Healing Emotional Turbulence: Blame, shame & spiritual maturity

I was mulling over how, during intense circumstances, we process and release the emotional energies or physical stress and discomfort we feel related to the intensity. Sometimes we use healthy methods, like yoga, exercise, talking with trusted mentors or chanting. Sometimes we indulge in less-healthy forms of release. Lately I was looking at blame and similar emotions that tend to throw out of our own space those uncomfortable personal emotional energies that build up within us during difficult times.

I think the hardest part of going through something difficult is thinking that it is just you alone going through it. I don’t tend to believe that “misery loves company.” But I would say that when you know you are experiencing something, and that there are others who are experiencing something similar, it gives you access to the larger context of your experience. With this sense of “you are not alone,” it is easier to step out of self-blame (it’s all my fault and I am ashamed) and be open to seeing how you contributed to the situation (without assigning blame). When any of us understands how we helped create our quandary, we have the potential to make choices that get us out of the situation.

As I see it, blame throws emotional energy out of your space (when you blame others) or overwhelms your ability to process and move forward (when you blame yourself, and feel ashamed). But we each need access to emotional energy in order to change ourselves and our lives. So if any of us is constantly throwing emotional energy away (or inward), we may never accumulate enough energy for true transformational change.

Emotional energies are some of the most potent energies we have easy access to, as humans. But only those energies that are actively flowing and in motion are available for us to use. This is true for all types of energy. Anything that is moving and flowing we can engage with to create change.  We have a much harder time engaging with those energies that are stuck or frozen, and so they are prone to remaining unchanged.

A simplistic model of this is how water moves quickly when it is in its gaseous state as humidity in the air, or its fluid state as a flowing river. If you have walked on a beach or alongside a stream, you may have noticed that the motion of the water erodes the sharp edges on whatever it has come into contact with. Pebbles, shells, broken glass and even stones are worn down over time to have silky smooth surfaces and rounded edges. Water in its frozen state, such as ice, cannot interact with these objects in the same way nearly as quickly!

It is only to the extent that the potential energy within the water is released that it can act to change what it is interacting with. Ice will smooth the edges of objects, but it takes much longer because there is so much less motion. The energy potential within water in its liquid state is not bound up, and, therefore, it acts much more quickly on those things that are in its environment; the stones, pebbles, or pieces of broken glass.

Blame (or shame) is like putting water into ice cube trays and freezing it. When we blame another or shame ourselves we are putting our emotional energy into a sort of storage container. When we blame another, the energy goes outside of our personal aura. Psychically, it looks like it hangs in the space between the blamer and the blamed. On the other hand, when we blame ourselves the emotional energy of shame is embedded into our physical body.

Obviously no one wants to hang onto emotional energies of shame, or imagine themselves walking around surrounded by hunks of blame-energy! But we are all human, and as humans we have developed certain coping behaviors. Blame is one coping behavior that we probably saw used by our parents and learned to duplicate at a very young age. How many times have you seen a young child blame another child for something? Or accuse the family dog of eating his vegetables?

“In our power to think about something differently lies our greatest power to make it different.” ~ Marianne Williamson

As we are maturing in self-awareness, our spiritual abilities are also maturing. Those patterns of blame that served us before are now ready to change. Be aware of the flashes of emotion that seem over-the-top. Here is your experience of your own stored emotional energies flashing up. Like a little volcano, they spurt up and out. This means they are in motion, nearing the surface, and ready to be released and transformed.

You may also notice odd body sensations. Again, this can be a symptom of self-blame energies stirring and rising to the surface. When you notice something, it means you are just a step away from having conscious access to the energies that are causing whatever you are noticing. Once you have access to the energies causing a pattern, then you have the ability to change that pattern. As one of my teachers, John Friedlander, used to say, “Whatever you notice, you can heal.”

While it is not always comfortable, this a time period of self-exploration and growing self-awareness. Noticing what fits and doesn’t fit is a daily, probably hourly or even minute-to-minute tool that helps us redefine who we are and how we relate to our world. Whatever you feel is not comfortable in your life, your body, your thoughts and your emotions is ready to change.

May each of you be well blessed, as you move into the next step of your soul’s journey.

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