Friday, June 4, 2010

Musings on Shame

Overcoming shame, healing shame, accepting our shadow side, forgiving yourselfShame is one of the three main blocks to seeing the face of God, according to the great Indian saint, Sri Ramakrishna. The first time I read that, something inside of me resonated so powerfully, because I realized that at a deeper level, it means that everything, absolutely everything, about ourselves has to be accepted. It also reminded me that just about everyone on earth has something deep inside that they feel ashamed of. In other words, we’re all ashamed of ourselves, but we’re all in this “shame-pot” together, and the irony is that shame usually arises because we think, “Oh, I’m the only one who feels this way or who did such and such.” And everyone else is thinking the same thing, that they’re the only one.

No matter what thought or deed you’re shamed by, you can be sure hundreds, thousands, or even millions of other people have had the same ugly thought or impulse. We all came to earth with egos—there’s just no getting around it, and egos cause us to do things, say things, think things that just aren’t pretty. But as Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Fifth Agreement , humans are the only species that keep punishing themselves over and over again for transgressions. When we carry around shame, we keep punishing ourselves nonstop, every minute, for something finished, done, gone.

The thing about shame is the more you try to ignore whatever shames you, the more you refuse to look it, the worse it stinks, like food leftovers stashed in the back of your closet. If you want to be free, you need to be brave and unearth the shameful truth. If you need professional help to do so, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Remember, even the professional you see undoubtedly grapples with shame. Nobody is above it—nobody, except maybe a handful of saints.

I just saw an amazing documentary called What I Want My Words to Do to You about women inmates who had committed heinous crimes and who sought redemption. These women had all done terrible things, murder and so forth, but now they were in a writing group in prison where they wrote about their crimes, in detail, dredging up the shame and guilt they felt, accepting responsibility, facing their darkest selves head on. Their courage brought me to tears. We all have ugly places inside, and to transform the darkness we need to expose it to the light with the absolute bravery and honesty of those women. If they can do it, so can we.

Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen offers life coaching by Skype or phone and in-person Hawaii counseling. Click HERE to go to her website.

Thank you for visiting the Radical Love blog!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Musings on Sound and Silence

Lately I've been contemplating silence. In the beginning was the word, but what did it begin? Duplicity, duality, delusion. Without words, these things aren't possible. Before the word, what was there? Silence, utter silence, and naked truth--truth so deep and empty that perhaps the creatures of the universe cried out in protest and invented webs of words and sounds to prove the emptiness didn't exist.

But it does. Silence is the start and the finish. We are planted in the world of sound because we exist on earth, but we are heading toward, hurtling toward the world of silence because that is the only possible journey, and words have always been our traveling partners. We must, of course, communicate through words so we don't alienate others, so we can join them in the flow of love. But the words we use must come only after we live, breathe, embrace and become silence. Then we finally will find the right words, the words that dance on the flow of light, the words that invite and embrace and caress instead of that alienate and confuse.

The word is the cause of so much strife. It is the resting place of ego. Through the word, the ego asserts its existence and stakes its territory. Only silence can transform the word into the tool of the soul. Those of us seeking higher consciousness must find the space between sounds, the place between thoughts, must hold apart the vibration of appearances long enough to slip through into the lap of eternity. We must erase the word and enter into the smile; stop the story and enter into the soundless hum.
Love and blessings,

Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen offers life coaching by Skype or phone and in-person Hawaii counseling. Click HERE to go to her website.

Thank you for visiting the Radical Love blog!