The judge has just asked the witness: “Can you point to the person responsible for the shame, blame, guilt, anger, and frustration you felt?”
The woman in the witness box points a finger at the woman at the defendant’s table. “Her! I accuse her!”
The defendant looks forlorn, dejected, at a loss, feeling the terrible weight of being pointed out as the “perpetrator” of her own life experiences.
But here’s the Big Reveal: the witness, defendant, and judge are all the some person. You.
Why do we hold ourselves in contempt for the “errors” we think we’ve made in the course of our own past learning process?
When we look back, we often find ourselves replaying the memories of all the times in our lives that we created anxiety, fear, anger, and embarrassment for ourselves, and we automatically bring them forward to color and distort our present situation.
Those are the times when we often sit in our imaginary witness box pointing a finger at ourselves and saying “I accuse you, judge you for what you did or didn’t say, what you did or didn’t do and how you felt about that experience.”
This is different from the process known in self-help and spiritual circles as “witnessing,” in which we regard our thoughts and emotions, and even past “errors,” with a loving, non-judgmental gaze, staying in the present and allowing whatever comes up to be seen and pass away.
When we look at those places in our past that bring us anxiety or fear, this type of witnessing is the easiest way we can deal with them. We can sit with ourselves, allow all feelings to arise and pass away, and fully recognize that when we accuse and hold ourselves in contempt for our past learning experiences, we do ourselves a grave disservice.
Meditation teacher Gary Sherman writes:
When we bring our interest and attention to managing our state of being in the moment, instead of negotiating our image of our self through time, our suffering diminishes, and our perception expands.
I often hear: “Oh I have forgiven all my past actions, and all of those that have done anything to me through their past actions.” This is easily said at the conscious level, but sometimes the subconscious is not as convinced; it insists on holding us in a state of suspension in that time frame, bringing up all the ways we should have, or could have reacted better towards others or towards ourselves.
If this is the case, that statement is actually a very “small-self” way of dealing with the discomfort, kind of like shoving everything under the carpet. Eventually, either we or someone else will trip over it and discover the accumulated pile of unresolved issues. Oh, my! Then what?
When these issues are thus revealed, we tend to go into attack-and-defense mode, simultaneously accusing, judging and defending ourselves. This is not only confusing, but counterproductive.
So why do we do this? Because we don’t recognize that, in our apparent “errors,” we were in the act of acquiring the wisdom to act differently in the future. How could we have done things differently back then if we did not yet have the present knowledge we gained from that so-called “error?’
What is really called for is a more nurturing approach, a setting aside of our judgments. That includes the judgment of others towards us that we accept, internalize, and claim for ourselves.
Here are two ways to help nurture ourselves:
- Understand that our lives are a quest for life experiences that will show us the way to remembering our enlightenment.
- Know deep down that we are already enlightened and none of this means anything, really.
Remember: Your inner light glows 100 million times brighter that the sun, and brighter than all the stars in the sky combined. You are a child of Mother, Father, God/Source and one day you will realize that you are Mother, Father, God/ Source.
Here’s a way to release yourself from self-contempt for past “errors:”
When an unpleasant memory, or repetitive thought reveals itself, get out of the witness box and stop pointing that finger at yourself, as if you were some other person. Be a friendly witness, not a hostile one. Stay in the present moment and allow yourself to really feel and release those emotions from the past.
Go and lovingly nurture the being in you that experiences life, no matter what the experience is or was, and no matter how it manifests itself. Holding ourselves in contempt for our own learning process keeps us from recognizing our own humanity and the reason we are here.
Give yourself a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” If whatever you did needs to be rectified, do what you can. Whatever needs to be reexamined for the purposes of learning, reexamine.
If you need some help there are those you can reach out to.
I am here to assist you in whatever way is revealed to do so.
Give yourself permission to heal…
Peace & Many Blessings,