• Curt Mercadante

Why your 'guilt programming' is sinful

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

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“Knock on wood.”

More than simply a a throwaway line that we utter (with a knuckle tap on the table) when we hint at an impending negative experience, “knock on wood” can become a mindset that infects us, leading us to expect bad things, live in fear, and close our receptivity to abundance.

For years, I had a “knock on wood” mentality and, truth be told, must be vigilant to ensure it does not return.

Success in business or a joyful life event was quickly followed by the overwhelming thought that life was going to balance out by serving me up a corresponding negative event because, well, that’s what I was programmed to believe.

Programmed by whom? By what?

Doesn’t matter, except to know that there are a variety of sources (family, politicians, church pulpits, peers, workplaces, media) of our mental programming (you can listen to my recent interview with Randy Gage to learn more about programming).

When you really step back, open up your mind, and look at our programming, you realize that much of it — whether “designed” or not — is designed to keep us in line…

To follow rules…

To preserve mediocrity…

To protect scarcity…

And to weaponize guilt.

Part of having a truly abundant mindset is being receptive to abundance and prosperity. When you’re receptive, you don’t think things like “knock on wood,” because you know there is no predetermined “balance” that requires you to eat shit simply because you tasted success.

An abundance mindset certainly doesn’t mean you feel any amount of guilt simply because you’ve created wealth and experienced freedom and fulfillment — and it absolutely doesn’t mean you are envious when you see the success of others.

To be sure, those who are envious express that envy as “altruism.” They question how successful, wealthy individuals (even those who built businesses from scratch) can live with themselves while people are starving in the world.

Which leads us to the aforementioned “weaponization of guilt.”

When we are programmed to feel guilty as our default, then weaponization of that guilt to control us is easy.

For example, as someone who grew up Catholic and attended Catholic schools, I was consistently bombarded with the notion of “sin.”

But the definition of sin with which I was raised was that of “good and evil” with the heavenly man on the throne keep track so that “he” would either let me into heaven, stick me in purgatory, or condemn me to hell.

It’s interesting that, over time, western society and humans came to fundamentally change the definition of sin to fit this programming.

After all, as Randy Gage (and others) has written

"Most people think of sin in the religious context and equate sin as doing evil things like those listed in the ten commandments. But if you translate the original writing which is accepted as the Bible today, the language used was Aramaic. And the translation of sin means to 'miss the mark.'"

You see how the definition of “sin” has fundamentally changed over time.

Do bad. Be judged. Feel guilty. Repent, or go to hell.

But it’s not just Christianity that has been impacted.

Let’s look at the Sanskrit word, “karma.”

What the word actually and literally means is simply, “action.”

The actions you take produce certain results.

But, as with the word, “sin”, that’s not the way we’ve been programmed to understand the concept of “karma.”

As Sadghuru writes in his book, Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny

“Unfortunately, most people have understood action in terms of good and bad deeds. They see karma as a balance sheet of merits and demerits, virtues and sins. A life audit of sorts. To others, it is a ledger maintained by some divine chartered accountant who assigns some people to celestial bliss and consigns others to a nether world or into the maw of some recycling machine that spews them back into this world to suffer some more.”

We’ve been programmed to understand the concepts of “sin” and “karma” as this good-vs- bad-crime-and-punishment-big-man-on-a-throne-judging-us principle.

Now, you may say, this is a good thing because it keeps us on the straight and narrow and prevents us from giving into our evil side and doing wrong.

Perhaps. But I would also say that most people wouldn’t go out and commit murder simply because they feel God will judge them and condemn them to hell.

The problem is that this type of guilt-ridden mindset keeps people from wanting prosperity. They feel guilty for it.

Wealth is bad. Poverty is a virtue.

That’s what we’ve been led to believe.

Richard Branson goes to space and we condemn him for it because his space investment is taking away from hungry people.

That’s just one example.

I would argue that this mindset actually leads us to commit “sin” as the word actually means. It causes us to miss the mark by not taking actions commensurate with a prosperous life.

By bastardizing the word “karma” — we don’t actually take the actions (the literal definition of “karma) that would lead us to the results that give us the life we actually want.

When this happens, we become victims. Self-imposed prisoners of envy and guilt.

Then we curse the world and those who have freed themselves to build and create prosperous lives.

And the vicious circle continues.

So what can we do?

Tune out the noise. Tune out the programming.

Define and get radically clear on what you actually want in life.

There is a simple equation:


If your mindset is programmed for envy, guilt, and scarcity, then you will get results commensurate with that mindset.

But if you stop, reprogram, and cultivate abundance…

When you start expecting abundance and being receptive to it — instead of having your “knock on wood” mentality…

Then, and only then, will you begin to get the results you want.

If you want a life of scarcity, poverty, and “missing the mark” – you can have it.

And if you want a life of prosperity, abundance, freedom, and fulfillment — you can have that, too.

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