritual growth’, as actually the growth of some entity. There is no spiritual growth as such. ‘Spiritual growth’ only means ‘spiritual dissolution’. Nothing grows. All growth is that of the ego. Only the ego grows, accumulates, becomes larger.
Now, what is guilt? Does it add somethingto your mind, or does it take something away from your mind? Is guilt, a taking away of something, or an addition of more thoughts? Does it make you heavy, or it helps you feel light? So is it a growth, or dissolution?
Speaker: It is a growth.
Guilt is a very un-spiritual growth. It is like accumulation of money, or disease, or contacts, or knowledge. It is not spiritual at all. You see, I have a concept about myself. That is how we live. I have a concept about myself. Now forget about that concept being the truth, that concept is not even a fact. It is just a concept.
Now situations hit against this concept. Time and again this concept gets wounded, it bleeds. Situations are not biased towards us. They tell us we are not what we imagine ourselves to be.
We have two clever ways then. First is the way of self-improvement. What is that way? “Well, I may not be yet there, but I can improve myself to reach there.” Second is the way of self-flagellation. You are beating yourselves up. “I was already there, and yet due to some kind of sleep, I missed it. Not that I have to reach the railway platform. I was already there but I dozed-off. So I missed the train.” This is the way of guilt. “I don’t even have to improve, I am already there. I am already there, but you know some error, some foreseen situation happened that was outside my control, and I missed it.” That is what guilt says.
Both these paths are just paths for self-preservation. To maintain the concept, you will feel motivated to improve yourself, and you will feel guilty and demotivated, and you will tolerate both these mental states or either of them. But you will simply not admit that your self-concept is false, that you are not what you think yourselves to be. You are not that, you will not make this simple admission. You will write me long mails. This happened, that happened. But you will simply not write, “This is how I am, and I have no problems with this.”
Because having problems is just fooling myself that something better was possible to me. “I don’t have any problems with this. It is just that I realize where I stand” And out of this realization that real change happens, and that change, mind you, cannot be called improvement. Because improvement always happens in the context of the present state yourof ego.
Real change does not improve you. It is not a personality development thing. Real change neither improves nor deteriorates you. It is just a dimensional shift, not an improvement. X=2 is not becoming X=3. It is moving into the Z. Can you call it improvement? But you want improvement, not that dimensional transformation.
Are you getting it?
Don’t feel bad about yourself, because you are not good enough to feel bad about yourself. Why are you overestimating yourself? Why? Just realize. Realization is, and I cannot over stress this point. Realization is not a comparison. Realization is not coming to a conclusion. Realization is just an immediate knowing. “Oh! This is happening.” Simple, very very simple. “Oh! Right now I am stuck in sexual desire.” This is it!
And unless it is simple, you will not realize. Unless it is simple, it cannot penetrate. Because if it is not simple, it will become a concept, and you will co-opt the concept. Only if it is very minute, very simple can it have that penetrative edge, like a needle. A needle has to be very simple. If the needle is complicated, can it enter? Realization has to be subtle, little, sharp as a needle. Not an extended thought, not an elaborate email. It has to be as swift, fast and clear as- “Oh!” This is it, it has happened. “Oh!” And you wake up. Done! No grand admissions are required. That split second is sufficient.
And it’s so powerful, that split second amounting to nothing, is so powerful, that it can change everything. And remember this:Only that which is close to nothing, can change everything.
Listener 1: Isn’t the ego and guilt inevitable? When it is said that it is very simple to realize, isn’t it that it is so simple that I can’t realize?
Speaker: So come to the bare fact of its inevitability. And inevitability, again, must not remain a mere concept. Do you know what ‘inevitability’ means? Inevitability means – here it is! Inevitability means that which is impossible to be done away with. Right? So here it is! This is what is the realization. “Oh!” Done. Now do you really have time to feel guilty? You don’t even have time. You can have time only if you want to enjoy, you want to have the pleasure of brooding. “What am I doing?” Wallowing in guilt.
Listener 2: But, gratefulness also has the same quality as that of guilt that…
Listener 2: Yes.
Speaker: Gratefulness, is the “Oh!”
Listener 2: Yes, with the pinch of gratefulness.
Speaker: That pinch tends to zero. Unless it tends to zero, it means nothing. Because the moment it takes expansion, the mind takes over. Why don’t you understand this? So there is the strike of love in your heart. And then you want to say something about it, and write a poem, and do so many other things. Now the mind has taken over. It’s as if the lover has come and gone, and now the servants are busy with the clothes: washing, laundry, dry-cleaning, and ironing. The lover is not there. Gone!
Listener 2: Does it mean that the moment it finds an expression, it is not there?
Speaker: The expression will come. The expression is a direct and inevitable result of realization. But the expression is not of that which you realized.
When love penetrates you, the expression need not be directly of love itself- that I am writing poems on love.
Love has penetrated you, and it will find expression in the way you look at an animal, in the way you eat your food. Now expression is happening, but you are not expressing the concept of ‘love’. The expression is happening in your moment to moment living. Your very existence is an expression of that – “Oh!”- of that realization. It’s like you are saying, “I love you,” with every breath. Where is the time to say, “I love you”? Walking, eating, sleeping, it is being expressed. It’s like you are praying with every heartbeat. Now where is the time to pray? But if you find an elaborate schedule to pray, it is bound to be false. Are you getting this?
