Shame and the separate self

A place for anything that doesn't fit into the existing forums
User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6387
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Shame and the separate self

Post by Sighclone » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:00 pm

So how come, after a few “tastes” of Unity, can a fine book about shame (“The Gifts of Imperfection,” by Brene Brown) seem to be so valuable, I wondered. She talks about how shame can ruin a life, and that compassion for ourself, our imperfect self is important. It’s a great book, if you have a “separate inside self” to love. But I know better.

Or do I? ----- Yes, I do. But that residual and false self, formed from images and rules learned since birth, has a defective but functional operating system, complete with an ignition key. And it is fully energized by one word: “should.” This trigger often has the word “not” attached, too. Not all of the effect of that word is bad; the Ten Commandments are full of “shoulds and should nots.” But much of our egoic identity is based on a fabric of interwoven beliefs about “how people should behave,” resulting in a set of generally unwritten rules. A person forms his or her sense of self, and the “value” of that self by comparison with several sets of social rules. And we build our self-image by testing it against all those standards. The purveyors of clothing and cars and vacations are particularly effective at supporting a “me” identified with the body/mind/personality. Prestige is something to be desired, “…and here is how to get it!!” Failure to measure up builds guilt and shame, etc. And Brene helps us escape.

So what about Atman/Brahman? Does Being need help in learning to love Itself? No and yes. No, because, of course, Being is the unborn perfection of Pure Love. But, in form, even after the repeated experience of Pure Awareness/Unity Consciousness, we still have to walk in society, and pay the rent. And society in general, marching blindly in the fog of infinite plurality and 7 billion people is full of reminders about separateness. So, yes, to the extent that any residual ownership of a separate self remains, help is needed.

Often we accuse others, outside events etc. of being the source of our suffering. Surely externalities and other people can trigger a stress response. But it is these judgmental “second darts” of guilt and shame, which fire up in our subconscious and then slap us that tend to be, for me at least, the last bastion of the “Power Of Little Me.” The message is pretty much the same: “You are Not OK because of _____ failure.” Brown clarifies that guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is “I am bad.”

So can we nondual types engage The Witness and step back from those arisings, those fixations? Can we not “throw the second dart?” I’m still working on it...yes, by letting them be and fizzle, etc. etc. etc.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

runstrails
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2228
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:33 am

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by runstrails » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:53 pm

Hi Andy,
Lovely essay, as usual. You are a very good essayist.
Even after self realization, conditioning persists. So these kinds of books may be useful to understand the root of the subconscious tendencies which are arising.

peas
Posts: 389
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by peas » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:44 am

Are you able to switch off the literal, analytical, 'I-gotta-figure-this-out' brain to feel your way through these matters?

To feel is to access true wisdom.

alex
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:28 am

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by alex » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:06 pm

And it is fully energized by one word: “should.” This trigger often has the word “not” attached, too. Not all of the effect of that word is bad; the Ten Commandments are full of “shoulds and should nots.” But much of our egoic identity is based on a fabric of interwoven beliefs about “how people should behave,” resulting in a set of generally unwritten rules. A person forms his or her sense of self, and the “value” of that self by comparison with several sets of social rules. And we build our self-image by testing it against all those standards.
Brilliant! True in my experience. Examine every single should or shouldn't belief, find that you don't really know any of them to be true and it's kinda inevitable that you'll fall into your heart.
You are Not OK because of _____ failure.” Brown clarifies that guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is “I am bad.”
So can we nondual types engage The Witness and step back from those arisings, those fixations? Can we not “throw the second dart?” I’m still working on it...yes, by letting them be and fizzle, etc. etc. etc
How about asking yourself if those beliefs are true? They're linked to the shoulds and shouldn'ts, a belief is a belief. Find through inquiry that you really don't know it to be true and the belief crumbles, it is then free to arise in awareness but there are no longer little hooks in it. You may find yourself smiling as even a velcro belief arises in awareness and sinks peacefully back down to where-ever it came from.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6387
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by Sighclone » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:00 pm

peas - Of course, grinding away at past conditioning to finally discover the exact components of the source of your guilt is always interesting to the mind. And probably of very little value in disempowering this crappy thinking that surfaces. Feeling is very important, yes, but it the shitty "I'm not OK" feeling that arises with all that dark energy.

alex - Hey, what's going on? I've looked at your picture -- you are supposed to be a pretty little airhead. Not coming through with absolutely right-on reminders like your last comment, which I am taking to be a reminder to use Byron Katie's five questions from "the work" to deflate those little pissy and pointless stinkbombs. And also the fine reasoning in Katie Brugger's book "We Are All Innocent." {There is one individual in my life whose personal life is completely built around borrowed ethics, morals and codes. He babbles on and on, constantly passing the little tests he throws up for himself: "Are you working yourself to death? Is your belief system absolutely rigid and always supported? Is your judgment meter always full on?" The fact that he is totally miserable is very sad. I have thought about taking him on as a project, but it would be too time-consuming and possibly an utter waste of time.}

I'm reminded to finish my little essay titled "It's OK to love yourself." Stay tuned...

Thank you all. :)

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

User avatar
SandyJoy
Posts: 875
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:42 am

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by SandyJoy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:13 pm

Didn't read her book and really don't care to, the title alone sounds unappealing to me.

