Transforming Shame into Mysticism
Over the past few months I've been deeply reflecting on the numerous and unconscious ways that 'shame' has defined our lives. It's so insidious that most of us aren't aware of how our best intentions are driven by a need to keep the belief that there is something inherently wrong with us at bay: how our intentions are driven by shame.
So what exactly is shame? Do you have issues with it? Where does it come from? Very powerful questions to ask indeed and the answers are often times painful to absorb when we realize that much of our lives have been created out of shame. I define shame as 'An externally imposed sense or wrongness. A belief that we are inherently and irrevocably defective put into our psyche by our environment.' So where does this belief come from? Ahhh, let me count the sources!
The first primary culprit is our cultural religious beliefs. Let's face it, when most of us are birthed into a religious belief that we are born with 'original sin' and there's nothing we can do about it other than give allegiance to a church who can serve as the intermediary of our salvation - we're kinda screwed out of the gate you know what I'm sayin'? We may as well call this original sin idea 'original shame'.
And that couldn't be more accurate as many religions have used shame to control their followers and manipulate them into judging and somtimes killing others. Not to mention how nations use shame. For example, Hitler used shame to persuade many Germans to attempt to kill off an entire race of folks and then some.
Hell, as we watch the political process continue to unravel aren't we also witnessing politicians trying to out 'shame' each other by making each other wrong? Ah yes, in a shame based culture such as ours anyone who is 'wrong' loses power and the person who is 'right' gains power, esteem, and apparently votes. The shame in this polarization is so ferocious that politicians will blatantly lie in an attempt to be 'right'.
I want you to think back to the first time someone told you there was something wrong with you and shamed you. Maybe that came from a message during Sunday School, or if you're African-American maybe it came from the images portrayed on a 'white' TV. Or if you are gay or lesbian maybe it came from the bullying in high school or the use of the Bible against you. For many of us our shame began with our parents who passed onto us their shame via the way they disciplined and spoke to us.
Like I said, tracking your shame is painful business - yet if you don't you'll forever remain in its hamster wheel...always trying to get somewhere where you can finally feel good about yourself, yet for all your effort remaining stuck in the 'shame wheel', stuck right where you are expending a lot of energy to go nowhere.
Last April I taught a weekend intensive at Kripalu on 'Cultivating Esteem from Your Soul' and knew that to teach anyone how to feel better and love themselves at a soul we'd have to discuss their shame right out of the gate. I arrived at Kripalu a day early to get ready for my event and I remember looking around at all the various folks there sensing that many of them had come to Kripalu to 'fix' something.
Whether that was losing weight, improving their health, or mastering yoga - I sensed their ambition was driven by a shame based notion that there was something wrong with them that needed fixing. Most were not motivated by the idea that they were already beautiful Buddhas simply in need of coming out.
That's how the shame wheel works. We think we have to fix ourselves to be better when in fact healing comes from making space for all the parts of ourselves that never seem to fully resolve and loving them as they are. In that we are free from the shame wheel, free to be ourselves as we are and give that gift to the world.
The shame wheel will forever continue to reinforce that there is something inherently wrong with us. Much like a game of 'whack a mole', as soon as we lose the weight or get our PHD's we are still left with our shame because our intention of 'fixing' and proving ourselves only subconsciously reinforces that we were never good enough as we were in the first place. There was something we had to do to be better and finally 'good enough'.
After coming to know the destructive and sabotaging nature of my own shame, healing shame has become a mission of mine. It breaks my heart to see so many of us suffer from the shame spell we were born into in this culture. It's not just the shame in and of itself that does the worst damage; moreover we suffer at the hands of the patterns that manage our shame. Some of these such as the Shadow Rescuer, Narcissist, Perfectionist, and Scapegoat can keep us from ever really knowing our power and worth, while the Addict can kill you. All of these patterns and more attempt to defend against our shame based ego wounds. I just mentioned 'ego', but what about shame and the soul? Shame is not of the soul...and yet to heal it requires the soul.
I'm doing my last public workshop of the year on September 30th-October 2nd at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY. The workshop is called "Transforming Shame into Mysticism - the Alchemy of Recovering Your Soul." Not only will I be covering these sabotaging patterns in depth, I'll be guiding you on how to truly heal them through the power of your soul - the mystical force inside of you - through grounded practical work and an understanding of your subconscious mind. Please, please come and join me if you are able. I promise it will be the best gift you've given yourself this year.
On my latest Dialogue with Destiny show called 'Is your Life Defined by Shame' which aired on September 8th I explored this topic in depth. I offer this to you below as a free download because I feel so passionate about waking folks up to their shame and how it's created their lives. Please download this show as my gift to you and listen to it to explore how your life has been defined by shame. You may be surprised.
I hope this show offers the first step in healing your own shame. If you are ready to take the next please consider my Omega workshop as well as my "Healing Perfectionism" Series. Both of which address what it means to heal the shame that is running our lives in ways that eclipse the Buddha we already are.
With all the love in my heart,
Intuitive Counselor, Coach, and Life Strategist
September 30th - October 2nd, 2011
Intuitive Robert Ohotto shows us that a new mystical path to freedom and empowerment requires that we redefine mysticism. To truly begin recovering the soul, we must understand mysticism as a process of negotiating five primary patterns-the alchemist, the addict, the mystic, the scapegoat, and the wounded healer-inside each of us. Register Now >
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