Guilt and Shame
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Document: 55, January 27, 1983
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1983
I want you to Consider that which appears to be guilt: everyone is a sitting duck for it and everyone feels it. It is not something that is inflicted on you somehow by other people — it just appears to be that way. It is just another aspect of a partial dimension of reality, the aspect of everyone being unfinished. Of humanity, in a sense, knowing that, “I am incomplete or at least I could be different in some way, and I SHOULD be different.” Therefore, to feel guilty is quite ordinary. But I have also used the term shame and I mean something else when I use it. A person has to be outside the absolute ordinary flow of Life to ever feel shame. Or to use simpler terminology, guilt would be to personality as shame is to a more activated nervous system.
But you felt guilty before you ever found This Thing. That part of you below the Line still suffers from guilt, all the way from believing that you’re not doing enough for your loved ones to believing that you are no better off socially than you were five years ago, and you should be by now. You have got to begin to See in a quite objective fashion that everyone around you feels guilty. There is within everyone’s nervous system that which believes there are available alternatives, that there are people who feel differently — whether it be the pope or the president or someone you know. There is also a part within everyone’s Life-induced nervous system which believes that if external circumstances were different, some of the guilt would be erased — that is, “I would not feel guilty if I had been born right. Then I wouldn’t feel guilty when my mother calls to ask if I ever got a good job.” It is built into the arrangement of things for everyone to feel guilt.
Everyone feels guilty, but shame is something else. Shame is real, and a person has to have a piece of a new kind of reality to ever feel it. The ordinary guilt-induced internal voices want to ask, “Why do I do these things? Why do I act like I act? Why do I have such a temper?” It ends up being simply another form of what used to be religion and is now, more or less, considered to be psychology. It is attempts to analyze “Why I act like this”, and there is no answer. You “act like this” because you’re alive. For those trying to get above the routine level of consciousness, the proper question is not, “WHY do I do these things”, but, “HOW can I do these things. Not why, there is no why. The only pertinent question is, “How can I do this and still, by any small definition, claim to have a desire to expand my nervous system?”
Now I want you to try and Consider something closely related. That which passes for all forms of religion — including communes and would-be mystical groups, have several common threads running though them as part of the machinery of Life. You need to See this because those threads run right through you: it is a part of the glue that holds things together. In what normally passes for being some sort of esoteric group, including all the religions as they are now, one of the common threads is guilt. I want you to try and Consider it is also within you. You are a sitting duck for it. The whole world is a sitting duck. To make it more specific: do you Understand, can you Hear at all, that I could apply a kind of guilt-based pressure if you were with me in person and you would mechanically respond to it? I could make you feel passing moments of being truly “involved in something urgent” by bringing on induced bouts of great guilt. I could for instance threaten to cut you off or tell you that you are a grave disappointment to me. There is a niche within you that would respond to that kind of transfer of energy. All one has to do to hold people together, if one knows how to do it, is to use guilt.
But also Consider: that is going on in ordinary Life. Not that there were people who have a full Understanding of it — but the leaders of churches and mystical study groups tell the followers, “There is some higher good to which you should be aspiring. But you have not done it and everyone knows so.” Of course, it fits right in for the followers to feel, “Well, certainly, I haven’t done it. I wouldn’t be here if I had.” (Note, also, that no one asks the apparent leader if he can do it; that’s not part of the game.)
Back to the main subject. What I want you to See is that this guilt energy is not something unique to you — it is not something that has come about through your past. It is not because you were mistreated, or because you feel as though your parents lied to you. It is not because one time you caught a minister coming out of a house of ill-repute with a half pint in his pocket. It’s got nothing to do with any of that. It has to do with the fact that Life is always speaking of that which humanity cannot do. Under any ordinary conditions, to believe that there is an escape from guilt…you have got to be an absolute idiot. It is not made to be solved.
This Thing is not here to make anyone feel worse, or to bring additional difficulties. There is nothing that anyone has done to feel guilty about. But the time will come when you will have to find out what shame is. Because shame is the nonverbal question of, “How can I do these things? How can I believe I am pursuing This and turn right around and listen to this internal voice and take it as me? And then feel guilty about it?” Guilt is not in the vocabulary of Superman. You cannot do This Thing and be guilty. You can be shamed, but nobody has to tell you: it does not come from external pressure. It is not because you still imagine that your mother and father or the gods are watching your actions and taking notes. It is not that kind of guilt; it does not come from external pressure. The reality of shame is connected to the idea of a man’s conscience. Not the reflection of conscience as ordinary people speak of it, because all they are talking about, again, is guilt. But it is not that humanity has made up the idea of shame: it is a partial perception of reality. It’s just that the way in which conscience works in ordinary people is very distorted.
