Sunday, August 22, 2010

re" "SHAKEN. . ." and. . ."GUILT"

THANK YOU ALL very much for your comments and opinions, varied as they are. . . .and I am sure there are many unwritten here.  ;-)

There are a lot of personal ideas I could write about. . .here are a couple simple ones. . .

Yeah, COOP, the regular format remains the same. . .same parts and structure. . .but it ALL depends on what is going on in the mind and heart of each person there, as part of the community.

Sure there is a sameness so we all don't have to try and figure out what and how we are going to do the worship service.  OK. But my question is: WHAT is going on in your mind and your heart. . .or are you there as a "blank" physically present but no one is home?  What do YOU bring?

So if you have a community of involved people who want to be there. . .well, have you ever experienced that?  Have you ever thought it important enough to FIND a faith community where you fit in and in/by which you are "shaken", fed and nourished?

GUILT..  Now let's share a few ideas about this extremely important element in one's life/psyche/soul.  First off, I want to nudge my buddy COOPs. . just a little. . ..Buddy, guilt is a special "trait" of  Irish Catholics. . .
They/we seem to specialize in "Catholic Guilt". . . .. ;-)  [ I think the O'Shea's somehow missed this special 'genetic import' due to the very strong Bouvier genes.  I have heard it said " The French do not care what you DO as long as you SAY it correctly."  hahahaaa

Now that said, let me be serious a bit.  "Why do I feel guilt?"  Well, have I done something wrong?  If I think "No I didnt do or say anything wrong". . .why am I feeling guilty?  NO reason for that.  IF I have done something I think/know is wrong, then I should feel guilt:  Why?  Because I have acted contrary to my knowledge, beliefs, conscience.  So, go ahead. . .enjoy your guilt.  You earned it.  hehheee

No one else can dictate/make us/me feel guilty.  It is my decision - no one else's - when I choose to do something I think/know is wrong. . . .when I choose "to commit a mortal sin."  NO ONE else can do that for me.  So I need to take responsibility for my actions, choices, decisions.

So I have to deal with my own guilt. . . the guilt I choose to feel as the result of the responsible decision to be accountable for my wrong actions.

Because guilt is such an emotional activity, I have tried here to express my ideas as simply and clearly, trying to state things free of emotions.  When I do not deal with my guilt in a healthy way it is going to hurt me, bother me. . . .so usually  I will handle my guilt by denial and cynicism.  For good mental health those two are not recommended.  ;-)

justin

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, to write about the type of guilt we are talking about here and at the risk of offending people, and having them think less of me, I find that I have to "come out of my religious closet" and spill my views on religion.

Treat me gently.

I am lucky, I've never felt guilty about my homosexuality. Since I do not believe in a god and all the trappings of religion I have had no over-riding feeling if being a sinner, of being or doing wrong in the eyes of a god. I've had the luxury of only having to deal with the emotions and risk of dissaproval from my elders and contemporaries.

I was comfortable to know that my parents loved me for who I am (and what perhaps they guessed?)
I knew that even though I might not have lived up to their expectations (sexuality included) that they would still love me. We had that kind of bond, that relationship. I was lucky.
So, I had no feeling of impending guilt there either.

To be honest, I've not found this to be a burden. My view is that my sexual preferences are mine and mine alone and as long as I do/did not force them upon anyone then I would have no need to feel guilt.

If someone was upset about how and what I am, then that is their problem, that is a shortcoming of their perspective and they have to deal with it, with no guilt from me.

As for feeling guilt about not doing everything within my power and resources to make this a better world, well, that's my choice. I do what I feel necessary to do and what I want to do in regards to making this a better world, but I always seem to come back to the point that I am here on this earth for a short time and I am sure as hell (which I don't beleive in..hee, hee) I am sure as hell going to try and make it a good time.

Of course I feel for others, of course I woul like to see this world happy and serene, with no hate, hunger and suffering, and I have certainly done 'my bit' over the years to at least not add to the problems of the world. I have helped others, I have donated money to charitable organisations, I have helped in volunteer organisations, etc, etc.

In fact I feel that overall, my life has been a productive, generous and worhwhile existance. The world is certainly better for my being here. Not much, but we all add up.

So, I simply have no need to feel guilt.

Now as for religion?
It puzzles me. Perhaps it exists because:
Many people on this earth have this strange need for an overall purpose?
People cannot believe we are and we exist by chance?
They feel insecure?
They feel that they need an overall father/mother/parent figure because they feel incomplete?
They are not confident that they can control themselves?
They are not confident that they can deal with life and it's perceived unfairnesses?
They feel they cannot bear life without some sort of crutch?

