The Shame & Blame GameI was asked last week how to get rid of shame and realized that the only real tools I knew of were from my experience in recovery. As I meditated on how to speak to my experience, I of course was faced with the shame that remains in my life. Before recovery, I never really experienced shame--at least not that I was willing to own or cop to. I was brazen, defiant even, in defense of myself and who I perceived myself to be. There was no room for shame. But now, my identity has softened over the years, and I am confronted--and comforted--by a loving partner in my life, whatever shame that remains is coming to the surface to be healed and released. This woman's question was simply a catalyst.
As I lay in bed crying last night, and woke up crying this morning, and continued crying throughout my sadhana, I kept asking, What is shame? What are its origins? Internal or external? And how does it relate to blame? And how can I change it? As usual, Kundalini Yoga inspired something very true and very transformative in me. Ask and you will receive, as the saying goes.
As I confronted the nature of shame, I realized that shame and blame go hand in hand. A vicious cycle that repeats itself continually until you stop the blame and accept responsibility. As long as I blame others or myself for my life and its circumstances, I will experience shame. Acceptance is the key to shifting the energy and transforming shame into positive action.
I also recognized that the source of shame is often pre-language. We are scolded as children, or made to feel separate from in some way, and because we can't fight back, we can't defend ourselves, we blame ourselves and we experience shame. And some of us are actively shamed by our families, probably because they were shamed as children, too. An unbroken cycle of pain that can only end when we decide to stop it for our Self.
Finally, I recognized that I don't need to know the source of my shame. That's the beauty of this path. I don't have to find the answer mentally or logically, I simply need to change the experience. I need to turn that stick that I'm beating myself with into a sword. I need to turn my energy forward and use that sword to cut down all my fears, all my anxieties, all my self-doubt. I need to be fearless and recognize that my nature is infinite. The moment I'm in shame, I've lost the game of life, which is my infinite identity, my nature as a co-creator with God, my capacity to create and enjoy the life of my own imagination.
Shame and blame lock us into a cycle of negative thinking that drowns out the still voice that is love. Turn the stick into a sword. Meditate on your power. Forgive yourself forever thinking yourself less than what you truly are. And cut down all the negative self-talk, fear, and self-loathing that limits your experience of your Self. This is the way we win the shame-blame game. Fateh!