Let us consider the
We invented the
ego's belief system out of fear and guilt engendered by the
mistaken belief that we have made ourselves separate from God.
The ego is a symbol
of our belief in this separation. While separation from God is
clearly impossible, through the eyes of the ego we believe this
is true and that God wants to punish us for our guilty deed.
The purpose of the
ego's thought system is to hide the memory of God from our awareness
by reinforcing our feelings of guilt and fear.It can accomplish
this only by destroying the reality of love and substituting the
illusion of guilt in its place. Since
the opposite of love is fear, the ego's existence depends on our
continuing belief in the reality of guilt and punishment, and
the acceptance of its goals of conflict, war, and death.
The ego's attitude
toward God is inconsistent. At times it views God as some supernatural,
external being beyond our comprehension that loves and rewards
us if we are good, and punishes us if we are bad and have sinned.
At other times it is ambivalent about whether or not God even
exists, and sometimes it rejects the idea of God altogether. I
sometimes think that I, and many others, have gone through life
feeling guilty for the wrongs I think I have committed, feeling
distrustful of myself and others, and wondering in what way I
am going to be punished next. Because many of us have had painful
life experiences in which we did not think our religious training
and belief in God helped, we have ended up turning away from both.
is a Body Identification
The ego can be defined
as our body/personality or lower self. It is the part of our mind
that is split off or separated from our spiritual mind, which
contains only God's loving thoughts. This split in our mind can
be thought of as illusory; it can be contrasted to our true mind,
a mind filled with love that is indivisible.
The thought system
of the ego is based on guilt and fear. Its motto is, "Seek but
never find what you are looking for." It is preoccupied with condemning
judgments, attack and defense thoughts and is a master of deception.
Its goal is to control everything and to believe it is right all
the time. It expends an enormous amount of energy trying to predict
the future based on our past experiences. The
ego's world is a pleasure/pain world, and, for most of us, there
is more pain than pleasure. It believes that if you don't fear
the past and worry about the future, the world will fall apart.
Separation is its game; so thinking of yourself first, getting
and holding on to what little you can claim as your own, jealousy,
possessiveness, and rejection are the core of its existence.
Our identity as
defined by the ego is limited to the five senses; hearing, seeing,
touching, smelling, and tasting. It is based on the interpretation
and evaluation of what these senses feed back to our brain. It
is a limited identity based on experiences of the past extending
into the present and projected into the future. Seen
through the eyes of the ego, my identity is my self-concept at
any particular point in time, and is dependent on the opinions
and judgments other people have about me, as well as the opinions
and judgments I have about myself.
The ego's thought
system is most clearly seen in relationships that we regard as
particularly close or special. These special
relationships are based on the belief that we lack something
in ourselves which only other people can supply, and unless we
get it from them, we will be incomplete and unhappy. Such special
relationships are necessarily built on guilt and lack of trust.
From the ego's viewpoint,
other people exist to satisfy our needs, and, therefore, we are
unable to see ourselves and others as we really are. This mutual
meeting of needs is what the ego calls love. It is important to
emphasize that this kind of love is conditional and exclusive.
Unlike unconditional love, which is inclusive and based on total
acceptance of oneself and others, conditional love is always based
on qualifications, reservations, and limitations. Most of what
we call love in our lives is conditional love, which is founded
on scarcity, on getting and giving to get, and on bargaining and
The identifying word
in conditional love is "if”—
I will love
you if you perform the way
I want you to,
if you fit into the mold I have developed in my mind
will love you if you come home from work on time…if
you remember my birthday…if you demonstrate more affection
and become a more energetic sexual partner for me.
the other person gives us what we want, or changes to satisfy
our needs, we feel happy. If
the person doesn't give us what we want or make the changes we
think are necessary, we feel irritated and frustrated. And when
our irritations and frustrations intensify, they become anger
on conditional love are really love/hate
relationships. They are based on wanting something from the other
person because of a mistaken feeling of scarcity and the belief
that the other person has something we lack. In these love/hate
relationships pain, fear, and instability are insured because
of the feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, and competition that
characterize conditional love. Conditional love relationships
are exclusive relationships, which shut others out. The purpose
of conditional love relationships is to substitute for the inclusive
Love of God within us that we have forgotten is there.
