This blog is a continuation of January’s blog… so if you haven’t seen it, it will be useful to click on the link and have a read.
Much to my shame and chagrin, I failed in getting this blog published as promised in February 2023. It is no accident that I used the word shame here. Whenever I am unable to do as promised, I experience some residue of shame (there’s an old belief, I am a failure that shows up when I need it to). It is useful for me to acknowledge this to let go of any residual shame, gently ease into guilt (I failed), and eventually open to forgiveness (I am learning). Shame has taught me to be more realistic about the expectations I place on myself. Shame reminds me to be accountable, look in the mirror, and seek Truth.
In the past, shame would have crippled my sense of self. Now, it is an invitation for me to be honest, forgiving, realistic, and humble. My encounters with shame have taught me to accept criticism from others with peace, let go of defensiveness and denial, be forgiving of judgement, and better myself with loving intent.
Following the January blog, I received a flurry of messages, questions, and tons of encouragement to write more on this subject, so here goes –
How do people experience shame?
It depends on the person, their experiences, their past life baggage, their genetic make-up, how they were brought up and more. For some, it is an inconvenience that must be born. For others, shame is to be avoided at all costs. And for some others, shame is a deeply traumatic experience, and is the cause of disconnection from Truth. This latter group of people seek control in all areas of their life, and if they don’t feel in control, they experience intense anxiety, fear, grief or anger.
For those who are caught in the grip of shame – think PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disconnection and then multiply its effects, run it as a sleeper program that comes into play the minute they want to be free from fear, free to live a life of joy and purpose.
Anger, fear, grief, hypervigilance, and constant anxiety, are but a few of the effects of disproportionate shame.
Intense (overwhelming) shame creates a feedback loop causing the person that experiences it to be caught in a cycle of disempowering embarrassment, e.g., fear – shame – fear, rage – shame – rage etc.
Experiences of crippling shame
At five years old, I experienced everything as light, as perfect, as permeated with divinity. I also experienced shame (I am lacking). This prevented me from realising the divinity within. Not recognising (realising) the light of the SELF within coloured my perception of Ranjana and the world around her.
Truth be told, I used to get caught in a grief-shame cycle. I would get sad (experience separation from Self – feel unworthy) and then feel shame (I am unworthy), feel shame and then get sad. I repeatedly ran this shame–grief drama loop for a few years. The grief of being unworthy, undeserving of love etc., shaped a few disempowering self-deprecating habits, which took me a few years to heal and become free from. This loop also attracted abusive and traumatic experiences into my life.
Thank you, God, for busting me out of that drama.
Nowadays, if I make a mess of things, instead of beating myself up with shame, I accept responsibility, accept the consequences, face the music, learn, and go with the flow. I empower myself with forgiveness. This is liberating.
The fight, flight, freeze response
Shame has the same impact as trauma on our physiology. You either seek to fight it, avoid it, and/or are paralysed by it. Are you overly apologetic? Unable to, see the goodness of / in yourself, trust your choices, or be compassionate with yourself? Then the chances are your mind is tarnished by shame belief systems (BS).
Realising that errors in your thinking, expression, and action does not make you a “bad” person is healing for your psyche. This shift in awareness will allow you to face your fears, forgive your weaknesses, and nurture your strengths.
We are not victims; we are powerful beyond measure. Even if we forget this, even if circumstance, memory, and thoughts keep us replaying the roles of a victim we can always wake up from this trance of material identification; we can reconnect to the Truth. We can shine the light of awareness, dispel the darkness of our fears and illuminate the infinite power of the Heart. We can shake off the lies of powerlessness like a lion shakes his mane and roar with the certainty that we are Divine.
Realise the Truth
Once you realise and accept who and what you are, you will be able to break the cycle of shame.
Until then this cycle is bound to repeat over and over again.
Another side-effect of shame is the constant striving for perfection.
Society permits you to be a flame, a candle in the dark. However, this flame is constantly threatened by the shadow of shame. You are so much more than a candle flame, you are the brilliance of more than a million suns, the Light of Love. No shadow can exist in this Light of Truth.