I could go on. But you get the idea.

Maybe I am the unfortunate one, maybe I'm the one missing out?

I dunno, but I'm happy with me, I'm happy enough to live and deal in this world and I deal with stuff all by myself...and a bit of help and comfort etc from my friends and family.

I am confortable with my lot.

I have no guilt.

Greg in cold wintry Adelaide
(But I can feel the sun up there above the clouds, somewhere)

JustinO'Shea said...

WoW, Greg. . .you ARE a good man! Thanks for sharing your "experience, strength and hope". Greater still knowing you a bit more. THANKS

justin

PhotosbyErich said...

Justi, once again your comments are very, very well said.

Greg, I agree with Justi... Like him I deeply appreciate your comments... Help us all to better understand the real and very valuable you! You've reasoned things out in a way that is brilliant and workin for you.


For me, I don't think I see faith as sumthin created to fill a void (artificially), although I would agree / confess that it is difficult for me to see the incredible world and the people within it whom we get to enjoy as mere coincidence or a product of chance.

When I see something as awesome as a brilliant, vibrant sunset / sunrise it is more than light shining through atmospheric gas. Water rushing over rocks in a forest filled with ferns causes something to well up within my soul... And even the human body... the deliciously cute curves of a toddler's bare bottom waddling down the beach or the withered old woman's resilient smile. It all leaves me breathlessly remarking to myself, "What an awesome God."

Such experiences and, yes, a healthy amount of Sunday School as a tyke and picking up the Good Book to read it have wired faith into the fibers of my being that it's tough to separate my biology from my theology... Kinda like trying to separate the hardware from the software that come together on the machine making this message possible.

What is great is that we each get to work this stuff out for ourselves... then share it giving each other something to take away and chew on. For that I thank you again Greg. And you, Justi for tops in facilitatin' quality conversation.

Huggies.

jimm said...

"Have you ever thought it important enough to FIND a faith community where you fit in and in/by which you are "shaken", fed and nourished?"

I have always lived my life in the 'hearing' world, with disastrous results, i might add.

There was a deaf church nearby and the members were expanding the building with an addition. So I offered to help. And I would attend their Sunday service, although it was a different faith from my own.

After several weeks, I mentioned to the pastor how many of the deaf flock didn't seem to like me.

Was it because I could hear with the help of hearing aids and they couldn't, I asked the pastor?

He said, No, it's because you can speak.

From that point forward, I have not sought organized religion.

As for guilt, it doesn't have to come in the form of religion.

For example, there is an adage: It takes a village to raise a child.

What keeps that child on the straight and narrow?

The guilt of disappointing his or her village. This was how I was raised.

As for faith, I would much rather have faith in... people.

Coop said...

Justi, your personal ideas are great questions to help free my mind. ;-) I may write more.

Coop said...

I CAN talk about guilt right now :)

Don't worry. I do not feel constant guilt. There is no reason for me to.
Guilt is an offshoot of having a conscience. If we did not feel remorse about our conduct, there would be no rules to live by.

I'm more intrigued by Justi's questions... those are for later. If I'm allowed... :)

Anonymous said...

Lunchtime and a chance to read what others might have said/reacted to what I wrote.

But firstly, I must apologise for the absolute crapful heap of typo and spelling errors, I did not proof read it...and had the horrors when I read it just now. Sheesh!

I was brought up in a Christian manner. My Father was not religious, but then he never said anything for or against religion, in fact I never remembering him stating an opinion on the subject at all, it is only something I came to realise in later life. I was well taught all the moral and social values without the need for a god to please or anger.
Looking back, I was told "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" ... and that is probably about the only bit of 'preaching' that ever I remember. But it had a profound impact upon me. I don't remember hearing it in chirch or school but I do remember it as a constant and sometimes chiding reminder from both my parents. I regard it as one of the most important cornerstones of my life.

I too went to Sunday School in my small rural hometown. Religion was certainly a part of the small town scene and fabric. In fact when I was about 12, much to my embarrasment, in primary school my Mum took my year class for the weekly lesson of "religious studies" .
Years later Ma and I laughed about it together as by then I new my mother was no longer a believer.

She too had been brought up in a small country town where pressures to conform and participate led her to that teaching stint.
Years later she too had come to terms with her real beliefs and had, as far as we were concerned, we had both rationalised our existance here on this earth.