Attraction to Guilt
The ego's attraction
to guilt cannot be fully understood unless we first discuss the
nature of perception. For it is how we see the world around us
that determines how we react to it. And it is our perceptions
that tell us what we see, based on the interpretations and evaluations
of what our senses report to us.
Each of us sees
the world differently, depending on our individual needs, wishes,
past experiences, and present beliefs.While
we may think of our perceptions as photographs of things outside
ourselves taken by a camera, they are really projections of thoughts
that originate in our own minds. Since we always look in before
we look out, what we see is our own state of mind reflected outward.That
perception is a choice (even though we may not be aware of making
it) and not a fact is clearly demonstrated by the various interpretations
people give of everyday events in their lives. If
ten people witness an accident, for instance, it would be unusual
for any two of them to agree on the details of how it occurred.
Thus, what we may believe to be the truth is simply our own interpretations
and evaluations of what we perceive. Many of the difficulties
and disagreements we have with other people are based on the highly
individualized nature of our perceptions.
Guilt is the feeling
of self-condemnation that we experience after we do something
we think is wrong. It is impossible
to experience feelings of guilt without also anticipating punishment
of ourselves or, when the guilt is projected, the punishment of
others. Although we may not
be consciously aware of it, the underlying source of our basic
guilt is always the belief that we have "sinned," (changed our
real identity of love), and the fear that God will attack and
punish us for our unworthiness. Guilt
and fear cannot coexist with love. When we hold onto these negative
feelings, we are prevented from experiencing the peace and presence
of God/Love within us. It is a psychological fact that if we hold
on to guilt, we will attempt to handle it either by attacking
ourselves (frequently expressed as symptoms of depression or physical
illness), or projecting the guilt onto someone else.
The ego tries to
conceal from us that when we take responsibility for our mistakes,
they no longer call for guilt and punishment, but rather for release
through correction. The game
of "who is guilty and who is innocent" takes place in most marriages
and other relationships as well. One person throws a "hot potato"
of guilt to his spouse, partner, colleague, or friend. The
other person has a choice of catching it and holding on to it,
or throwing it back. More often than not, the other person throws
it back, and this is the way the game of "who is guilty and who
is innocent" is played. The
only way both parties can win is to stop playing the game.
We cannot live in
the world without making decisions, and in order to do so, we
must listen and be directed by one of two voices; the
voice of the ego, which speaks for our changeable perceptions,
or the voice
of Love or God. Our ego mind
has a continuum of mental pictures based on our past perceptions
of guilt and fear that determines what we think we want in the
present. To survive, the ego
tells us we must look for guilt in others or in ourselves, and
this preoccupation with who is guilty and who is innocent becomes
the basis for our decision-making. The
continuous search for guilt as a basis for making decisions leaves
us feeling more and more fearful and devoid of love.
When we perceive
others through the eyes of guilt, we are likely to engage in projection.
Projection is the mechanism
by which we deny responsibility for and externalize a thought
or feeling we are experiencing— such as guilt—by holding
someone else responsible for it. This
someone else can be our spouse, business partner, parent, child,
or anyone who seems to play a role in our lives. We
believe if only they would behave differently, then we would not
experience the difficulties we are having. Projecting
our problems onto others never solves the problem; it simply recycles
The ego looks on
forgiveness with a split mind; it counsels us to forgive but don't
forget. It is really a double message that says, "Don't
forgive completely; don't forget the past or you will be vulnerable."
Lack of forgiveness is the
heartbeat of the ego. It continues to justify making condemning
judgments since its survival depends on believing in the reality
of guilt rather than forgiveness.
The ego would have
us practice pseudo-forgiveness. In effect, it says, "I
can forgive you because I am superior to you. Therefore,
I will sit on my anger and repress it, rather than be consciously
aware of my desire to kill you, which is what you really deserve."