When you realise that you are not merely a wee little flame, YOU ARE THE UNIVERSAL ABSOLUTE LIGHT OF LOVE AND TRUTH, you begin to shine with joy.
I send you whispers of love that sing – Remember, Remember, Remember, Recognise and Realise the SELF
“Koham means, ‘Who am I’, ‘I am a highly evolved ape,’ say some. ‘I am a conglomerate of chemicals,’ say others. ‘I am a contraption with a limited life, I begin at birth and end at death,’ say some. ‘I am an eternal entity, and this is but one sojourn of mine here on earth,’ say others. ‘I’ is a false limitation imposed by ignorance; ‘I am a wave of the ocean and so I am the Ocean itself,’ declare others! These last announce that the I is Soham, ‘I am THAT’, That, meaning the eternal, Universal Absolute, Brahman, the Boundless, Beginningless, Endless entity. When that axiom is meditated upon and made one’s own deepest experience, you have the highest Bliss…”Sathya Sai Baba
Anita’s Thoughts on Shame
Shame has played a significant part in my life. I was very self-critical, self-conscious, lacked self-esteem and self-love. Shame and humiliation went hand in hand for me.
My experience of shame is that of feeling worthless and not good enough because of the way others treated me. It was so normalised that I was unaware of how fearful and vulnerable I became. I was made to believe I was in the wrong and was letting others down. Being constantly shamed and told I was not as good as others effected my confidence. I started to believe there was something wrong with me. Was I so bad? The words I heard so often were ‘you will never be as good as ….,’ ‘do you know anything,’ ‘can you do anything right.’ I started to believe these phrases.
I withdrew from life, I got angry with myself and just wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear. This led to depression. I began overeating to escape from emotional pain and the inability to face myself. In order to avoid being shamed, I chose to be invisible and remain unseen.
These experiences triggered shame vortexes that disconnected me from Love. The LiberatingTouch infinity exercise helped me to create space from these vortexes and triggers.
Trust in God
From an early age I had a deep Trust in God. I would often find myself praying to God for clarity to understand what was happening to me. In my darkest hour God came to me as Sathya Sai Baba. His Grace gave me the strength and courage to overcome the shame, the guilt, and the lies. I gave up everything to change my life. He led me to wonderful souls who helped me on my journey of love and service. I learnt that I am GOOD (God). I am Love; I am a child of the Universe.
Not only did I learn about spirit, I joined a charity, I drove big vans as part of convoys filled with supplies to war torn Eastern Europe. My life changed completely. I lost my sense of shame. And became a mother to thousands. I found LiberatingTouch (LT). LT made me aware of my thoughts. I had the power of choice.
The one thing that I have learnt is that everyone has flaws, everyone makes mistakes. Even if my mistakes were huge or not, I can accept and learn from mistakes. Learn from the past and not to get stuck in it. Shame thrives in dark places within. The LiberatingTouch exercises helped me to shine the light of Love and heal shame.
Ps. I also found Love with a wonderful man named Michael, who is my life partner.
Anita is a gifted, experienced and loving LiberatingTouch Facilitator. You can find out more about her at: https://ambertreelife.com/about/
Anita facilitates a monthly self-help online group that has supported hundreds of people over the years. You can email her at email@example.com to find out more or book a session.
That’s all for now, Love and blessings, Ranjana
ps. You can join our Facebook Group and join in the conversation – https://www.facebook.com/groups/liberatingtouchcentre/ <3 See you there <3
PPS. In the next blog, I will explore a little bit about the role of vasanas (tendencies), samskaras (memories) and shame.
Ppps. Real Freedom
Some of you reading this may be interested in joining the LiberatingTouch Real Freedom online program in May 2023. To find out more go to: https://fb.me/e/2qtdByupo or https://liberatingtouchcentre.com/diary/
From the course notes:
There are no winners in the blame and shame game, everyone loses
Forgiveness, Letting Go and Acceptance create win-win situations
We have a few places left on this course of Real Freedom <3