As a practical and logical thinker, interested in science and fact, I have no problem rationalising what I see in this world, all the wonderful beautiful things as well as the bad and horrific.

When it comes to observing nature and beauty that is so magnificent as to almost defy chance and science, I marvel out our own ability to be aroused/pleased/appreciative of our surroundings, our world.
I marvel at humans, and human nature.

Same goes for the bad that our race of concious beings do wreak.

Good and bad, we make our choices.
We are. Full stop.

Greg in Adelaide.
(PS and I did not proof read this either, sorry)

Anonymous said...

O poo!
Thinking about what I wrote, I realise that I am in danger of presenting myself as bloody perfect!
Far from it, I certainly have felt guilt, shame and regret.

In fact it is from the very experience of these unpleasant self-questioning emotions that learned regret .... and have since tried to avoid taking the actions that led to those unpleasant feelings.

The moral and social teachings of my parents and family were not so much detailed in exactly how to act as to realise the effects of my actions and to consider how I would feel if I were on the receiving end.
For that I am most grateful.

If that was not clear, then in other words, what I am saying is that I was taught to consider the implication and results of my actions and not just the do's and dont's in a parrot-fashion manner.

Because of that upbringing I guess I learn not to act such that I should have cause to feel guilt.
If I feel guilt then I have sinned against myself and not against a god. Therefore I believe that my lesson has more effect, if you cannot be happy with yourself then you are not fit for this world.
Strong, but I believe, true.

But sure, we all lose our way, we all have lapses and some of us take longer to come to terms with ourselves, if indeed we ever do.

Sun is out at last.

Greg in not-so-cold Adelaide

Anonymous said...

Oh and I forgot to say Erich, I certainly do not feel that believers are below me, inferior, a lost cause, or indeed unfortunate.

Who am I to judge!

You said it, and I agree, whatever works for the individual is good.

Now I'd better get back to work!

Cheers guys and I have enjoyed getting this guilt off my chest....guilt in that I had not "declared myself" to you all as a non-believer....lol...I find that harder sometimes than admitting I am gay...depending on the company of course...both ways...lol

Greg in Adelaide

JustinO'Shea said...

Dear "Not so cold. . the sun is out" Greg in Adelaide. . .nice stuff you are sharing 'cuz it's your "stuff". Thanks. Same to everyone else.

What makes you think you were not brought up as I was, for example.. .
give n take the various differences family/cultural practices? ;-)

An essential point of my upbringing was expressed in these words of Jesus captured in the biblical narratives: "You should love your neighbor as you love yourself." And Jesus continues "In this is contained all the teachings of the Law and the Prophets" [the Hebrew Torah].

As a budding psychologist I am learning so much about the meaning and expression of that essential teaching you and I really try to live by, Greg.

First off I have learned that "no on gives what he does not have. . "
So in therapy we try to come back to or acquire for the first time a sound, healthy self-love. . . to grow in self-understanding, accepting, embracing myself as I am,. . . and then to give that love to those closest to me, around me, as I grow more and more other-centered, and less and less self-centered.

This doesn't happen in a vacuum.
This comes because some others have loved us like that. . . hopefully our parents of those who took their place.

As for "religion" ...from the etymology of that word, it means "what ties us to others, and The Other."

Do I think Jesus 'founded" a church or established a religion?
Not really. Jesus taught a way of life - and I subtract nothing from the teaching of Jesus here. His followers of The Way, as it was first called among Christians. needed and wanted to be in communion with or part of a community of like-believers and so came together on a regular basis to study, live out, express together in worship-service and Com-Union. Thus you have "church" = the gathering of God's People, and eventually these christians were driven out and separated from the Synagogue . . .thus the Church founded on the teaching of the Jewish Jesus grew out of Judaism. . .and "the rest is history". ..
LOL
It is all so simple. Yet, in our aloneness/isolation, fear, whatever. . we tend to complicate life.

This is what i have learned so far. ;-)

justin. . .on the cool, rainy, damp Cape Cod, trying to see things thru the mists. . . .

Stew said...

To go back to what Justin wrote,"WHAT is going on in your mind and your heart. . .or are you there as a "blank" physically present but no one is home? What do YOU bring?" referring to what you get from church.

In my business, I get to go to church everyday. I do a lot of catholic funerals. They are very monotonous. What I try to always remember in each one is that we are gathered here for a purpose. To celebrate someones life. When I do that, the monotony has meaning. And it's then that I take something away from it. I have seen many directors that can quote word for word the service and even mock it. But I take something away from each and everyone.

