Considering all the reasons for developing mystical insight, we might wonder why more people aren’t mystics. While there are many reasons unique to each person, there are a few obstacles that almost any aspiring mystic faces.
Many people who strive to live by a moral code assume that guilt is a good thing – a help to let us know when we have gone wrong. They believe that without guilt, we would easily fall into moral chaos, both as individuals and as society.
On a lower level, there may be some truth to this. There are some people, perhaps most, for whom guilt is a powerful motivator for doing good instead of evil. As we reach out for mystical union, however, we need to reexamine the role of guilt in our lives.
What is the root sensation of guilt? What exactly do we feel when we experience guilt? Guilt and shame are emotions of the lower self, not the higher Self. When the lower self feels guilt, it feels offended at its own lack of perfection. It senses the perfection possible in the higher Self and wants to claim that perfection as its own. It is closely tied to pride. Guilt is our anger and frustration that our actions don’t measure up to our own opinion of ourselves. We are upset that a person as good as we are could make such a mistake.
From the perspective of our higher Self, there is no guilt. We look upon our lower selves with compassion and understanding. We realize that the lower self is limited and because of these limitations it is imperfect. One of these imperfections is knowledge. The higher Self knows perfect good. The lower self easily mistakes lesser goods for the perfect good. The lower self will always choose what it thinks is best for itself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really know what the perfect good is.
Does this mean that the mystic doesn’t bother trying to improve his behavior? On the contrary. With the knowledge which comes from union with the higher Self, the mystic KNOWS (not just says he believes) the perfect good. He can calmly, kindly, and non-judgmentally look at his behavior and make adjustments to line up with the perfect good. His knowledge is much more life-changing than the lower self’s feelings of guilt, tangled up as they are with pride.