The Home of Guilt
Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
(T-18.IX.4:4) Yet its [guilt's] intensity is veiled by its [guilt's] heavy coverings [the body, and then the special relationships between bodies], and [guilt is] kept apart from [the body] what was made to keep it [the guilt] hidden.
This means that the guilt in our mind is forever kept separate from the body, in which the guilt is now expressed. Let me read that again because this is a very important sentence. "Yet its [guilt's] intensity…": guilt is a pretty intense thought. The bottom line of guilt is that I destroyed God; I usurped God's role; I stole God's power; I crucified His Son; I shattered the love and the unity of Heaven. I did that. Well, that is a pretty horrendous thought. All of the trivial things we feel guilty about in our everyday life are simply thin shadowy fragments of this overwhelming sense of self-hatred that is guilt. That is the "intensity" Jesus is talking about, but no one is in touch with that. We are in touch with all of the little things we feel guilty about. Guilt's "intensity is veiled by its heavy coverings," the "heavy coverings" being all the trappings of the world, everything of the body. The guilt is "kept apart" because guilt is in the mind, kept apart and separate from the body that "was made to keep [the guilt] hidden."
What we are also seeing here is the dynamic purpose given to the world and the body, and even more specifically to the special relationship. There is a reason for it. There is a reason the world was made—it was not an accident. It was made to conceal the guilt in our mind, and of course the bottom line in all of this is that the guilt in our mind is nonexistent. That is why this whole thing ends up being very, very silly. As I have said many other times, the world is a maladaptive solution to a nonexistent problem, or in keeping with today's theme, we can say the special relationship is a maladaptive solution to the nonexistent problem of our guilt. It is not evil; it is not wicked; and it is not sinful. It is silly. We go to all this trouble to solve a problem, and we solve it very badly. Special relationships are terrible. They have their good moments, but they always end up badly. We did this very poorly anyway, but we did it to solve a problem that does not exist. That is not very smart. The plan works because we no longer have the means at our disposal to look at the fact that guilt is nonexistent. The guilt that we have made real—that is really not real—and then tried to solve by building this whole world is buried. It is buried in the mind that we are no longer aware even exists.
Whenever people speak about the mind these days, with very few exceptions they are really speaking about the brain. People speak about the brain as basically the external physical organ that we can study and see, and the mind somehow is the activity of the brain that cannot be studied as such and cannot be seen. All of this falls very nicely into the ego's strategy. We are still studying the body, without any awareness of where the body and the brain come from. One of the key themes in the Course, as most of you know, is purpose. We are always asked in this course to ask of everything, what is it for? It is understanding the purpose of something that will help us understand its meaning. Thus, the purpose of there being a world, a body, a brain, an individual life that we all think we have is nothing more or less than to conceal the guilt in our mind and keep us mindless.
What drives all this, what continually keeps this world going, is the fear of the guilt that is in our mind. And it is only through the miracle that we can get back to our mind and then finally look with the Holy Spirit or Jesus next to us (in our mind) and see that there is nothing there. But the resistance to doing this is enormous because our whole physical and psychological existence is predicated on the thought: Don't go within! That is why it is not enough for religious or spiritual teachings to tell us to meditate and go within. However well meaning we all are, there is that thought that says: Don't go there! It is not that meditation does not work in principle, but the reason it usually does not work, in terms of undoing this, is that there is that solid wall of resistance.
If we are not even aware that there is a solid wall of resistance, we will think that we are meditating, having these wonderful experiences of God's Love, Jesus' love, or the Buddha's love, or this one or that one. And that does not stop us from judging, attacking, killing, justifying murder, thievery, dishonesty, etc., because the guilt is still firmly in place. That is why we need something like this, a spiritual path like A Course in Miracles that comes with the psychological sophistication that helps us understand resistance, that helps us understand what guilt is, and above all, helps us understand how projection works. That is why I have been saying for a long, long time that without Freud we would not have A Course in Miracles. He was the one who first gave the world these concepts and the means of understanding them and how they work.
The next sentence:
(T-18.IX.4:5) The body cannot see this, [guilt] for the body arose from this [guilt] for its [guilt's] protection, which depends on keeping it [the guilt] not seen.
This is just another way of saying the very same thing. These are very pregnant sentences, filled with very important meaning. The body cannot see guilt. Why? Because guilt is in the mind. On the chart, below "the veil of forgetfulness" is "mindlessness." The world of mindlessness is the world of the body; "mindlessness" is in the left-hand column under "effect." The body was specifically made with sensory organs that only go out. They report to you only about the body, whether they go outside the body and report about other bodies and other forms in the world, or they go within your body. We also have a sensory apparatus that tells us what goes on in our body. That is what biofeedback is about. That is what pain receptors are about. Yet, whether we go without or within, we are still going without, because everything is outside the mind. That is why the body was made the way it was. It was craftily and purposefully constructed, not by God, but by the thought system of the ego that sought to protect itself by denying us the power of our mind.