I grew up in the Pentecostal church ( A very energetic crowd, I must say). And I do several black baptist services where things can get down right crazy. Unfortunately, the energy level has nothing to do with "Shaking it up" or taking something away. It's something that each person must do for themselves.

As for the rest of the discussion here, I respect all opinions and I would agree with Greg about religion. I have come up with many of the same points in my own search. But, I just can't let go of the faith that I was raised with. I go into every faith's church and experience all the varied types of worship. I almost laugh at some of the rituals. People seem to think that folding their hands in a certain way or reciting a certain verse is what's going to get them in to heaven.
I have found myself looking into deism. It offers that there is a god or supreme being but discounts all of the faiths and churches. There is a creator, just not like anyone can imagine. When it comes down to it, it is all about the golden rule as mentioned previously in the comments. And if we all do just that, then others will follow. This rule is written in the Bible, Quran and the Book of Mohammad. So, I think if anything, that is the one constant.

In business and in life, I always try to lead by example. I hope along the way that I can do something good with the time I've been given.

This is a favorite of mine that we use often in our business...
http://brightergrave.blogspot.com/2010/08/poetic-sunday_08.html

I know I'm usually a man of few words and I'm thankful for all those who "spoke"before me.

Stew said...

To go back to what Justin wrote,"WHAT is going on in your mind and your heart. . .or are you there as a "blank" physically present but no one is home? What do YOU bring?" referring to what you get from church.

In my business, I get to go to church everyday. I do a lot of catholic funerals. They are very monotonous. What I try to always remember in each one is that we are gathered here for a purpose. To celebrate someones life. When I do that, the monotony has meaning. And it's then that I take something away from it. I have seen many directors that can quote word for word the service and even mock it. But I take something away from each and everyone.

I grew up in the Pentecostal church ( A very energetic crowd, I must say). And I do several black baptist services where things can get down right crazy. Unfortunately, the energy level has nothing to do with "Shaking it up" or taking something away. It's something that each person must do for themselves.

As for the rest of the discussion here, I respect all opinions and I would agree with Greg about religion. I have come up with many of the same points in my own search. But, I just can't let go of the faith that I was raised with. I go into every faith's church and experience all the varied types of worship. I almost laugh at some of the rituals. People seem to think that folding their hands in a certain way or reciting a certain verse is what's going to get them in to heaven.
I have found myself looking into deism. It offers that there is a god or supreme being but discounts all of the faiths and churches. There is a creator, just not like anyone can imagine. When it comes down to it, it is all about the golden rule as mentioned previously in the comments. And if we all do just that, then others will follow. This rule is written in the Bible, Quran and the Book of Mohammad. So, I think if anything, that is the one constant.

In business and in life, I always try to lead by example. I hope along the way that I can do something good with the time I've been given.

This is a favorite of mine that we use often in our business...
http://brightergrave.blogspot.com/2010/08/poetic-sunday_08.html

I know I'm usually a man of few words and I'm thankful for all those who "spoke"before me.

Coop said...

I don't think the 10 commandments are unique to Christianity.
If any society... any civilization... condoned murder, stealing, etc. etc., that civilization would disintegrate.

The commandments are also a nod to the vices that can consume humans and destroy lives (lust, greed, jealousy, gluttony) etc. etc. etc.

Greg, I spend a LOT of time writing these posts as well ;-).

Gary Kelly said...

I can't remember having met anyone who wasn't able to justify his or her existence.

People have the ability to rationalize. They can produce all kinds of logical arguments to support whatever they choose to believe.

I'm a carer for two people with physical and mental disabilities. It's patently obvious to any normal, sane person that they are deficient in many ways. But they don't see it that way. If they did - if they could see themselves as others do - they would stick their heads in a gas oven.

According to them, they're fine. What's more, they're correct in terms of what they believe about themselves and how they see the world. They are quite capable of justifying their existence... no problem at all.

Guilt is a strange thing. Recently, I caught one of them hiding a bottle of beer. It wasn't guilt that motivated her to hide the bottle, it was the fear of being caught. If she had not been busted, she would have suffered no guilt.

Anyway, I'm often asked how the hell I can stand living with a couple of mental deficients, and my answer is always the same: "they're not much different to the rest of us."

Actually, there is one major difference. Most people I've met in life are all too eager to tell me how I should live my life. These two don't.

JustinO'Shea said...