This pseudo-forgiveness only
reinforces guilt because it is a double message that continues
to emphasize the unhealed separation between the innocent and
On the surface level
of my ego I still hear the chatter of doubts and uncertainties
in my ears, but in the depth of my heart I know that God's love
is the answer to all problems. When
I permit myself to experience God's love, and give His unconditional
love away to others, I am sane and at peace. When
I experience fear, I am insane, riddled with doubts, uncertainties,
and worries; and I feel unloved and unloving.
After seeking and
searching in many different directions and places, it is exhilarating
finally to know what my goal is and how to reach it. I stumble;
sometimes I fall down; and sometimes it looks as though I am going
backwards, but I know that I can no longer retreat. Although my
spiritual practice is far from consistent, I know that God is
directing my life, and that the peace of God is my goal. When
I give in to the temptation to make condemning judgments, my peace
of mind disappears. When I am able to resist the temptation to
judge others, I can see them as teachers of forgiveness in my
life, reminding me that I can have peace of mind only when I forgive
rather than judge.
Love shows the way
to trust and faith that God's love will dissolve all of our difficulties
and misunderstandings. To
live in love is to be an eternal optimist. It
is to believe that there are no accidents, no coincidences, and
everything that happens to us is according to God's plan and provides
a lesson that He would have us learn.
Let us think for
a moment what it would be like if we could constantly have total
trust and faith in God's love (our real Identity). I think the
answer defies our wildest imagination. But somehow I think it
would be a state of mind in which we would never worry or feel
depressed, angry, fearful, or guilty. Instead we would experience
peace, love, and joy all of the time. It is amazing to me how
many people there are who do not remember having even one instant
of peace and joy in their lives, but all of us can imagine having
that experience for just one second. When we choose to accept
the thought system of God/love and apply it in our lives, we are
asked only to do this for one moment, the present instant of now.
Giving total and complete love for one second allows us to feel
a wholeness and oneness with no sense of separation from others.
In that moment of limitless loving and giving, we lose the awareness
of our body-self. In remembering God and feeling the presence
of His love, this one second becomes a holy instant—a brief
glimpse into eternity.
is Unconditional Love?
In all of our relationships,
everyone we meet gives us an opportunity to experience a holy
instant—one moment when we can join together with no sense
of separation, blaming, or judging—that is unconditional
love. This kind of love can only be experienced when we are giving
it away and feeling joined in oneness with others. The following
statements attempt to summarize what unconditional love is all
It is giving
our love totally to everyone, excluding no one.
It is loving
and giving without expectations, or wanting to get love or anything
else in return.
It is total acceptance
of another person with no desire to change that person in any
It is seeing
only the light of love in everyone.
is Unconditional Love Accomplished?
By letting go
of all our guilt and not projecting guilt onto others.
and letting go of the past, staying in the present and living
in the joy of now.
By not making
demands on anyone.
the temptation to judge.
By giving all of
our needs, wants, desires, and feelings of scarcity to our inner
teacher, and letting the voice of love transform them. By making
each moment an opportunity for offering forgiveness; and for seeing
everyone as our teacher of forgiveness--thus giving ourselves
the opportunity to practice and learn the benefits of forgiveness.
By recognizing that when we know our real Identity of love, we
have no need except to extend that love endlessly.
To Guilt by Jerry
Jampolsky, M.D. As
I look back, I realize that my life has been one of intense
seeking without knowing what it was I was looking for. At times
I sought after such things as health, self-esteem, money, material
possessions, prestige, social status, professional recognition,
security for the future, and friends I could trust and love.
my success in pursuing most of these, I never experienced the
happiness they were supposed to bring. It never occurred to
me that I had the wrong goal, and that by searching for happiness
outside myself, I was looking in the wrong place. Little did
I realize that the love, joy, and peace of mind that I was looking
for outside myself were already bountiful within me. I
had absolutely no conscious awareness that I was suffering from
a self-imposed state of spiritual deprivation, that I was starving
myself and suffering from spiritual hunger and thirst. I began
to change my way of looking at the world in l975.