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