Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Appeasing Hindu Guilt

These last few days have been one of the most enlightening I have ever experienced.  

One month ago, my father was negotiating working for longer (he's almost 70), and I was selling stuff so that we could pay the first lot of legal fees, on top of standard living expenses.  The next lot of legal fees (hopefully the last of it) is due soon - at the same time as school fees, stationery fees, kindy donations, the need to buy work clothes for me, and ongoing living expenses.  But the pressure of money is definitely relieved enormously with your show of kindness, whether financial or emotional.  There does reach a point where I wonder if I have thanked people enough already, but then I lapse into old habits of feeling so grateful, that nothing I say or do is enough to satisfy me.

One of the emotions I have been battling with is the curse of Hindu Guilt, which I have referred to in the past, and which is, I believe, superior to Catholic Guilt (yes, it is a competition).  This is particularly problematic and puzzling for me because I am not actually Hindu.  My parents are, but not me.  I don't know why I am feeling so guilty through all this.  Perhaps it's the thought that, even though I have no issue with the provision of welfare for short term emergencies, I never expected I would need to be a recipient of the hard earned tax money of others.  Or perhaps it's the knowledge that there is probably someone out there worse off than me who hasn't benefited from the kindness of others because they didn't happen to have a blog that happened to be read by generous people.  Regardless of the reasons, I've spent a large amount of my time trying to work out how I can appease this peculiar sensation of guilt.

Guilt is as inescapable as death and taxes. If you have a conscience, you have guilt. The feeling of guilt or remorse is exclusive to humans. No other animal has this. Dogs may look guilty, but that’s just dread when they’ve done something they know will upset you. The dog has no trouble sleeping at night.

Perhaps my term “Hindu guilt” is code for mocking the workings of a healthy conscience.    As close friends and family reminded me when I was bemoaning this to them, I have helped people out enormously when their luck has deserted them (I even moved my life to the USA on one particular occasion), or when they just needed a friend.  I volunteer most of my spare time to various charities (mainly the kindy).  And I have realised that I am as embarrassed at receiving gratitude as I am at giving it!

I am getting a lot of comfort knowing that what goes around comes around.


Hollywood said...

Karma is a good thing.

Lucy said...

Hindu and Catholic guilt are NOTHING compared to the guilt a jewish mother can inflict.