Physical illness, for example, makes you feel smaller, no longer in control of your life, helpless. You may become more dependent on others and this may lead to guilt or feelings of worthlessness. But part of learning how to love is also learning how to let others love you -- allowing them take care of you. Many people are uncomfortable with this but I can assure you, it is only their pride that keeps them in this state of mind. Spiritual growth includes learning how to receive love as well as learning how to give love.
Some people feel guilty when others do things for them because they feel self-diminished. This is a symptom of deeper feelings of unworthiness. If you don't feel worthy of someone else's generosity, then you probably won't feel comfortable with having to depend on them for their help. The spiritual teacher, Neale Donald Walsch recently admitted, that because of his pride, he was afraid to ask his father for assistance when he lost his job and became homeless. Neale said that his father would have loved to have helped him but that he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
We are a species that needs one another. When we were infants and small children, we needed the help of our parents to take care of us, to provide for our shelter, clothe us, bathe us, and give us nourishment. We didn't know guilt as children. It is something we learn. And as it was in the beginning of our lives, it will be the same in the end. When we become too elderly to take care of ourselves, we will need to rely upon the assistance of others to help us. This is simply the natural ebb and flow of life.
When you suffer from a loss, whether it be the loss of a loved one, loss of a spouse through divorce, loss of income or status from being laid off from work, or loss of a house from foreclosure, your sense of self will alter dramatically. But this sense of self is only an image or perception of who you are in your mind. It is ultimately an illusion and has nothing to say about the real you. That image is fleeting and always changing. Your mind makes it into something real and permanent but it is not. The only thing that is real is the awareness behind the mind, behind that perceived "little me."
A dissolution of the ego occurs during these times of self-diminishment after a loss or during a chronic illness. In a sense, it is symbolic of the shedding of an egoic carcass that is decaying and no longer needed. It is a sign that role-playing, neediness, co-dependency, insecurity, and selfishness are coming to an end. This is the beginning of your higher Self-realization, a transformation of the ego/caterpillar to the soul/butterfly.
This evolutionary leap forward that humanity is currently experiencing will eventually transcend all forms of suffering in the physical, mental, and spiritual sheaths. This is the realm that Jesus called "eternal life" or what the Buddha called "nirvana." Form comes and goes. Your ego and your body will eventually decay and die. But this is necessary before you can merge with your higher Self. Know that when you suffer you are paving the way for a new evolutionary cycle of the soul. And that's with this is all about after all. Like the dinosaur, the ego has had its time. The future belongs to the Next Human.