Dealing with Guilt and Shame

Critical Mind Work ©subhan schenker 2011

Guilt is: I made a mistake.

Shame is: I AM a mistake.

Sanity is: That didn’t work. Now what…?

These three phases deal with the presence (or absence) of the critical mind or judge, and how that affects us.
The first is the critic beating up the child-like part of us inside for doing something that the critic brands as a “mistake.” The child believes the critic and accepts the fact that he or she has done something “wrong.” The guilt that this summons is that we are not worthy, lovable or competent because we have done something that a worthy, lovable, competent person would NOT do. This guilt hangs like a cloud, squeezing out any joy that might be there.
The second is the more intense feeling we call shame. The critic has not only told us that we’ve done something wrong, but that our very nature is wrong! The child within buys this judgment and feels that his very essence is wrong!
In neither of these is the critic challenged. Whatever the critic says is believed by the child.
So the problem then becomes “me” – as I identify with this child part of the mind.
A healing way of experiencing this internal dialogue between the critic and the child is to understand that the root of the problem is the critical mind and its judgments, not the child.
(One tool that can help us here is the Work of Byron Katie. Using her 4 Questions, we can challenge the Critic’s thoughts and begin to understand that its truth falls apart under

scrutiny.)

Once we understand that the critic is the issue, and we challenge the critic’s thoughts, then we can move into the third phase, which is devoid of criticism and is seen in the light of exactly what happened: I did something…it didn’t work…now what? No guilt. No shame. No anxiety or worry. And very importantly, no blame directed at the child! Then we can continue the adventure of experimenting in real time and discovering what works – and what doesn’t – without fear, shame or guilt!

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Subhan regularly presents a workshop called “The 5 Steps to Freedom from the Inner Critic.” Here is a flier about the workshop. Check the scheduling by writing him at info@worldofmeditation.com.

generic-flier

A Bold, Yet Obvious Statement about Our Lives…

I’d like to make a bold, yet obvious statement today:

We have all spent lifetimes running away.

From the pain, shock, shame, anger, sadness and more, we have been diverting ourselves and not effectively dealing with the real underlying issues of our pain.
The diversions are everywhere and universal: sex, drugs, rock and roll, the internet, movies and tv, reading, sleeping, etc.
Running away has been the main strategy for almost everyone, including me…and it is very understandable.
I feel tremendous compassion for the part of me that insists on running away.
To that part, it seems like it is the only option to a feeling of tremendous, overwhelming, unbearable pain and feeling lost.
I have discovered that it is only when I have had enough of what I don’t want, that I begin moving towards the REAL resolution to the pain…and that is to go inside and find out if what the mystics say is true – that there is a place within where there is no pain!
The difficulty is that I have to pass THROUGH pain to get there!!!
But thirty five years of moving inside tell me that the pain isn’t nearly as big as the mind says it is. And, the pain of running away is actually BIGGER!

It isn’t by accident that you and I have met here. It tells me that that this is your work too. And it is clear to me that wherever you and I are on the path of self-discovery, it is EXACTLY where we are supposed to be.
So in that understanding, we can relax a little…take a couple of deep breaths…and continue on…!
I am glad to be a part of a sangha (people on the path of discovery) here on facebook, where we can sit and connect and support one another through the challenges of life!
Love…

The Intelligence and Courage of Children

Q. As a child, I often played the role of being a “good” child which I now regret. Sometimes I would say or do things that I now see as manipulative and self-serving. Rather than being authentic, I was a coward who tried to make everything nice. Is there any way for me to resolve my feelings of disgust for what I did.

Subhan:  We are unaware how intelligent and courageous we were as children.

Because we have a very strong judge inside, we have come to accept its view that the child was “manipulative” or a “coward” in what he did. What is missing is the understanding that every adult owes that child a large measure of gratitude for the strategies he created that got him through difficult and painful times.

By being “good,” you were probably getting some kind of reward, or at least diminishing punishment. Isn’t this an intelligent thing for a small child to do? And choosing to try to make everything nice, that child was able to find some control over the chaos of the moment. Remember, children who were unable to do this had grave difficulty in surviving. Many of them either left the planet in some fashion or escaped below the mind and became what we call “mentally ill.” They were in fact too sensitive and unable to adapt to the challenges that they were confronted with. So it is important for each of us to inquire into our childhood to see and experience how remarkable it was in the way we used our intelligence then to deal with pain, fear, shock, shame and anxiety that felt like it could destroy us. As “surviving” adults, we are living proof of the effectiveness of our childhood decisions.

The judging part within us does not consider any of this. For most of us, this judge sees little value in what we did as a child and much to be improved upon. Not only is this myopic, it serves as a continuous distraction from the wisdom of the adult within us who is growing up! If we can find gratitude for the child’s actions, then perhaps we can minimize the judge’s role, and we will be able to see new possibilities.

One new understanding that can arise is that while these actions were brilliant for a 5-year old, they are no longer effective for a grown adult. It is like building a boat to get across a swollen river: once it gets you across, there is no need to carry it on your head on the other side. If we are identified with the child’s mind and implement the decisions it made long ago, we will be unaware of the adult part within us that is able to cope with present situations. Instead we will continue to see the world through the eyes of that child, even though the situation has drastically changed; and we will react the same way the child did. Then, we are simply adults experiencing the world as a 5 – year old and dealing with it the same way that the child did.

So give your child some credit for surviving the obstacles in his life. This will help keep the judge in tow. And now put some energy into bringing forth the grownup within who can make effective, intelligent decisions based upon this moment!

How to Deal With the Critical Mind

Guilt is: I made a mistake. Shame is: I AM a mistake.
Sanity is: That didn’t work. Now what…?

These three phases deal with the presence (or absence) of the critical mind or judge, and how that affects us.
The first is the critic beating up the kid inside for doing something that the critic brands as a “mistake.” The kid believes the critic and accepts the fact that he or she has done something “wrong.” The guilt that this summons is that we are not worthy, lovable or competent because we have done something that a worthy, lovable, competent person would NOT do. This guilt hangs like a cloud, squeezing out any joy that might be there.
The second is the more intense feeling we call shame. The critic has not only told us that we’ve done something wrong, but that our very nature is wrong! The kid within buys this judgment and feels that his very essence is wrong!
In neither of these is the critic challenged. Whatever the critic says is believed by the kid within.
So the problem then becomes “me” – the kid.
A healing way of experiencing this internal dialogue between the critic and the kid is to understand that the problem is the critical mind and its judgments, not the kid.
(One tool that can help us here is the Work of Byron Katie. Using her 4 Questions, we can challenge the Critic’s thoughts and begin to understand that their truth falls apart under scrutiny.)
Once the understanding is that the critic is the issue, and we challenge the critic’s thoughts, then, we can move into the third phase, which is devoid of criticism and is seen in the light of exactly what happened: I did something…it didn’t work…now what? No guilt. No shame. No anxiety or worry. And very importantly, no blame directed at the kid! Then we can continue the adventure of experimenting in real time and discovering what works – and what doesn’t – without fear, shame or guilt!