Most people are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the garden of Eden, a place of total peace, security, providence’ communion and bliss. We are all longing to return there, even if our longing is subconscious. It is the desire to return to the innocence, wonder and joy of childhood; to once again live in a world which functions upon the foundations of love, benevolence and beauty.
Yet we have all been loaded down with guilt by modern society. We are conditioned from an early age that we have to earn love by being ‘good’ and if we are ‘bad’, we do not deserve it. We are conditioned by the mentality of religion, telling us that we are sinners, we are impure, we are adulterated, we are not good enough for God, and because of this adopted belief system, we simply believe we do not deserve to return to the garden, to a life of peace, freedom and happiness. Instead, through our perception of ourselves as ‘bad’ in some way, we subconsciously believe we deserve punishment, which we inflict upon ourselves in various ways, often without even realising that we are causing ourselves suffering.
Guilt itself is a punishment. Guilt is a bad feeling, a heavy oppressive weight upon our heart which prevents us from feeling uplifted, happy, joyful and carefree. As long as guilt is present, we will remain in suffering. We will keep ourselves away from the innate happiness and joy which is our birthright.
So that weight needs to be removed, and it is the first thing we should occupy ourselves with. Looking at the world and at ourselves through the lens of guilt is a great distortion, which prevents us from taking intelligent and productive steps in life that will benefit ourselves and others. We will simply act out our sense of being a burden within this world.
But you are not a burden. You are a gift to this world. The care and compassion which reside in your heart are the most deeply valuable energies in the universe. Do you realise the profound magnificence of compassion and love in this Universe? Can you imagine a world completely without them? Yes, you are a gift to this world, but you will not see this or feel this while you are looking at all your failures, all your faults, all your mistakes, and feeling guilty about them.
The remedy is obvious, and it is totally liberating. You must forgive yourself. Only in forgiveness does the need for guilt evaporate, because forgiveness means the end of punishment. When you forgive yourself, you are saying to the real you which dwells within your heart, “you no longer deserve punishment”. This is a groundbreaking moment, to decide that you no longer deserve to suffer. It means the end of self-denial, the end of self-harm, of pushing yourself beyond what is physically and mentally good for you.
It means that you no longer agree with that voice in your mind which says “You are bad. You don’t deserve the goodness. You don’t deserve love, happiness and kindness. You should feel bad about who you are. You deserve to struggle and suffer.”
Once you learn to ignore that voice, once you stop seeing yourself as a ‘sinner’, a bad person, then you are able to see your goodness. You are able to recognise that you have a heart that cares, even though it may be struggling to show itself. You have goodness within you, and that goodness is who you truly are.
You are not the addiction that you have picked up within this addictive society. You are not the compulsion, the greed or the selfishness. Our society encourages those traits. You simply absorbed them from the collective social environment which you grew up in.
Our society and our culture are overflowing with corrupting influences, which are very difficult for a human being to not absorb, especially an open, innocent and vulnerable individual, which everyone is at heart. So, inevitably we get affected by these corruptive influences, we absorb them and they play a significant role in shaping the person we become. We become addicted, corrupted, selfish, greedy and uncaring all to varying degrees, because of the influence of our societal environment and our culture.
Then, to compound this, our social morals of justice tell us that we should feel bad for our imperfectness, for our compulsions and addictions. We should feel guilty that we are not a ‘perfect’ person, that we are addicted, that we are selfish, that we don’t care as much about other people like we are told we should.
Guilt is like the nails in the coffin, whereas our addictions and compulsions are the coffin itself. This doesn’t mean that we are going to die because of them; it means we cannot truly live in happiness, peace and freedom because of them.
So the first step to getting out of the coffin is to remove the nails, which is the guilt. We have to stop feeling bad about how we are. It is simply not our fault. We are very much products of the society and environment we grew up in. See this, and you will have compassion for yourself. You are not to blame.
However, you are the one who must liberate yourself. You are responsible for responding to your situation in the most intelligent and beneficial way. Once you have forgiven yourself by seeing you are not the bad, mal-intentioned person that society had gotten you believing you are, you must address the addictions and compulsions that have been ruling your behaviour and your thinking for so very long.
You must observe and learn which choices you habitually make are having a detrimental effect on your wellbeing, mentally, physically and emotionally. We are subtly addicted to so many habits that do not encourage and support our health and happiness, that this takes time, but it is a joyful and rewarding process because we are learning to make more inspiring and more healthy choices, that make us feel happier, healthier and freer.
It is a path of increasing beauty and joy, because we are letting go of all the habits (including mental and emotional ones) that have perpetuated our suffering in some way. There are usually deeper layers of guilt that arise along this process, guilt that formed in our early years, and as we let go of these deep-seated inner oppressions that have weighed upon our heart for decades, we regain our sense of child-like playfulness, our innocence, and our joy for being alive.
We realise that life on this glorious planet is a gift to enjoy, but not selfishly. It is a gift that we are meant to enjoy together, as one human family, always reaching out to those in need, always at the ready to support those who are struggling. We will find that this is a deeply instinctive characteristic of our heart, as it opens and grows in strength and compassion.
Indeed, our heart is the key to our return to the metaphorical Garden of Eden, this heartfelt reunion with the loving benevolence of the natural world, the deep peace, security and joy that comes from releasing all of our guilt, our fear for the future, our self-judgement and condemnation. Our heart is the gateway, the portal to our renewed perception of the divine beauty which has always surrounded us, and has always been available to us. The only difference is that now we realise we are worthy of it. Now we have abandoned the old guilty self, which was literally just a spectre, a figment of our self-judgemental imagination, sustained by a belief system instilled by our culture and society.
We have regained our sanity, our correct perspective on the innocent child which operates at the heart of every one of us. We were never expelled from the garden because we were never guilty. We were only talked out of our right to be there, by the divisive voice of judgement and guilt that was installed into our psyche at a young age. We were merely ill, at the mercy of this mental manipulation which convinced us we were fallen, and that we might as well surrender to our nature as a sinner; we might as well enjoy the world of sin, over-indulgence, self-gratification, and self-obsession, because the garden of beauty and peace was no longer an option.
But it is. It is available to you right now. You were never been rejected or ousted; you were merely turned in the wrong direction at a young age, by your society and your culture, and you were told “walk in that direction and you’ll find fulfilment”. You were told to pursue education, success, ambition, material wealth, notoriety, and just keep going in that direction.
It never occurred to you to simply turn around, and walk back in the direction from which you came; back to your joyfulness, back to your innocence, back to your vulnerability, back to your playfulness. Yet this is all you need to do.
You may have long-ago given up your rightful place in the garden as lost, but nothing is lost. You are awaited there, just as your heart awaits your attention in this and every moment. All you have to do is abandon the false ideas of who you are, and remember the true you, the innocent you which dwells there, as it always has. You are being called home. It is time to turn around…
Read my new book: “HOW TO LIVE IN LOVE”
Paperback or Kindle >> http://LiveinLove.eu/
“We are but children, innocently longing to find our way back
to the world of joy, freedom and happiness we once knew..”