Ask: Are we to accept intrinsic guilt as an article of faith?
“You describe guilt, the source of our troubles, as being intrinsic which also means inherent ie. we are born with it. This sounds similar to the way Christians accept the concept of Original Sin as an article of faith. Are we too to accept intrinsic guilt within the context of the Course as an article of faith or is there some explanation which thus far eludes me?” - ES
It’s important to understand the distinction between what Christians teach and what A Course in Miracles teaches with regard to guilt. Christian’s teach that you, or a distant ancestor or yours, have defied a god outside of you with power over you. This is a sin and your guilt for it is real and you will be punished for it. A Course in Miracles teaches that you simply have forgotten True Being (which it labels “God”). This is not a sin, but a mistake which causes your pain. There is no one and nothing outside of you to punish you for this. The concept of guilt is a false belief of the ego (personal thought system) meant to keep the ego in your awareness. Guilt is the ego’s defense against you turning inward, finding Truth, and undoing your belief in the ego as your reality. So while guilt is intrinsic to the ego, it is not intrinsic to you. You can free yourself from guilt by releasing yourself from the ego.
I go deeply into all of this in my book, Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace (learn about it at my website, www.acimmentor.com) and here’s an excerpt to help you recognize the many unconscious and conscious ways that guilt shows up:
Some ways that a belief in guilt shows up are fear of a god, expectation of punishment, generalized unworthiness, generalized inadequacy, self-loathing, judging yourself, judging others, thinking that others are judging you, taking others’ attitudes and behaviors personally, confusing responsibility with blame, defensiveness, secretiveness, dishonesty, generalized anxiety, generalized fear, generalized anger, martyrdom, perfectionism, being hard on yourself, self-medicating with a substance or behavior, an inability to be alone, an inability to tolerate quiet, an inability to meditate, an inability to be present, busy-ness, nightmares, worry and anxiety about the future, worry and anxiety about loved ones, thoughts and images of you or loved ones or strangers being tortured, the need to be right, the need to win, over-achieving, the need to fix others, the need to fix the world, sacrificing, co-dependency, fear of success, fear of good outcomes for you, masochism, self-destructive behavior, self-sabotage, interpreting neutral events (natural disaster, disease, etc.) as punishment or proof of guilt, interpreting others’ behavior as punishment or proof of your guilt, and spiritualizing the self. Examples of many of these responses are given throughout this book…
…You may think that you do not believe in guilt. You may think that you do not feel guilt. The personal thought system is very good at keeping guilt out of your conscious awareness. But you can see by the list…above how when you identify as a self guilt pervades your responses to and interactions with the world. If you have any of these responses at any time, you unconsciously or consciously believe in guilt and experience guilt.
You do not have to take it on faith that guilt is an intrinsic part of the ego. You can see examples of its pervasive centrality to the ego thought system in your own experiences as well as by observing everyone else in the world.
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want in answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.