The title for chapter 13 is The Guiltless World. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Guiltlessness and Invulnerability, The Guiltless Son of God, The Fear of Redemption, The Function of Time, The Two Emotions, Finding the Present, Attainment of the Real World, From Perception to Knowledge, The Cloud of Guilt, Release from Guilt, and The Peace of Heaven.
Guilt is a word many people associate with God/Christians/Church. We were raised to believe that when we do something wrong we should feel guilty and if we don’t, well we obviously do not understand the seriousness of our sin. This chapter looks at guilt from a heavenly viewpoint, that from God’s perspective, none of us should feel guilty because the past does not exist, therefore, we have done nothing wrong. God does not see our sin, God always sees us as the perfect creation he created us as.
We have been conditioned to understand life on earth as having a past, present and future orientation. However, from an eternal standpoint, the only time is Now. Which means you have no past to feel guilty about. Let’s say for example that in the present moment of Now I choose to say something really mean about someone. Right after I say it, that moment in time is gone, and a new Now moment has appeared. Therefore, there is no reason to feel guilty for what I said because that moment in time no longer exists. However, I would want to take the time to learn from the experience, how my words affected the other person so I make a better choice in the Now. “To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them.” The ego wants to keep you locked into the past so you can never be free to enjoy living in the Now moment. “The ego invests heavily in the past and in the end, believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. Now has no meaning to the ego. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past and tries to present its image as if it were the present which is why you react strongly to triggers from your past. The past has no hold on you unless you allow it to. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future.”
When we feel guilty we don’t like how this feeling feels so we either justify that there was nothing wrong with what we did or we project our guilt onto others, blaming them for what happened. We go into an attack mode on self or others. This chapter teaches that the cure for guilt is not to look outward, but to look inward and see the light of God shining within you and understand that there can be no guilt where the love of God resides. “Love and guilt cannot coexist and to accept one is to deny the other. Without guilt the ego has no life, and Gods son is without guilt.” When you have done something wrong, rather than feel guilt which condemns you and makes you feel worse, take responsibility for what you did, learn from the experience, forgive and love yourself. Nothing positive comes from hanging onto guilt feelings. “Lay before his eternal sanity all your hurt, and let him heal you. Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision, and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from his light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For he will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you, and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.”
When someone hurts you in some way, do not say or do things to instill guilt in them. Set them free from guilt in the same way God set you free from guilt. “If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is Now. You consider it natural to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceived it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. Your brother’s errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him.”
I find this a difficult chapter to implement in real life. Living in the Now moment sounds great on paper but implementing it in real life is a daily challenge. And not using the past as a reference point to judge the future initially sounds like a bad idea. My mind wants to say “but you don’t know what they did to me! Why should I just release it all and trust them? Are we not supposed to judge a persons character and actions based on what they have done in the past?” Looks like I have more work to do with my ego.