Friday, January 25, 2013

Thirty Days to Guilt- Free Life..who wants it?

TS Eliot said "If the word Inspiration must mean something, it must mean..the the person is uttering something..that he does not completely understand." By that logic, I am pretty inspired today since I want to write about something which I do not fully well understand. I will write about guilt. I will write about the inherent fallacy in striving for a Guilt free life.

Guilt is a constant companion to most thinking men, and by the quantum of guilt that I have been carrying around on my shoulders ever since I could gain senses, in a way, by implication, qualifies me to be a thinking man who has in him, well, a great deal of thinking.

Guilt lurks around from the dark alleys and damp corners of your room and suddenly leaps at you and holds you by the neck, its claws running deep into your skin, when it is least expected and you are wearing the toughest hide of yours.

This ubiquity of guilt among rich and poor, prince and pauper has created a great business opportunity to writers of self-help books which are flooding the market with the promise of thirty days to guilt-free life.

I am a great practitioner of this lost art of shaming myself and immersing myself in guilt over one thing or another. I do not abhor this tendency that I have since long lived with. I sin through the day, and then driven by guilt, beg for repentance like a dog every night. Having thus cleansed myself with a heavy remorse and disgust with my own slip ups through the day, I slip into sleep, well forgiven to prepare for next day of a newer set of sins.

The idea of a guilt-free life is so endearing at times, with an image around the concept fully laden with Snow White clouds floating around the self, latter sitting in the middle of those clouds with a Zen like smile on the face.

I have, for some reason, not been able to bring myself to believe that to eliminate guilt entirely from your life, to abolish it from the kingdom your thoughts is such a great idea. For me, each emotion in life, including the scary emotion of guilt carries a special place.

To have a life with no trace of guilt seem to be a life full of felicity, but it can also mean a dead or numb conscience. No cause for a crime can be too compelling with guilt on your shoulder. Guilt makes the justification or denial of what you have done away from moral probity, beyond your own reproach. Your guilt, or your idea of impending guilt, all set to jump at you at the first opportunity, like a monkey outside the glass window showing its menacing denture, will regulate your actions, and will control your thoughts.

We are human, and we slip. I, for one, slip more than I walk, no wonder I could never build up enough courage to learn skating. But when we slip, do we not even look back and pretend either what happened as an evidence to our slippery values, never happened, or rationalise? If we are good enough to erase all our wrong-doings from the slate of our memory, we are doomed to repeat it.

I have a feeling that this too much reliance and propagation of this idea of guilt-free life has contributed a great deal to the moral decline of our society as a whole. It's only animals who do not feel guilt. When we decide not to look back and evaluate our actions of the past, we close the door on any improvement in the future.

I am forever ridden with guilt. I do not wake up for an early run, the guilt strikes, I spend time adoring like an infatuated teenager, my Facebook/ twitter wall, refreshing the screen, in stead of getting into some real writing, through the day and by night, I am drowned by the guilt. I beg for forgiveness through the night, for all the sins of the day, and then wake up in the morning, feeling light.

I am not advocating that you embrace guilt so tight that you choke yourself out of breath. Moderation, friends, moderation is the key. Nor am I suggesting that you set yourself on to a past of self-destruction, by wilfully setting yourself on a downward spiral of depression. I can see, you will find this a great deal confusing and by now you are ready to violently pull the hairs of your head, and are on the verge of muttering some profanity for the writer, poor me.

If you are frustrated by this time, then I draw your attention back to from where we started, I am hit by inspiration, on the flight to the great city of Kolkata, at 3500 ft in the sky and two-hundred kilometres away, as the good shepherd, the pilot of the plane just announced, and I do not know the meaning of my utterances. I wrote so at the beginning of the post, just as the age certifications they run at the start of the movie. You can not say that you were not forewarned and can not claim insurance money for having suffered agony of intellectual plunder brought about by thus piece.

I posit that don't strive to get rid of guilt from your life, you won't be better off by doing that. You need to practice guilt, in moderation and it must show you way out of the gloom, not into the gloom. You need to acknowledge the guilt, let the shame pass through your veins in stead of fighting hard against it.

In fact, I posit, no feeling should be fought against. It is too taxing for your peaceful existence. No reason to treat guilt as any different from other human feelings. They are the feelings we are borne with and they are bestowed on to us by nature to help us survive this world, and they are the tools through which we better our existence. Don't hold guilt, don't as well let it stay for too long with you, let it flow, let it show you the path to action.

Practise it in moderation, see to it that it does not push you into inaction, rather it ought to prompt you into a positive action and drive you into bettering yourself like a farmer does to his mule. As for me, I will share from where it comes. Striving to change the school of my daughter, I took her to a new school and when I asked her how she liked it. She with her bright, sparkling eyes confirmed that she loved the new school as it was bigger and that it had small chairs.

She doesn't have chairs in her school. I do not know if she will be able to make it through the stupid lottery system they have for selecting the kids. The primary education scene in Delhi is well, obscene, the lofty right to education notwithstanding. I am surely not able to understand, that at the highest levels of professional education, by allowing private parties to set up money making enterprises as professional schools, they have created so much of academic inflation, why can't they arrange quality education at primary levels. But this is topic for another day post, for today, I am going to submerge myself in guilt, unknowingly brought about on my being by a simple response of my kid, for not being able to get her the best school. I need to sit more often with her and teach her more at home.

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