It is as though Life goes through a prism and it comes out all broken up into pieces; different groups across the world (and different individuals within groups) are affected by just part of the light spectrum. Somebody is hit by red and they claim that their conscience speaks to them along areas having to do with sexual matters, let us say, and someone else seems to be struck by conscience over the emotional problem of hating people. It is all bits and pieces. If you selected a certain number of people who were the right kinds, and you melted them all down, they would come out as one person with the ability to know what shame was. Shame has nothing to do with somebody looking over your shoulder, because someone trying to do This Thing is in the middle of the shoulders. You’re not waiting for the gods somewhere to look down on you. This Thing is an outlet for the reality of what all your forefathers believed were the gods. And when it comes through there is no question of action to avoid or incur guilt. There is something that tells you what to do, and you can feel the correctness of it. Not “the voice of the gods”, but the reality of it. And when you turn your back on that, and know you are going against that reality — that would be shame,
Now let me point out something else that is connected to this: churches and mystical groups have another common denominator besides the use of guilt, and that is the belief, to the point of distraction, in an external aim. Churches and would-be systems always take on the compelling apparent aim to proselytize, expand, and convert. But This Thing exists on the basis that the first thing — an aim that you cannot escape — is to activate your OWN nervous system. But now that you have heard something about guilt, notice this: you can hold a group together on the basis that there is a point to “enlightenment” — that a person could get in touch with the gods — whatever term they use. And maybe they discuss it for several nights. “We should all become “enlightened”. We should all be in touch with the higher forces.” But can you Hear me: that gets abandoned almost immediately and is turned into some great external project. Every now and then someone might ask, “Am I ‘enlightened’?” But then they would begin to assume — and it sweeps the whole little group — that everyone is now, in some way, enlightened or awakened. (The term doesn’t matter,) Then the would-be leader talks as though that is the case, and they undertake an external expansion. Can you Hear that that will hold a group together forever?
I am bringing this up so you can Consider that there is a piece of that within you, with no exception. There is no “why”: it is not because of your background. But, in the same way that I could use your routine guilt to bind you to This Activity and to me, I could also do it with some kind of apparent external aim. If you were with me, and I did that, your personal aim to ignite the higher areas of your nervous system would soon take a back seat. “I will undertake this great thing: forget the idea of what brought me here.” You might very well feel as though you were sacrificing yourself to the greater good of a greater aim. And you can’t do that in This. It is no weakness or ignorance on your part but an aspect of living at the ordinary level of consciousness; if I took that approach of external expansions at the expense of your own Aim, you would believe “This will sweep me along into something great.” It would sweep you along to the grave. Your Aim has to be to personally expand your own nervous system. That is my aim for you, whatever I may do with This.
I want you to also try and Neuralize the difficulty of hearing the reality of what This Thing turns out to be. The difficulty of even talking about it. The difficulty, right now, for you to even feel like you’re trying to think about it. (Of course, on a good day you should be able to remind yourself, “I’m not thinking about it, I’m trying to Neuralize it,”) In order to stay aware in the only place you can, you have to put it right up into what seems to be your intellectual consciousness — the mind in operation. Also Neuralize that This Thing flows as a certain kind of undifferentiated energy — which, in a sense, is the Three Forces in their original state. It flows through all of Life and comes out in little spurts and streams as what I’m calling “This Thing”. Further consider that everyone is an absolute sitting duck for any ideas, talk, and apparent teachings that get reflected from appearances of This Thing into religions. In one way or another it becomes, on the ordinary level, attributed to a divine being outside of Life who has dictated what humanity should and should not do to please that being. This Thing, as I’ve tried to point out to you, is in no way a critic of Life. It has nothing to do with this reflecting laughing at or criticizing any religion. But you should See that this reflecting process is not something external from you; that some group of madmen did not put together the major contemporary religions.
It’s not that. It’s as natural as civilization and technology progressing; it is a part of everything moving. But what comes out through apparent religions is a reflection, after the fact, of This Thing existing. I want you to See that. What is the alternative? The alternative is what you are pursuing in This. I’m doing as good a job as has ever been done on this planet. And yet at times it sounds to be almost insane. And at other times it sounds so simple that you can’t wait to get to the heavy, secretive stuff. You should be able to begin to perceive the difficulty of ever getting any grasp of what This is about. Where is all this coming from? I remind you, no human sent me here. I did not learn this; I didn’t go to any school. I don’t have a secret book. But then where did this come from? It is a force that runs through Life — it is not the voice of the gods. It is not specific instructions coming out that “were true two thousand years ago and are true today” ( as ministers are wont to say) because what was true two thousand years ago is now hog wash. At least for the sake of those with an aim. For the Few, it is a noise in another room that you can’t get to. It’s bladder gas coming out of the grave.
