Thursday, October 22, 2009

Protection of Shame





Out of the protection of shame and into the light...

Shame protects my ego by keeping me in a state of hiding. I have to hide from you when I'm ashamed because if you see me, I'm dead. It keeps me stuck, stagnant, and fearful. That would be like the worst thing if you saw how pathetic or how lonely or incompetent I really am. So I hide. I don't let you in. We are not close.

If I'm ashamed of something that happened in the past, and I'm hiding from you now does that make sense? My answer is "no" from the standpoint of the present moment. This is the rational answer. The rational answer sees things as they are in terms of the resources available and potential actions. But, I am not a totally rational person; I am also an emotional person.

And the emotional answer might be just the opposite. My emotions tell me that I've been hurt, and that the thoughts of going forward into the unknown are scary. My body might even react by getting sick or an ache. This is why I feel that I need processes of letting go, forgiveness, and prayer--yoga helps. And I need to trust that things are going to find their way, and have faith in the cycle of humanity, as well as my own ability to achieve. This will help me move past my block, my stuckness, my shame, the residue of my trauma.

The hiding that shame engenders is a false separation. My feeling horrible about myself keeps me away from allowing a connection with you. This situation was manufactured by thoughts and memories, and the more I react to what my mind is telling me from a old shameful (or angry or sad or hurt) place, the less I am available to you and my life as it is now. So my shame not only keeps me from you, but it also keeps me from knowing myself and freely exploring my current potential.

When we blame other people (as adults), are we really ashamed of our own actions? At a certain point we all need to move forward and out of the false protection that woundedness provides. When I am hurt, I give myself permission to disengage and take care of myself. But at a certain point it's time to step out into the sunlight and take a fresh look at the landscape as it shows up today and take a breath of the fresh air that's available now. It might not be a totally clear path, but I know where I can take my first step. Onward.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

4 comments:

Andrew said...

Can totally relate

YogaforCynics said...

I think our mental and emotional defense mechanisms can go awry in ways similar to autoimmune disorders--which would make shame, as you describe it here, kind of like a psoriasis of the soul...maybe...

Anyway, whether or not the above attempt at a metaphor makes any sense, I can relate, too...

Brooks Hall said...

Thanks Andrew!

And YogaforCynics! That makes so much sense to me...

Bob Weisenberg said...

This is very wise indeed. Good for you.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com