No, dear, the 10 commanments are not unique to christianity. They were codified and inserted into the Hebrew Scriptures. . .speciaifically the Hebrew Torah. . or "the Law and the Prophets".

There are those who hold they are subject of moral issues 'written into our very nature. . ."

Dose it matter? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Justin wrote: "There are those who hold they are subject of moral issues 'written into our very nature. . ."
Dose it matter? ;-)"

I don't understand your comment Justin, I'm not normally this slow...I think....lol...

I've not commented on anyone else's comments, yet, I will think about them a bit more as I work on this cold bleak rainy day.

Greg in wet Adelaide

JustinO'Shea said...

Thanks for asking me to clarify. What I wrote "There are those who hold they are subject of moral issues 'written into our very nature. . ." is not clear. Let me try again.

Someone pointed out that the content of the 12 commandments is something pretty much items rather universally accepted as matter of of respect for the basic justice and rights of others.

Since these values are somewhat commonly accepted, it could/can be said that these values are "written right into the mind/soul,psyche of human beings."
Like everything, there are always exceptions we can make/find in particular cases/persons.

Is this any better? I do not mean that you agree with this; is what I am trying to express better understandable. . . ? ;-)

Thanks, Greg, for pointing this out to me. Appreciated! ;-)

justin

Coop said...

D'oh! I KNEW that the 10 Commandments were part of the Pentateuch. I was only half with it.
I won't call myself stupid for making such a mistake; but I'm tempted to.

'Since these values are somewhat commonly accepted, it could/can be said that these values are "written right into the mind/soul,psyche of human beings."'
I DO agree with that, Justin ;-)

Anonymous said...

Duh!
Yeah, it's obvious what you meant, now.
I don't really know how I didn't get it.

And yes, I do agree with you too, the commandments, and much else, are self evident rules and guidelines to live by that many peoples around the world would have arrived at...it is basically the good part of human nature.

Not that I have ever been a student of the bible, but my impression has always been that it is a collection of (obvious) teachings and guidelines, gathered by many people over the years, and presented as a manual on how to live with others.

My only problem with it has been the implied threat that we will go to hell and be in trouble with some superior being if we do not follow the manual.
My upbringing taught me that I need to do that to make myself happy with myself and that is the only incentive that I needed to live life as a useful and perhaps lovable human being.

Simplistic, but that's about as far as I've found necessary to delve and consider.

As I think you/we've said, whatever works for each of us is good.

Thanks Justin, an interesting conversation. It was something to ponder through my work day.

Cheers,
Greg in hail-strewn Adelaide

Coop said...

Greg, I also truly appreciate your comments. It wasn't until college, literally until I was writing a paper on Darwin for a humanities seminar, that I came face to face with the fact that I grew up with BOTH religion AND evolution. It's not like the priests in church were telling us that Darwin was wrong.

I think you are right in saying that People feel Insecure. They need some kind of crutch. I'm known for sharing my opinion of people like Fred Phelps, Swaggert, and others. They NEED someone to pick on to make themselves feel better. "I AM BETTER THAN YOU... GOD CHOSE ME. I declare you unworthy" The same thought applies to racists (the KKK), Anti-Semites, etc.

Obviously, I believe in GOD. I can't get past the idea that somehow, some way, something made this universe. There's too much order in it. "THE BOSS" is a watchmaker. We've proven that Genesis is not literally true.
There is a truth out there. As me and Justin have been saying, the 12 commandments contain things that are universally accepted as human values.
Buddhism's noble truths include 1.) That life eventually leads to suffering. 2.) Suffering is caused by craving.
Sentient beings crave pleasure and are bound to (tied) suffering. The vices of lust, gluttony, greed envy, etc. are all about Pleasure and ultimately lead to suffering.

I was raised Catholic, and although I feel Guilty about challenging the directives from Rome, I still THINK with a conscience rooted in, imbued with, my faith. Some folks do whatever the priests, the ministers, the folks on the 700 club tell them to do. They were taught, or choose to believe that, they must surrender their conscience to the fallible man (and it is usually a MAN) on the pulpit. I'm all bark and no bite, though. HeeHee. I have trouble being a Catholic and challenging the catechism?? is that the right word?? at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm Coop, yep, I like you. Not that I know a real lot about Justin, it's enough and I enjoy his presence in my life...and somehow I think you are starting to grow on me too....lol...and I know even less about you!
Ah well, this intramanet thing is good for something...lol.

G'night from Greg in WET Adelaide.