Guilt. Oh, there's so much of it to go around - especially in religion. I ask, if we feel guilty about what we aren't doing, can we ever do enough not to feel guilty anymore?
If "not doing" has such a power over us that it makes us feel bad about ourselves, how much "doing" do we need to do to make up for that power? I say, no matter how much we do, if "not doing" has that much power over us, we will never be free.
This guilt of "not doing" can drive us to fill our days with as much as we can possibly cram in. The fear of guilt can make us crazy.
Instead of "doing" to get rid of guilt, we need to get rid of the power that "should" has over us.
In the words of Deepak Chopra, create intention, but hold no attachments to the results.
That may seem counter intuitive. I mean, if we "don't care" whether things get done or not, they won't ever get done, right?
However, it actually works the other way. The more we care about whether things get done, the harder it is to do them, and when they don't get done, we feel terrible. Then, we get used to feeling so terrible when things don't get done, that we get preemptive guilt before we even have a chance to do what we need to do. Then, we start to feel guilt as soon as we decide to do something, because we've been there so many times, it's a habit, and instead of only feeling guilt when we don't do something, we feel guilt until we get it done.
However, if we have the intention, yet don't get caught up in the emotions of disappointment, we have a much higher chance of doing what we really need to do. If we don't have an attachment to the results of an intention, we can make space for things to turn out differently than we expected, and maybe, just maybe, things will actually be better than we anticipated. When we are free of guilt, we are also free to let the world work with us to decide which things we really need, and which things are really good for the universe, and which things are actually selfish, destructive or meaningless.
That's not to say that intention without attachment will get everything that we need done, done. We can never do that. No matter how hard we try, we can never get everything done. But intention without attachment gives us the freedom to let go and move one when we make a mistake. It gives us the power to make change, and the power to love ourselves and keep going when things go in an unexpected direction. This point of view gives us energy to do more. Guilt makes us tired, and then we're even less likely to get done what really needs to be done.
Guilt was a major part of my life for so long. It's really hard to love oneself when we are full of guilt. It's also hard to love and be accepting of others when we are so hard on ourselves. I'm finally learning that. Intention without attachment is exactly what I needed to learn (and to continue learning). And that's what successful people do. I can see it now, all over the place, where I never saw it before, and always wondered, "How do they do it?"
Now I know.