We talked some time ago about the Investigation of Truth and why it’s so important to follow your heart. But taking that next step to put your heart’s whisper into action can be daunting and is likely to cause some mixed emotions on the future. Often, when you’ve been following a certain path for a large amount of time, veering from that path can cause feelings of shame, guilt, and overall pain. In a sense, searching for something new can feel like you’re disregarding the past that has brought you so far in favor something “new and shiny”. So where do you go from here? Knowing that the path you’re on is not one that holds the truth for you, do you stay the course and give in to guilt? Or do you branch out and take the harder path in hopes of finding your truth?
Guilt is a powerful feeling. When coupled with shame, it can be crippling. It can keep you “in your place”, keep you quiet when you want to speak out, and keep you in a constant state of fear. These feelings are completely natural when it comes to searching for your faith and your truth, and if you are searching for faith and come across these feelings, it’s important to address them so you can effectively move on and continue searching!
More often than not, those who are searching feel guilt for many reasons. We feel guilty for leaving behind a faith that has taught us so much. We feel guilty because a large part of us still believes in the ideology and repercussions of not believing and how damaging that can be for our future. And we may feel guilty for going against our family’s wishes in the process of finding ourselves.
But guilt has a funny way of keeping us away from what we need most. In many cases I’ve found that the feeling of guilt for leaving a faith has held me back from exploring others and truly finding where my heart belonged. Those feelings can keep you from having an open mind and can stand in the way of you finding out who you truly are. In order to move passed those feelings, it’s important to take each one and understand where it comes from.
If you’re searching for a faith that speaks to your heart, are you feeling guilty? It’s important to note that feeling guilty for searching and feeling as though you’re doing something wrong by searching are two very different things, and should be treated differently. Understand that if you are searching for faith and are feeling guilty for leaving behind the faith that has taught you much, that you are not turning your back on those teachings. The many things you have learned from a certain faith have made you more knowledgeable and in many ways, have created the person you are today. In moving on from one faith, you are not diminishing the great lessons you’ve learned – you’re simply carrying the great lessons with you as you move on to the next stage of your life.
If you’re feeling guilty over the repercussions of not believing and what that could mean for your future, it’s important to take a moment to think about your decision. Do you truly feel as though this faith doesn’t hold the truth for you? Do you truly feel like you’re searching for the truth? Or are you searching for a way around something you don’t like as part of your faith? Understanding your relationship with your current faith and where you stand on its core teachings can help guide you towards your next steps. If you find that you are in agreement with most if not all of your faith’s core teachings, it may be time to reconsider your searching. (This is not to say that learning about other faith is out of the question, in fact learning about different faith may strengthen yours!)
If you’re feeling guilt over leaving behind any family ties, remember that faith is an incredibly personal journey. At the end of the day, your relationship with the Divine is yours and yours alone. Unfortunately you may not have family that understands and respects your choices, and this could make your family life difficult. But continuing to respect your family’s choices may help them understand and respect yours. In time they may come around to your choices and understand that they are yours to make alone.
Whatever your choices are, and wherever your feelings are coming from, take a moment to process them and understand where you stand with them. Once you’ve processed your emotions, it will be easier to find the answers you’re looking for, whether that’s continuing your search or looking to your own faith to find comfort. Whatever the outcome, remember to treat your journey with as much respect and thought as the twists and turns of your life demand.