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How should I deal with a constant sense of guilt around roles such as wife, mother, etc.?
The hardest thing for me is the constant sense of guilt. Would you speak about that?
The ego always believes that sins are in bodies. So there are all these memories in the mind of things that you seemed to do that you shouldn't have done, or things that you didn't do that you should have done. The human condition is always based on comparison. Guilt comes from accepting ego roles. Let's take the role of mother. How good is a good enough mother? There is this ideal in the mind of a "good mother", and the mind is always measuring itself against the ideal. It never feels good enough.
You could take the role of wife. How good is a good enough wife? There are always guilt thoughts about: Could I have done more? Am I giving enough attention to my husband/child? When I get involved in other things, am I neglecting my husband/child? So the ego has set up a world of many roles, and it always tries to make the mind feel guilty about not fulfilling those roles. The Holy Spirit brings the end of guilt, because the Holy Spirit gives the mind healing as its role. There is never any guilt in healing. So as you advance as a miracle worker, your self-concept will expand. You may have started out as a wife and mother, or as a math teacher, a gardener, and a good cook. Now Jesus is training you to be a teacher of God. As you work more with Jesus, you will realize: I am more than a woman, a wife, a gardener and a cook. I am more than all of these roles. Your consciousness will expand. You will be used in situations that you could not have imagined, as your circle grows bigger; just as when your circle grows by coming to Course groups.
The Holy Spirit knows that the mind is afraid of letting go of these roles, so He does not yank them away all at once. That would be too frightening. Step by step, as you get into your function, your view of yourself will expand as you take your part in God's plan. What the Holy Spirit is really doing is widening your perception. Most people live their lives with blinders on. They think of every decision in terms of their family and loved ones. They think of each decision as to who will benefit and who will be harmed. Christ teaches that every decision you make is for the whole universe, because your mind contains the whole universe. This is how you learn to let go of guilt or unlearn guilt. You let the Holy Spirit move through you and your vision expands. You think of every decision in terms of how it will help you and how it will help everyone. You learn that the words that you are speaking are really for everyone. You learn that you have no secrets. When you follow the Holy Spirit, you have much energy! You can seem to do more in one day than you did in one week, and everyone is included. If you have loved ones who say: "I don't understand what you're doing; I like the old self better than the new self; I want the old self back," you will realize that these are just ego doubt thoughts, and you are saying "bye-bye" to these doubt thoughts. So it is important to say to everyone in your circle: "This is my journey and I must follow it. You are invited to come with me, or not come with me." The second part is very important, because without it you would be trying to change them.
This is a Course in changing your own mind. As you let go of being concerned about others and experience many miracles, you will find that some of those who turned away now turn back. But even this is not your concern. When I was going through my awakening, I had many struggles with relationships. I asked the Holy Spirit what I was to do. He gave me the metaphor of a deck of cards and told me: All of the relationships in your life were dealt by the ego. The ego picked your parents, your friends, your teachers. During the unholy instant all "relationships" of bodies were spun out. The ego's goal was guilt, and therefore you have experienced guilt in all of these relationships. Now bring all of the cards together in one deck and hand the whole deck over to me. Let me deal the deck. Some of the old cards will come back, but they will be brand new relationships, freed of the past, with no guilt. I will deal you many new cards. Many will come to witness to the love in your mind. The old dealing was the purpose of death. The new dealing is for your resurrection. Just remember, you must give me the entire deck. You cannot keep a few cards for yourself. If you still cling to a few of the old cards, you will still feel guilt and still feel limited.
So that was my big leap, to hand the whole deck over to the Holy Spirit, and it was the greatest thing I've ever done in my life! I cannot begin to tell you all of the people I have met from letting the Holy Spirit guide my life. There is never a sense of attachment, never a sense of expectations.
When you're in the Spirit, nobody can let you down. You are not looking to your brothers and sisters to meet your needs. The only purpose you come together for is to share the joy of the present moment. Now your purpose is to give, and that's why you're not looking to get anything back. This is also why I could never charge any money for anything that I do, because that would be an expectation. What I find is when I give everything away, the Holy Spirit handles everything and I never want for anything. The Spirit is always giving. So this transforms all the relationships. It gives you great trust in Divine Providence.