What do you do when you get humiliated and shamed? What is humiliation and shame anyway? I guess if I am honestly going to break it down, it’s really about the ego, isn’t it? The “egoic self” as Eckhart Tolle would refer to it. And what is the ego side of our personality, anyway? It’s primarily constructed of the “pain body” as Tolle calls it, that part of us that remembers old wounds, old pains and fastens onto them like a toboggan going downhill at break neck speed–the feeling is if you let go you die and if you hang on, what then? This pain body wants to be fed, Tolle shares in his amazing book The Power of the Now. This pain body, once fed, goes on creating, complaining, whining, getting angry, projecting in all sorts of horrible and sometimes scary ways, creating more and more pain and spreading like a fever around and among everyone you see, touch and know, and many whom you don’t know! My goal is to NOT feel my pain body, to create goodness and positive energy and happiness wherever I go, but there is a prodigious backlog of pain it seems, and no matter how much meditation and clearing and work I do daily, pain arises. I must address it if I am being honest with myself. Tolle, while not making it sound “easy” exactly, does nothing to talk about the pain we go through in addressing and assailing the pain body! Just admitting to the pain body brings up a tsunami of pain! It seems endless.
A part of me really wants to talk about the details of what shamed me to the ground today. I wanted to resist this urge, and talk about the phenomenon of embarrassment as it occurs in a general sense, because I am sure we all experience this, and I think it is better for me and readers if I break it down without getting too personal or identifying specifics, but I also really need to “get this off my chest” and what better way than through the marvelous process of writing! In past blogs I’ve gotten pretty specific and that’s good for releasing shit but ultimately I wonder, is it useful in the spiritual sense? Aren’t I exacerbating the pain rather than alleviating it? Wouldn’t I be better off to just go off into the meditation room and sit with myself until I contact the exact reason for my pain, without self-justification or rationalization, without attack or blame of the other? At some point all of us have to claim responsibility and accountability for what Freud called, “civilization and its discontents.” I will claim accountability for my actions and if my actions reap negative results I will look to myself. However this experience happened just today–it is fresh, so to speak, so what is my action? Write about it with injured self righteous indignation, or do what Pema Chodron talks about when she teaches about shenpa, that quality of getting “hooked” into the toads that hop out of the mouths of ourselves and others! She speaks of this briefly and succinctly here:
I want, for once, to not go rolling down the hill of my anger, but stop it right here, where I am, in the NOW, and meditate on what, exactly, is making me mad. I mentioned in the beginning that the little ego, the pain body, gets miffed and hurt when the respect it thinks is due it is not given in good measure! That poor little ego feels it is starving for recognition but once it gets recognized it just goes on a further rampage because there is no end to the addiction for praise. I am sitting in the 2 small rooms of my life, writing, reading, walking, meditating, doing the occasional yoga pose, looking out the window, walking around outside my window, shopping, doing laundry, interacting–in the course of those moments I am bound to contact the pain body of others I am sure! I might be walking down the street and a flower pot from a 3rd floor window falls on my head! Today that is exactly what happened. A flower pot fell on my head. I noticed the pain. I have a headache. I went somewhere else for relief and their flower pot fell on my foot! I walked out of the 2nd place and came home here, to my safe haven and decided rather than complain or vent, I would meditate and realize and accept responsibility. Plenty of my flower pots have fallen on other people’s heads, I can take a few. If one kills me, well, then I will reincarnate and try better! In this case, I want to meditate until I get to really feeling:
NO SHAME NO BLAME