Do not forget your Aim in pursuing This Thing. Do not forget that you are not your internal voices. It’s like somebody has brought a cheap radio out to where you work and they turn it on. At first you think it will drive you crazy; but you find out, in a very short while, that you’re aware that the radio is on but you no longer listen to it. It has become background noise. You should have some perception that there is an absolute reality to being able to treat your internal voices this way: that it can be done. It’s not some kind of magic. There is a way that you can absolutely separate from the radio. It goes on and you can cease to listen to it. You can almost cease to be it. And when you have had enough small semi-tastes, you will sense that if you could stretch out those few seconds there would be something beyond which would be unbelievable. And it would be.
I want to say some more about a term I have mentioned before: Omni-directional Thought. I am trying to point to a physical place where the possibility exists for you to find out what I mean by “Neuralize”. It’s when you are apparently looking at one thing, and thinking about something else and then something from some fourth dimension comes from out of nowhere. But consider the opposite of Neuralizing: the ordinary, absolute dependence on the Circuitry that seems to culminate in your thought processes. An absolute dependence on words. And what I’ve tried to get you to Consider is that, under ordinary conditions, you can only think of anything that you have a word for. But the only things you have words for are the things you have already thought of, things that you believe, that you already know. And that is not what Neuralizing is. That is not what I mean by trying to engage the Yellow Circuit and to push it further up into this Omni-directional Thought, where it’s everywhere at once.
You’re driving along the street; you realize that somebody went by and the way they looked, or their cheap car, made something in your circuitry come up with a comment. Neuralizing is not to stop and wonder “Why am I like that?” It’s to be aware that your circuitry said something, and then you try to look at it. You try to look and of course it stops; it seems to almost disappear, and then you look off and it starts to rise again. If you begin to listen to it again, it becomes a part of you. You are then it, and you can’t learn anything. Not because it was wrong morally: all you can do then is suffer over it by guilt. You could attempt to come up with a psychological explanation from your childhood as to “Why I did that”, but there is no “why.” You simply have to not think it. You’ve got to look away from it and then look back, and as soon as you get entangled again, you look away. You must jump to other positions, look from every possible direction, and that is what I am implying when I say “Omnitaneous Thought”.
There is no rigid framework in which a man can do This Thing, nothing you can adopt that will help you. That’s why I tell you to Neuralize something. I don’t tell you I want you to memorize what I’m about to say and hold it close to your bosom for ever and ever. Although everyone wants to, you can’t do that. There is, in everyone’s system, a magnetic need for that: “Please, someone tell me what’s what. Tell me what to do next.” But if you continue in This you will come close to a different kind of magnetic force; that is, the force of This Thing attempting to flow through you. The reality is that once This Thing is flowing through you, all the guilt and ambiguous feeling are simply gone. You know what to do. There’s no longer an internal battle. It’s no longer a matter of you hurting yourself, of you having to live some form of induced guilt from external sources. You don’t have to talk about it, and neither are you subject to compliments about your improvement. None of that. It’s just no longer relevant. You are not dependent upon an apparent great external aim in which you could submerge yourself and forget all about trying to do This Thing, and it’s not a matter of being accepted into a secret club or of making me happy. Only you can do it. Your Aim is to get above the routine level of consciousness. And you know you cannot do that and be hostile, or suffer, or carry imaginary grudges against people; you cannot hate anybody — you simply can’t.
Of course, once you See it, “hate” is no longer the word; it’s simply the natural scheme of things. This nervous system you call “you” is continually crying out, as it always will, for ordinary food. It has been arranged to handle that kind of food. And that food is dimensionally incomplete — it is all imaginary. Even for those pursuing This Thing, the nervous system continues to make hostile noises: that is its nature. The people it’s always hated, it will still rail against. The things it has always criticized, it will continue to try to criticize. But you can get to the point, literally, where it becomes irrelevant. You no longer live there. It is no longer you: it’s noise. You have moved to a different place.
Neuralize further the near impossibility of trying to convey This Thing to other people. What can you possibly say to humanity in general? People want to hear a secret message from the gods. They want direct assurance that there is something outside of this system watching and taking interest in people individually. By now, you should See that, until you became involved with This Thing, you never had any interest in yourself — you didn’t know how. And then your system wants to hear that something external from you, outside this dimension, has a personal interest in you or in humanity. How can that be? How can this “something external” be conscious of you if you’re not conscious of you?