Meditation on Freeing Yourself from Shame
View the companion meditation on YouTube.
Shame is such a pervasive aspect of our lives that we mostly don’t even notice it. Indeed, the very nature of shame is to hide, so it hides itself from us, as much as we hide it from others. In fact, shame is so much a part of our essence as humans, it was the first realization described in the Garden of Eden after eating the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve were ashamed of their bodies (and what they had done: the “forbidden”), and hid themselves in clothing. Our very nature as shameful beings points to our fundamental separation from All That Is, and forms the crux of lack of wholeness. As such, it is at the root of many forms of dis-ease: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
As with most pain, the cure lies not in resisting or suppressing our shame but rather in shining the light of awareness on it. When I become aware of my shame, all the actions I take, and have taken because of it, all the suffering and misery created because of it, I allow myself to acknowledge its presence in my life. When I get even closer and feel into where it lives in my body, I can own it even more. For me, I notice a deep heaviness in my chest and belly, something so ugly and noisome I can barely stand to observe it. There is also a feeling of hunching my shoulders to contract and shield it from view. I try to do a bit of spiritual bypassing and set it free outside of me, and yet I find it has deep tentacles reaching into the very fabric of my being, not unlike a cancer. I notice the similarity to an often shamed aspect of our bodies: feces. We walk around all day, even sleep with it as part of the substance of our selves. Yet we can’t wait to get rid of it, don’t want to see or smell it, and certainly not let anyone else sense that we even have need of this basic function. Animals are not ashamed of this obligation to eliminate that which is no longer needed. Nor do they hide their sexual urges, another area of deep shame for humans. Is it any wonder that the most common cancers, ie. prostate, breast, colon, and many other diseases occur in these most embarrassing areas of our bodies?
In order to work with shame, I have to get a little space around it, some wiggle room to allow myself the power to notice it is not actually who I am. It may be part of me, but it is not me. To get some space, I need to let go of shameful labels for myself: sinful, vile, scandalous, outrageous, immoral, indecent, humiliated. I can feel that, despite its tentacles, I am much bigger than this dishonorable, unworthy thing. Instead of the rock-solid immovable hidden elephant-in-the-room, I can let myself expand out into the infinite space around me. Physicists have proven to us that “empty space” is actually chock full of quantum probabilities, the Field of All Possibilities. Somewhere in that field is relief from this shame.
As I expand my awareness, broadening my body, my life, who I am, I can take this loathsome article and hold it up to the light. Continuing to focus my attention on it and its effect on my life, I claim my power to be greater than it. It actually starts to shrink as I feel the lifeforce growing in me. Deep down inside, deeper even than the shame, a part of me knows there is something which wants me to grow and prosper. Indeed, that force has walked with me every step of the way so that I am still alive and can read this sentence right now. Do I expand that power, or do I let the shame become me, consuming who I am?