Spiritual Responsibility and the Value of Shame
The cornerstone of Chakrubs has been in large, about the release of the emotion of “shame” surrounding sensual pleasure. In light of the Charlottesville white terrorist attacks of last weekend, it is clear to me now that we must learn the value of shame as we move towards being united by morals and integrity. There are times when shame is necessary to strengthen the safety of a community. Nazis and members of the KKK, white supremacists – they lack shame – and they need it.
I imagine anyone who follows Chakrubs is a sensitive person – you must be – if you’re open to feeling the subtle energy of crystals. As a sensitive person myself, I know how difficult it can be to acknowledge that hatred and malintentions exist in the world. But what is more important than keeping a “high vibe” is being authentic. Authenticity is born from honesty. And the way to honesty is through self-awareness. You cannot be fully self-aware without acknowledging the the downright shitty aspects of being human.
Shadow work is a practice of integrating the possibly repressed parts of who you are into yourself so that you experience your life as a more holistic existence. The importance of shadow work can be explained well with this video: Racist Explains Why He’s Not a Racist
In this video, a racist person uses derogatory and racist language, then explains how he is not a racist. This is a lack of self-awareness that is painful to watch. We all experience this to some degree – we reject aspects of our character to protect ourselves from facing the hard truth of being less than perfect.
In order to take responsibility for our own impact that leads to horrible events like last week’s terrorist attacks, we can practice Shadow Work. Self-awareness leads to compassion, through making peace with all parts of who we are, and understanding those parts in others.
Shadow work also means coming to terms with our family legacies and histories. Many people are in denial that the Civil War was fought over the right to own slaves. They cannot reconcile the fact that their ancestors fought to keep humans as property or that some of the privileges they enjoy are a result of forced human labor. So instead of addressing the facts and learning from their history, they tell themselves that the Civil War was about territory and patriotism.
For my spiritual growth, I learned that I had to acknowledge the value of shame. In a way I’ve shamed shame – which may have caused me to give people the benefit of the doubt when that wasn’t useful to the greater good. Shame is necessary in our current point in evolution, and now I see that.
Here is a simple way to practice shadow work.
- Write a list of negative adjectives down on a piece of paper.
- Go in front of a mirror and look at yourself.
- For each adjective, state, “I am _____”.
- For any adjective that elicits an emotional response from you, that is a signal that it is a part of yourself you need to acknowledge.
Words like racist, sexist, privileged, naive, sheltered, ignorant, idealistic – all of these are especially useful to work with right now – especially for white people in order to understand our role in dismantling systems of oppression we have created through various means – including disassociation.
The idea is that, simply by being human, you encompass all emotions and character traits – “good” and “bad”. Some things make their way up to the forefront of your being more than others. Listing negative words is different then feeding into insecurities, because it’s coming from a place of informed intention for personal growth.
For additional reading and support in this topic of Shadow Work: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
Also: Five Things You Can Do in the Aftermath of Charlottesville
Feature Image by Bryan Liston