When you simply begin with the Truth of your Real Selfhood you'll see you are not guilty, no one is guilty, not one single soul, ever.

Begin with the Truth and stay there, Who is guilty of what? And in some most amazing way it is as if we have taken our self into the 'holy waters' and "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." And It is true.

Love, God is Love, God sees no sin and no sinner, there is no 'other' outside the Life You are. How can you Not be Shameless? There is no way to be otherwise.

You are right, it's not only Okay to Love your Self but It is the only way to Love God and Life. Live and Let Live.

Be free and Be full of Joy. Take a stand in the Light then just Live It from this Living Light of Truth that has no opposition and nothing in that "maketh a lie."

If God is Good and God is Love and God is All---then what's to be ashamed of-

Yes, indeed! It is okay to Love YOUR Self and Best that you Do!! Finish that one! and we shall stay tuned.

Her book sounds like a huge step backwards.

In fact you are already free in the Light of Truth, right here and now. See you are dominion, claim your Divine Heritage and Live.

Soak in Life and It purifies the Heart and Soul just by Living the Pure of Love That Is What You Are.
Last edited by SandyJoy on Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You are not finished, until you play in that meadow and live there. You can, you know. But only you can take yourself there.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6387
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by Sighclone » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:17 pm

Trust me, Sandy, you would enjoy her book. It is full of compassion and forgiveness (even though she doesn't like that word.)

All the rest in you post is great -- thank you.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

User avatar
SandyJoy
Posts: 875
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:42 am

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by SandyJoy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:42 pm

Excellent! Nice to hear it--- If she can help anyone realize their Guiltlessness --then yes, yes yes, she is doing her divine work in the world.

Freedom, it's all about freedom to BE Your Self -- just the way you are--- I think that's an old Barry Manilow song :lol:

"I love you just the way you are" -- Oh the Billy Joel version is probably a little more hip 8)
You are not finished, until you play in that meadow and live there. You can, you know. But only you can take yourself there.

User avatar
TemporalDissonance
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 3:41 am

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by TemporalDissonance » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:57 am

Sighclone wrote:So can we nondual types engage The Witness and step back from those arisings, those fixations? Can we not “throw the second dart?” I’m still working on it...yes, by letting them be and fizzle, etc. etc. etc.
Engaging the "witness" doesn't necessary mean that "everything" will become "alright" indefinitely. It is more of a "beginning" where one can explore more if so chooses. Deep conditioning arises and perhaps we have a choice whether to engage or not. And from there these fixations can reveal themselves to be what they are.

Or rather... engaging the "witness" doesn't mean the end of our earthly existence. We still have to pay the bills. But we know what these bills really are. :)

alex
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:28 am

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by alex » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:42 am

Sounds like some unexamined beliefs about me there Andy ;)
Ya I was referring to the Work, Byron Katie is on the money I reckon

kutto
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:11 am
Location: Wollongong

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by kutto » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:31 am

Thanks for the book recommendation Andy.

At it's worst shame is encountered as a deep belief in guilt of character - soemthing that is believed to be rooted in the core of self and not of specific action or behaviour and from this can be seen to be unfixable. Thankfully the universe has a way of gently resetting our expectations and experiences if we listen and a little less gently if we don't - although after that we do tend to pay attention a little more!

Shame can be so pervasive and inter generational it can be extremely hard to overcome - in my own battles with it I have gotten so much more out of the spiritual 'material' than the psych material - spriritual material always starts with - there is really no problem - you only think there is - psych material always starts with - you have this/these problems which are causing these other problems - not a good starting point if you were raised with and have carried shame for a long time. Inner contempt becomes outward contempt onto others (subconsciously) and can get lost in a perception of specialness of self - a particularly nasty ego variant.

I will check the book out.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6387
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by Sighclone » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:11 pm

The irony of discarding some deep-set beliefs such as shame and guilt, is that, for some people, those dysfunctional, false beliefs are actually the keystones and foundations of the entire personality...of the entire Little Me! So to deconstruct them is to be left with much less "little me." While those on the nondual spiritual path, who have been meditating, studying and experiencing, like most regular readers of this forum, the falling away of any foundation for "little me" is conceptually, and hopefully experientially, a good thing. But for many others, I'm guessing, the egoic self which has relied on these sneaky but solid beliefs will be threatened by discarding them!!

Casting off shame might be a great relief for many -- I hope so. But for some, what is left is much less solid. Self-enquiry might either be advanced, or scarier. "If I'm not a shame-and guilt-ridden sorrowful wretch, like I have believed for 40 years, then Who Am I???" Just the right time for a little Grace to drop by...

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

snowheight
Posts: 1962
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:56 pm

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by snowheight » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:43 am

Sighclone wrote: "If I'm not a shame-and guilt-ridden sorrowful wretch, like I have believed for 40 years, then Who Am I???" Just the right time for a little Grace to drop by...
didn't some guy say somethin' a few years back about the meek and the poor in spirit and inheritance or somethin' or other like that?? Image
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

User avatar
Onceler
Posts: 2257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:35 am
Location: My house

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by Onceler » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:33 pm

If you don't have time for the book, her TED talk is pretty good......

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability
Be present, be pleasant.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6387
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Shame and the separate self

Post by Sighclone » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:48 pm

Thanks, onceler!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Post Reply