Illuminating the jewels of Shame, Guilt & Humiliation
I’ve done something terribly wrong. Again. So wrong that I sense I might be shamed out of the village. Stoned to death. Perhaps condemned to an eternity of pain and suffering. Most certainly I will lose the love and respect of my fellow humans, especially those I hold most dear.
What was my crime, you might ask? Well, this time I sent a text message without first asking myself if it was a good time to send it.
Though this particular recipient responded with kindness and didn’t seemed perturbed by the atrocity of my action, I knew deep down that he was feeling a sense of disgust that will surely grow into the excommunication I deserve.
A few months back I committed an even worse crime, when I sang the wrong song at the wrong time during a healing ceremony. The energy in the room didn’t quite fit the energy of what I sang, and according to my perception, the entire room fell flat.
In that moment I knew I could no longer look into the eyes of my loved ones in that circle because their disgust at my mistake would cause me to crumble into the pitiful pile of trash I was. I could only pray that somehow they would find it in their hearts to someday allow me to return to the circle and maybe even let me sing again.
Does this sound a bit ridiculous? My conscious mind says so too, but this has come up multiple times when I reach deep meditative states. In those moments the feeling is so strong and so true that I can sense how the threads have woven themselves through the fabric of my life experience.
These deep seeds of shame, guilt and humiliation create a dark, unconscious terror of expressing my true self, of getting too close to other humans, or of letting others see who I really am.
These seeds tell me that if I let people see me, I will be revealed for the shameful disgrace I am and will thus be doomed to the life I deserve… a life of loneliness, pain and suffering.
It’s weird to speak these words as my conscious, rational mind is convinced that these thoughts are ridiculous. Conscious mind says, “This is beyond absurd! There is no way that I would ever be excommunicated by my loved ones!”
But the shame and guilt have been here hiding in the dark. They have been awake, alive, watching and waiting in shadows, holding the reins of fear just tight enough to keep me from revealing too much of myself.
As I examine these roots more deeply, I can come up with some very obvious links to my birth and my childhood.
These memories point out why I might have so much shame, confusion, fear, and guilt rooted in the underworld of my psyche, but oddly enough, the more humans I work with, and the more people I dare to share these dreadful secrets with, the more I am learning that others feel this as well.
It isn’t just me. It doesn’t only arise from obvious childhood wounding. It’s inside of friends who describe their childhood as blessed. It’s even inside of people who I see as expressing themselves rather confidently in the world.
This leads me to question where these seeds truly come from… Is it ancestral? Karmic? A root that is woven into human consciousness that just happens to impact some more than others? Is it sprouted from the energetic signatures imprinted in all of our ancestors who have killed other human beings?
Killing another human seems like a crime that could create a just fear of being shamed out of a village. How many of us can trace back ancestors that fought in some sort of war, or committed some sort of violence towards another human being?
But then why do some of us feel this more than others? Is it in all of us, just buried deeper in some psyches than others? Is it subconsciously running inside of every one of us?
Does it come from the good vs. evil consciousness that has gripped humanity for thousands of years creating a deep fear of being labeled one of the “evil” ones?
When I tune into how it has impacted my daily life, I can see that I have held myself back from sharing more of my gifts with the world out of that fear of being seen; being revealed for the devilish creature I truly am.
But in my heart of hearts, I can look at my life and see the love and kindness and compassion I have shared. I can feel the pure, innocent intent that is the true core of who I am, and I cannot clearly trace any thoughts or actions from my life that would deem me worthy of being shamed out of the village.
Through this contemplation I can’t help but wonder how many other human gifts and expressions might be thwarted by these shadow feelings. How many people have ideas, passions, gifts, talents or expressions that they do not offer to the world because of this fear?
The next question that arises out of this inquiry is how to break the bondage of these fears so that I can be free to express myself more in this world, so that I can share my words, thoughts, stories, and artistic outpourings.
For now, I am becoming a loving witness. I am finding ways to love that part of me that is guilty, ashamed, humiliated. “I see you. I am here. I won’t abandon you. You are always worthy of my love.”
In this way I am attempting to shine my own love and compassion on these parts, rather than trying to rid myself of them, which only reinforces their unlovability.
This act of turning toward the shadows of my psyche with the light of love seems to be one of the two antidotes that I have found to this type of suffering.
The second is gratitude. This might sound too easy, or perhaps like an avoidance strategy, but in my deepest knowing I can sense that these shadows are being revealed in the name of being seen, loved, healed and released.
When I look at these experiences as opportunities for growth, and I remain connected to my experiential knowing of the transformative power of love and gratitude, I can offer an honest “thank you” to Spirit, or to my Higher Self for bringing these shadows to light.
*The photo above is an altar I created to honor the Lightening Bug that spent his last living moments reminding me to be courageous and shine my light!