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Spiritual Ideals and Shame

As a spiritual practitioner you probably have particular spiritual ideals. When spiritual ideals are serving you they provide inspiration to live more fully from the larger Truth behind our everyday lives – to remember the vastness in which any particular moment exists

Sometimes, however, spiritual ideals get hijacked by internal critic voices. Somewhere in the background you start to form ideas about which experiences match your spiritual ideals and which don't.  You start to make internal rules about what you are "allowed" to experience.  The result is a subtle shaming each time you have the dis-allowed experience. Your critic voice starts whispering, "You are failing. You're a fraud."
This shaming can be so unconscious and pervasive that parts of your experience get cast out of conscious awareness and then have to burst to the surface in extreme forms like; angry tirades, panic attacks, eating/drinking binges, nightmares, etc.

Spiritual practice requires the whole you to be present, no part of your experience can be cast out.  The challenge is to be present for uncomfortable feelings, needs, impulses, desires, sensations, thoughts, etc. and make decisions from your values regardless of your present moment state.

This practice begins with recognition and acceptance.  It might sound like this:  "It's okay to feel what I feel right now. It's okay that I am reacting right now.  I can have this impulse and not act on it."

For interrupting unconscious self-shaming, celebration is key. You can celebrate and honor yourself by taking time each day to reflect on all the moments you showed up for what's important despite fear and reactivity.
The work in daily life is to make space for both spiritual ideals and difficult experiences without being consumed by either, but rather continuing to step forward with acceptance. In this way you can live with compassion and joy and share that with others.

This week, identify a spiritual ideal you hold. Through journaling or reflection check for critical voices comparing you to your ideal and wreaking internal havoc. Notice what the critical voices are saying and what particular feelings, reactions, or behaviors get them talking. Then use the two steps above to come into connection with your experience. 

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