Enlightenment is Awesome - and Guilt Free
I was raised Catholic.
And yes, I was a good Catholic girl--which translates to "full of guilt".
And as I grew, matured, stepped out into the world, the guilt did not subside, it became bigger. It morphed into fear. Anxiety. And panic attacks. The conscience that was to be my guide became a rigid set of expectations and beliefs that hamstrung me for a very long time. I was worried about my permanent record; that if I did my taxes wrong, the IRS would personally show up on my doorstep and cart me off to jail; that if I didn't follow the rules, I would be causing great pain to others. And whenever something happened to me, something painful or difficult, I knew it was because I must have done something wrong. I wasn't trying hard enough.
I have finally realized what the basis of that guilt was.
I grew up in the 70's and 80's, so Jesus was a friend. In fact, I don't think I needed any imaginary friends, because I had Jesus. We were close.
And then I was told that Jesus died for me. Me specifically. He was tortured and betrayed so that my sins would be washed away.
Well, crap! Just because I stayed up later than my bedtime to read, Jesus was whipped? Because I despised my sister in that special way that only siblings can, Jesus had nails pounded into his hands? My friend was stabbed in the side because I didn't want to give my book money to UNICEF?!
Honestly, I couldn't think of anything I had done that deserved such a consequence. Which had to mean I didn't really understand the rules. I must not be trying hard enough.
And God is watching us (from a distance) so every time I failed, every time I screwed up, every time I didn't earn applause and adoration, I was putting more thorns in Jesus' crown.
As a young woman in the 80's and 90's, who loved to read fantasy and had many intelligent and strong willed female friends, I moved away from the catholic church, as you do. And I found belief systems that had nothing to do with my actions directly harming any being, past present or future. My connection to Heaven didn't rely on somebody else's death.
It is true, the celebration of seasons meant the God died every year - but he wasn't doing it just because of me. He was dying because that was cycle of life. He would continue doing it whether or not I left that piece of litter lying on the street, or put aside my desires so someone else could be happy.
But with years of training in cause and effect, my guilt patterns were still pretty strong. And the metaphysical world introduced the idea of Karma. Stubbed your toe? That's what you get for stepping on an ant. The Flu? You wanted a day off, here it is, selfish girl. Heart attack? Should have spent less money on treats and more on your spouse.
Be good. Be good. Be good. And don't screw up. Give to others, be for others. Lead others. Teach others. Use your powers for good.
And oh, the battles I have fought. Starting my own business, publishing books, trying to win the lottery-- all to prove I was worthy of abundance and acclaim. Trying to be a name. Trying to finally deserve to be Spiritually Worthy.
Gratefully, in the last year, with my newfound health and my reclaiming of my body, my goals and perception have shifted away from following a strict set of rules I could never figure out.
Of course, now it's all about finding my purpose and being my true self and that's so much easier to define, isn't it?
Okay, actually it is. Or at least it's a totally different level of challenge.
Most importantly, it has nothing to do with guilt. It is not driven by guilt, by judgement, by wondering how I will hurt other people or myself just by being myself. It is about allowing myself to be as awesome and deserving of things as my neighbor.
Happily, whatever my patterns, I have through the years connected with people who like me (They really like me!) just for me, with all my quirks and habits and random beliefs and patterns and changes.
And best of all, I have my childhood friend back.
Jesus did what was right for him. He was his best self and lived his life and made his choices. And if I forget to apologize to someone for cutting them off, he's already risen and therefore will have no more suffering, no more thorns, no more nails. He's past that. My daily efforts won't harm him one bit. Our relationship is better than it ever was.