Guilt and the Ego Trip

Listening to Joseph Goldstein’s Dharma Talks, I found something interesting in relation to guilt. Feelings can be powerful tools for learning. However, guilt can be something that kids and adults get hung up on.

In response to doing something stupid or not nice, I know a young loved one who likes to say “I’m bad.” In his own way, Joseph points out that a person can sometimes get hung up on the story of being bad as opposed to learning from the experience and then moving on.

14:12-ish into his “2015-11-18 Q & A” Dharma Talks, he talks about how we often “justify guilt” in a way that’s not useful. He also points out a technique of “wagging the finger at [guilt]” at 15:07. In other words, he points out that we can notice this unhelpful guilt. It can be identified. We can then change it into “a feeling of wise remorse”, take responsibility and do all of this with understanding.

How to share this concept with a child? My initial thought is to do it with a picture.


Image from BK at

Good luck with your exploration of how to internalize this idea and share this concept with both the young and old.

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