Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: The House of Cards and the Beast Within

Monday, July 15, 2013

The House of Cards and the Beast Within

“Shame is the cornerstone of Addiction.” --Dr. Howard Samuels 

In the beginning, in the middle, and in the end, shame is the root. Remove shame from the equation and all the constructs and structures of compulsion, addiction and negative habits fall away like a house of cards.

I read this simple sentence today,  Shame is the cornerstone . . ., and was astonished that I had never read it before, heard it before, or realized it before, myself! It made so much sense. Funny when the most obvious truths escape us for so very long. Yet there it was. So simple. So true. I’ve written about my beast before, my shame, embodied. And even with all the healing I’ve done, it still remains. We’ve befriended one another this beast and I, so that now it serves me like a canary in a coal mine. When I am confronted by even a hint of discomfort or pain, it’s there to be my first warning signal—alert! And I’m grateful. Because in the past, the beast would try to send me a signal, but because I was so afraid of looking at the shame and listening to what it wanted to tell me, the beast became a signal of something entirely different. Instead of becoming more alert and ready to witness what was actually happening within me in any given moment, I would numb myself. Typically with food, but sometimes with sex or sleep or tv; and in the old days, of course, it was alcohol and drugs. The dis-ease comes in many forms, but it’s always the disease of ‘covering up’.

The beast first came into my life during a meeting. I knew then that it was shame. But somehow over the years, I disconnected the beast from the shame; and while I was never willing to actually experience the shame myself, the beast grew more entrenched, more solid, more present, even as I grew more unaware, blind even, to what shame was or how it worked.  To the point that last year, when a student asked me how I had overcome shame in my own life, I was embarrassed to admit I’d never done much work around it. And that was the beginning. The floodwaters of shame that I had held back through sheer ignorance and blind will released and I was confronted with a lifetime of unprocessed pain and shame and grief, which basically arrived in one declarative phrase that kept running through my head (and I realized later that it had been running in my head since I was a child): “There’s something terribly wrong with me.” This is the fundamental lie. The breech. The broken contract between the soul and God. And it happens so early on that we don’t even recognize it until we’re swimming in hidden agendas and acting so automatically from our identical identities that we don’t even recognize ourselves in the mirror any longer. That’s the moment. When we’ve reached the end of the tether, that’s the moment we can reclaim ourselves by simply letting go.

Letting go of what you might ask? Whatever it is you’re holding onto. Whatever you’re white knuckling. Whatever you think you need. Whatever makes you hang on more tightly rather than actually open your hand and look inside—and see what? Your Self. Like an animal that sees itself in the mirror and runs away, we are afraid of ourselves! Our creativity, our light, our shine. Our own godliness and goodliness. And who instilled that fear in us? Does it even matter? Not really. It’s the human condition. But because we’re human we can also change it. We can befriend the beast and ask it to help us, which is, oddly enough, I think what it’s been trying to do all along. Shame is only there to teach us our worth. And now that I’ve befriended the beast, now that I know it’s trying to serve me, I recognize the signal and I stop, I wait and I listen.  What message am I repeating or am I hearing that is asking me to demean myself, or asking me to sell myself short? And I listen.

And because I’m doing something different, guess what? The results have been different as well. Since I’ve begun the practice of listening to the beast, I haven’t eaten compulsively or used any other method of checking out and harming myself. I’ve had the compulsive moment arise, but instead of acting on it. I stopped. I waited and I listened. Unfortunately, it takes what it takes to come into a right relationship to our shame-body. I don’t know that there’s a simple step by step resolution. But I do know that the sooner we stop and look, the sooner we can heal.

Let go. Open up and look inside. Whatever monster lies within is simply trying to help you. Trust the beast and allow the shame to simply fall away, like the house of cards it is.


At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sssat nam, thank you, in a time, I always used to numb myself too. and you are such a great inspiration and your music has beautiful I have no words to say to you so much thanks. Im a kundalini yoga student and did the teacher training..thank You!!! Blessing and greetings from Ecuador. quito. land of the Andes!! sat nam Nirmalbir Kaur


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