Looking Zazen: Guilt and True Forgiveness.

Guilt and True Forgiveness

In zazen today I have been fascinated by the antics of the mind.  This whole thing about guilt complexes - to give it a Freudian term.  He said that they were buried in the subconscious mind and yes, they are. As they emerge into consciousness, the mind creates a (dis)ease of impending retribution, from others, from karma, from the universe. 

It came to me that guilt is the operation of the conditioned mind when we think we are doing what is considered to be wrong. I am using the word "considered" (to be wrong) because right can only be genuine right when coming from the heart, from the self where there is no motivation, no desire for anything. All other stuff is just societal control, which from birth slowly enters into this life. I have swallowed all this hook, line and sinker and are therefore just as likely to feel a judge as anybody else. I am looking at this from my own perspective. Even though, I have heard so many tell me of their guilt complexes and resultant anxieties, I can see the reality that all is one, and to be able to know something I must own it. Whilst others have it, I must know  of it too, or I could not talk of it and would be prone to judging it without realizing it. Transcending it it not necessarily making it "better" or destroying it. The experience can disappear, but to disappear there needs to be something to disasppear. I need to experience it and see it as an energy with opinion attached, and then there is an opportunity to transcend it. It exists as a physical manifestation belonging to this physical world, of which I am merely a visitor! 

My work as a Zen practitioner, has always been to transcend this conditioning and choose for myself to be in harmony with all else. Societal rules don't change, but my awareness does, so that I can be free to live in harmony with the rules. I can choose freely for myself.   Acceptance and observation - just watching what arises. Going completely with the flow.  What would emerge then?  "True righteousness" born of awareness?  Is this true forgiveness?


  1. Love the phrase, "antics of the mind," Derek. Great post!

  2. Thanks for the comment Charlotte. Yes, I think antics just about describe what the mind can get up to!