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The Shameful Mind

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2005-09-27
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Bring to mind mistakes you have made in your life. Try to remember the circumstances that lead to the difficulty. Perhaps you were lost in a mood or reactive pattern and acting out of habit without being aware. You were acting the only way you knew to act at the time and probably motivated by defensiveness and self-protection. You were in fact doing the best you could, and as incomplete as that action was, there was little chance of you acting differently given the unique set of circumstances.

This week watch how the past guilt from mistakes has conditioned the mind toward shame. Watch how it prepares you to assume a disadvantaged perspective and a sense of self-blame when plans or conditions fall apart. Be aware of the story of shame that you perpetuate and the image that is strengthened from repeating that story over time. Stop assuming the truth of the story and deal directly with the emotion of shame. Hold it without adding any storyline to the feeling tone. Refuse to let it become the way you know yourself.

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