The body cannot see guilt because it cannot see the mind. The body arose from guilt for the protection of guilt. What protects guilt is ensuring that we never choose against it. We will see later one of the enormous practical implications of these principles. The first step is understanding what the principle means, and then after that seeing how we live this out over and over again in our daily lives, as governments and nations, as well as individuals. The body arose from guilt through projection for the protection of guilt. If my body ensures that I remain forever in a state of mindlessness, I can never go back to a mind that I do not know exists in order to choose against the guilt, which means the original choice for the guilt remains intact.
As we are taught in the Course, linear time is an illusion. Therefore, this did not happen long ago; it is happening right now, over and over again. We are continually choosing guilt without being aware that we are choosing it. That is why early in the text Jesus says the ego thought system is "fool-proof" (T-5.VI.10:6). Within the system itself, which includes the world, there is no way out. He then says it is not "God-proof," because the way out is finally to gain access to that thought of the Atonement that is in our mind. We will get to that later on.
(T-18.IX.4:5) The body cannot see this [guilt], for the body arose from this [guilt] for its protection [the protection of guilt], which depends on keeping it [guilt] not seen.
Guilt is protected by its not being seen. As long as I cannot see guilt; as long as I am not aware of guilt, the protection of guilt is ensured. Again, this is a brilliantly contrived system, and you must end up realizing how this brilliance is manifested and effected in your everyday life. We are all part of this system.
(T-18.IX.4:6-7) The body's eyes will never look on it [guilt]. Yet they will see what it [guilt] dictates.
The body's eyes, ears, brain—everything of the body, which means the psyche too, will never look on guilt. Yet we will always look upon what guilt tells us we should look on. Guilt says always, "Look on me; always look on guilt. But do not see it in the mind; see it all around you." In the next chapter under the first obstacle to peace is a perfectly horrendous section called "The Attraction of Guilt" in which Jesus speaks about the messengers of fear (T-19.IV-A.12-13). That is the circle of fear just below the level the body sees. The messengers of fear are kept starved and ravenously hungry, like hungry dogs of fear, sent out to pounce upon any aspect of guilt or sin—there is that wonderful phrase, "their savage search for sin" (T-19.IV-A.12:7)—to find sin and guilt in everyone else, and then come back with gorges filled with the flesh and bone of their prey. It is a very powerful and graphically described section to depict the nastiness and the viciousness that we all partake in, seeking to find guilt in everyone and everything except ourselves.
Even when we may admit to guilt in ourselves in this body, there is still the accusing voice that says to whomever it is, usually our parents: "You made me this way. Yes, I may be a monster, but I was not born this way. You made me this way. And, indeed, if I were born this way, it was the genes you gave me." So it does not matter whether you are deprecating of yourself or of another person, guilt will always be what you want to see. That is what guilt dictates. Guilt says to us, look upon a world of separation, look upon a world of guilt and innocence, and see the guilt all around you, which means you retain your innocence. That is the world that we made.
(T-18.IX.5:1) The body will remain guilt's messenger, and will act as it [guilt] directs as long as you believe that guilt is real.
As long as we believe that guilt is real, we must fall in line with the ego's laws. These are sacrosanct laws. Once we make the decision for the ego, we are bound by the ego's laws. Once we make a decision to be a body, we are bound by the body's laws. And the only way that can be changed is to change our identification from the ego to the Holy Spirit. But once we believe guilt is real, we will deny it and repress it because of our fear of it; and then we will project it out and see the world that guilt dictates, in which there is evil, wickedness, sin and guilt, but not in ourselves. Once again, if we do find those aspects in ourselves, we will say someone made us that way, that it was not our fault, which means we are still innocent.
(T-18.IX.5:2) For the reality of guilt is the illusion that seems to make it heavy and opaque [which means, seems to make it real], impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego's thought system.
In a sense, one could really say that guilt is the foundation stone or the cornerstone of the ego. It is real, and there is no getting around it. All we can do is magically hope that we can get rid of it. That is the source of all of our anger, arrogance, and judgments—the need to continually project the guilt to get it away from us, magically hoping it will rest in everyone else.
(T-18.IX.5:3-4) Its thinness and transparency are not apparent until you see the light behind it. And then you see it as a fragile veil before the light.
That only happens when we finally recognize that there is something very wrong with this picture that we have made of ourselves and of this world, and there must be another way. Then through the process of continually looking within, truly within, and realizing that what we are seeing outside is a projection or an outside picture of the inward condition of our guilt, which means that we have chosen the guilt—only then can we meaningfully begin the process of making another choice. We begin to understand that guilt is not a real entity, a real devil within us, or a real substance "heavy and opaque" that cannot be penetrated. Elsewhere Jesus speaks about sin as being the solid wall of granite (T-22.III.5:6). It is only when we begin looking at it that we begin to see that it does not have the power to blind us from the light of the Atonement that is shining in our mind. And what enables us to finally recognize that this is a "fragile veil" and not a solid piece of granite is looking at it.