Listener 3: Are realization and guilt complimentary? If you feel guilty, then you will realize? If you realize, then you will feel guilty?
Speaker: Realization is a sharp look at the one who is feeling guilty. The one who feels guilty, is not the same as the centre that realizes. So when I say, “Oh!” it is like saying, “Oh! You are here again.”
(Referring to some of the listeners) So Gaurav is back. Gaurav – the guilty. Anshu – the bemoaning. Shubhankar – the mourner. That rhymes.
You are here again. Fine, you are here, that is it. How much time do you take to see that somebody is here? You need to write an essay about it? One glance! And you know that the fellow is back. Right? One glance is sufficient, that is it. (Referring to one of the listeners) One glance and you know Anshu – the guilty is back. Simple. Who is he? Anshu – the guilty. “Oh! Fine.”
Now why do you need to talk to him and shake hands and become one with him? Let him be there. It is a part of themaya(ignorance) game. He has a place in existence. In fact, he is existence. Let him have his rightful place. Sometimes he will feel bad, sometimes he will feel good. He wants to feel something. Let him do all that. He wants to be busy.
Listener 4: What if one feels guilty of the fact that these glances are no more possible?
Speaker:Then how do you know that they are no more possible?
Listener 4: Just by analysis of what you were in past, and probably who used to have these glances.
Speaker: Who looked at that past?
Listener 4: Just a train of thought.
Speaker: How do you know that train of thought happened? Does train of thought know itself?
Listener 4: But we can’t call it ‘realization’.
Speaker: We can at least call it ‘observation’. ‘Self-observation’, that is not far away.
Listener 4: Doesn’t it kill the process?
Speaker: It is because you donot trust it. It is because you have become very doubtful of yourself. It is because you keep condemning yourself all the time. Then how can you even trust your own observation?
(Referring to the listener who has asked the previous question) “My own observation. But who am I? Anshu – the condemnable. How can my observation be trusted?” Anshu might be condemnable, but the one who observes is never condemnable. Anshu might be whatever, but when you are observing, you are not that. These two centers are different. Do you understand this?
The process of observation is a dimensional change. When observing, you are nobody. And when that nobodiness is complete, then you are called a ‘witness’.
So do not come with this great plea, “Sir, look at me with my kind of contaminated mind. Can my observations be relied upon?” Yes obviously, because they are not your observations. They are not mine either. They all come from a very different place. Kindly trust that place.
Listener 5: So, I am looking at a plant, I am observing a plant. I start expecting some results from it. I start expecting that the plant must grow fast. Does this mean that I do not trust my observation?
Speaker: When you look at a plant in that way, then that observation is mired with expectations, thinking, time, past, all these. So, that is not really an observation. You are sitting at the window seat of a train, now what does ‘observation’ mean in this regard? Does it mean that you look at all the scenes outside, and declare them to be bad, or good, or stinking, or pleasant? Is that what observation is?
Observation is, simply opening your eyes and being with what is there. Now what is there, again, does not mean a particular scene. It also does not mean all the sounds. It means sights, sounds, touch, feel, smell, plus everything else. Just opening up! That is observation.
Observation is not like journalism. It is not about reporting a particular matter. “What did you see? I saw plants. What did you see? I saw men. I saw sky.” No, this is not observation. What I am saying is that observation is such a simple thing, that when it happens, it just happens. It is there. And I am pretty sure that it happens with all of us. It is just that it doesn’t happen as per our wish.
Listener 2: Sir, the problem is the image. We make an image of everything. We are so fearful, there is so much fear, that everything has to be set in images, so that there is no more fear.
Speaker: So that there is no space for the unknown.
Listener 2: Unknown is very scary.
Listener 6: When small kids are taught alphabets, they are taught through images. So they are taught that R for Red rose. So the kid is taught that roses are red. Now, when this kid grows up, and comes across a white rose, he is surprised. He says, “We were taught that roses are red.”
Speaker: Look at our foolishness. Not only does it does it happen with a child, it happens with entire economies. So because you are taught that a rose is red, and infrequently you have pink, white and yellow roses as well, but never are you taught about a black rose. So incidentally when a black rose is found, it attracts a lot of money.
Now why is the black rose so very costly? Because as a kid you were taught that roses are red (Laughter). So grownups, forty year olds are prepared to pay fifty thousand for a black rose. Do you see the entire stupidity of this game? What really is the difference between a black rose and a red rose? The difference is just that the kindergarten books say, “Roses are red.’
Listener 1: It is very difficult for the mind that to accept that the unknown cannot be comprehended. That is why there are images, announcing that it can be comprehended.
Listener 4: Sir, does it mean that observation is not to be interpreted?
Speaker: Obviously not. No observation is open to interpretation. Observation means ‘nothing’. Do you remember I said in one of the camps, “Let the pen write”? Let the eyes see – that is observation. Let the pen write – that is reflection.
~ Excerpts from a Shabd-Yog session. Edited for clarity.
View the session at: What is guilt?
Article 2: Observation leads to the right change