When you do something wrong, you are guilty. Guilt is not an emotion. You are guilty no matter how you feel about it, or rationalize it. When you do something wrong, you are guilty of wrong doing.
But we have gotten so muddied up about wrongdoing, we obscure it by saying we feel guilty, when in fact we feel shame.
Guilt and shame go hand in hand as course corrections, but we tend to want to run away from these useful signs of the need for course correction, because of the misuse and overuse of shame in our culture.
Shame is used to manipulate us into doing (or not doing) something that someone else wants us to do.
Shame is used to project our own guilt onto others; make them the wrong person, not us.
Shame is used to control us, like by the church, school, peers, supervisors, or bosses.
Shame is projected when a person does not want to look clearly at their own behavior.
Shame is used to get people to go along with bad ideas.
And everyone does it.
There is a seriously funny, if not a bit too on the nose, guy known as J.P Sears, who introduces himself as Ultra Spiritual, and teaches us how to be, too, using a lot of shame to control others, same as everyone else. And Chogyam Trungpa Rinpochet wrote a great book called Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism which is very validating and illuminating.
Shame has a heat, a flush to it, then when it is clear and yours, is very useful in helping you correct and moderate your behavior. Shame helps us to come back into alignment with ourselves, and our own values, so we can live what we believe.
But when your system is so full of shame – projected by others towards you as well as the shame of others that you agreed, probably unconsciously, to carry for some survival reasons, and the shame of your sex, which if you are female is the downfall of everything since Adam & Eve, you cannot tell what is your, and what is not; what is the past, and what is now; what is made up and what is legitimate.
Having all those other people’s shame and judgements in your space makes it very hard to know what is true for you! Much less, what you are supposed to do next.
Your body cannot lie.
It’s true. Your body cannot lie, but when it is full of a lot of misinformation, lies and other people’s energies, it can be a mass of confusion.
You can have energies, information and points of view in your body for so long, you think they are yours.
For instance, my elder sister, who I grew up thinking was the coolest, most competent, wonderfully creative person in the world, loved and still loves the color blue. We both have blue eyes, and dressing in blue does really bring out our eyes so I naturally believed blue was my favorite color too.
When I was learning the techniques that I’ve been teaching for the past 10 years, I spent a period of time focusing on making energetic separations from my sister, as well as other people I felt either close to or a lot of charge about, as the case may be.
That was all going well but I didn’t notice anything in particular, until a friend came over and we were looking through my closet for something for me to wear to an upcoming event. She said, you have a lot more red and khaki green in your wardrobe than I realized, and as I looked, I saw that she was right.
Blue was no longer my mandatory go-to clothes color! A limitation I had not even realized that I had! I had unwittingly, for decades, been dressing in hopes of my sister liking me by liking my clothes! I’m sure this sounds silly, but initially wanting my sister to like me was partly because I adored her, and on the shadow side, partly to keep me alive. She was older and the Alpha of the family pack, and if she didn’t like me or take pity on me, I would have been a tasty feast for the pack and died. That was the emotional truth of my family. I did it, in part, for survival.
People tend to downplay the things we do for social survival, but remember, for millennia – if the pack cut us out of the herd, we most surely would die. Social exile is death, to the body, as we are social beings and need each other, no matter what modern credit-card life says.
The more you release other people’s energies and call all of your energies back to you, here and now, the clearer your head gets, the better your decisions, the easier your life gets, the happier your body feels, and the more things can flow properly in your life.
Let shame tell you when you have done something that doesn’t serve you, so you can modify your own behavior and bring yourself back into integrity.
I have a new program beginning in early November. Let me know if you are interested in learning more.