shame

When I get caught by a painful emotion I can still become reactive and suffer the personal consequences of that. This occurs less than it used to, but it’s not all washed out of the body-mind, that’s for sure! While I rarely take my reaction out on others–I’m always hardest on myself–the way I shut down does affect people that I care about. And that brings on bouts of shame. Another old pattern.

What is shame? It is constructed of thoughts attached to sensations, creating painful feelings. If I have my wits about me, I become aware of the feelings, and separate out the thoughts from the sensations: set the thoughts to one side (I can always pick them up later!) and sit with the sensations in the body. Shame yields these sensations for me: denseness around the heart, a thickened throat, heavy shoulders. It feels like core constriction.

I’ve learned to stay with the sensations. It’s uncomfortable, but because they are so familiar, I know they are very, very old–perhaps even pre-verbal. Rupert Spira has said that life is cooperating with the deep commitment to truth to bring to light what has been stuffed down for decades. Even understanding the value, mostly I tolerate rather than welcome these occurrences. I wish I could be filled with gratitude! But even that wish is resistance. Best to just let it all roll through–waves pounding the shore, a bit rougher than usual.

© Skye Blaine, 2011

9 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Musings, Non-duality, spirituality, thoughts

9 responses to “shame

  1. Skye:
    That’s the “problem” with real spiritual practice:
    sooner or later, it knocks us all on our ass !
    Again and again !!
    love
    d

    Here’s a post on guilt/shame you might find of interest:
    http://wp.me/s1QwdP-guilt

  2. Hi Dominic,
    interesting post. Don’t know how I neglected to “follow” that blog, but I am now.
    Thanks.
    Skye

  3. It’s the everything-else-besides-just-awakening-stuff blog. Lots of Buddhist themed posts, but I try to mix it up. 😉

  4. Do we really have to just “stay with our sensations?” I used to think so, but I’m no longer convinced of this.

    I had something really uncomfortable happen just before Christmas. I reacted in an extreme way to something someone said to me. I saw my angry reaction, tried for hours to stop it, to make it go away, but it would not go away. So, with a touch of regret, I verbalized the anger and hurt that I felt. And at the moment of verbalizing it, it disappeared.

    Was this just the reaction of a hurt child or was this what needed to happen? Perhaps even to the benefit of both parties?

    I’m really not sure.

    • Hi Kathy,
      I guess only you can know. If it is an oft-experienced hurt, then the suspicion is that it is old. It’s the “extreme way” words that you used that might be a clue here. Was the reaction out of proportion to the event?

      We can’t stop our reactions, or make them go away. We can only be with them, or act on them if needed. Apparently you needed to act.
      With love,
      Amrita

      • I have no doubt that the hurt was old. And no doubt that the hurt and reaction are coming from the illusional separate self. I’m not trying to justify it.

        I guess these days I’m just questioning the need to just sit and “watch” our reactions. It often feels to me as if I am trying to control and manipulate the situation, protect the other person’s feelings (so they don’t leave me!), act wise and “spiritual”, be “nice”.

        But there seems to be a lack of courage, a lack of trust in this approach.

        It’s just where I am these days. I’ll call it my militant phase… which is following on the heels of my 50-year passive phase.

        “I think we all have a picture of how an awakened being should be, which is to serve others, to be kind and gentle, and to speak and move slowly. It’s bullshit.” – Tony Parsons

      • Hi Kathy,
        I’m with Tony Parsons! I agree. I spent 60 years being too damn nice!

        However, I’m not talking about “watching” them. It’s sitting with and feeling the horrible I-think-I-might-die feelings. This is about dissolving, or washing out, feelings that have been stored in the body–in my case–for sixty years. This isn’t for everyone, for sure. But I worked through “The Presence Process” by Michael Brown (edition 2) three times, and it was very, very helpful. Eventually the old feelings moderate, and finally, leave–because they have finally been truly met.

        Not saying that you need to do this. I write about it because I need to, and am, doing this.
        Love,
        Amrita

  5. Skye: Sounds likeyou have a very high kinesthetic intelligence.
    Am primarily visual, and do not feel so much of interest in the body. So this body doesn’t seemed to have stored much. But then sometimes I do notice amounts of tension over issues just as you have eloquently written, and am surprised now to see this. There could be plenty of truth to mine in that quarter, after all. Thanks for the example to follow. Love, d

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