Last week, I attended a meditation class on anger and patience held at the Kadampa Meditation Center in Hollywood. This week's class was on letting go of guilt and resentment. Here are notes I took during class that I hope you'll find useful too:
Guilt and resentment
- Guilt and resentment don’t act in isolation. There is commonality between the two–both arc back to the past: we feel guilty about something that we did, or resent what others of what they did.
- Guilt and resentment is us holding on, grasping and rejecting–a lack of forgiveness of the self or other.
- Self-judgement and criticism indicate a lack of acceptance of who we are and where we are at. Resentment follows similar suit but towards other people.
How do we heal from this tendency to feel guilty or resentful?
- Ask yourself if you want to be trapped into being that person that did that thing
- Guilt is like psychic mental currency–"if I feel bad enough, that’s going to fix the problem" is like a penance, like you’re negotiating with yourself.
- Feeling bad is not a liberating path.
- Guilt is completely useless because all the energy of feeling bad doesn’t go into changing.
- "Guilt is a weight. It’s like tying stones to the feet of a bird. We can’t soar to enlightenment with guilt shackling our mind."
- Look at anger and process anger as "Angry thoughts are arising, but they don’t define me" vs. "I am angry"
- Ask yourself: what am I identifying within me right now?
- With guilt, you’re identifying yourself with an action you deemed harmful or bad or wrong but you’re still identifying with being that person. With resentment, you’re conflating people and defining them by their actions. We become stuck.
- Learn to identify with your highest potential, your pure nature instead.
Remind yourself of your potential
- Remind yourself of the potential you’re becoming and refer to the space of who you are becoming
- Have distance and observe your mistakes, but do so from space from your highest potential, your pure nature
- Ask yourself: "Who am I becoming now? Who am I arising as anew in this moment?"
Forgiveness of self and others: Let yourself and others be anew
- "A seed has to go out of existence for a sprout to come out:" The person of yesterday had to cease for the person of today to come into being.
- We can give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves and others.
- Powerful way to stay present is to remind yourself of death–"I may die today. Is it worth staying unhappy? Do I want to be mired in self-hatred or hatred of others when I die?"
- Guide yourself back to your heart, connect to your pure nature and potential, love, kindness, wellness — use that in relation to what situation you’re in
- Create a new version of you and who you want to be in this moment. There is an intention to change when you meditate on who you wish to be: envision confidence, letting go, moving forward, happy, etc. Imagine it being existent now. Don’t delay it.