TO WATCH THE VIDEO (PICTURED ABOVE) OF ME READING THIS BLOG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3oy_84qctg&t=13s
Client: Hi Shawn, I know this sounds wrong, but I am wracking my brain to think of anyone I am upset with and there is nothing there. The only problems I have are with myself. I haven’t tried it yet, but I suppose the worksheet might work if I do it with myself? Thanks for your help.
Shawn: Thanks so much. Glad you asked! Turning judgments on ourselves is not only the biggest source of pain for many people, because it often became a way of life for handling problems. However inefficient and ineffective that may be, its roots can run deep since it got started as a childhood survival strategy. When we cover the Wheel of Self-Love, I think that will really apply and show you what to do with self-blame, guilt, and regret, or you can get the Spark of Self-Love ebook below, which really helps folks heal self-judgment.
However, since our first focus in learning the NO-MATTER-WHAT Way is on handling the ways we feel like a victim of our circumstances or others’ choices, its really helpful to master the practice of mining those feelings or anger, blame, or resenment at others. You will soon know how to USE these painful states, observing the consequences to yourself and others, then harvest the turn arounds as a reliable path to peace.
Finding Judgments to Turn Around
While it is sometimes hard to find judgments of others when we have worked hard NOT to judge, or when our internal programming goes to blaming ourselves for everything, I have found that the extent to which you are angry at or disappointed in yourself (or stuck on the hamster wheel of regret or guilt or self-loathing) is also the extent to which we DO harbor anger or disppointment at other people or our cirucmstances.
In fact, in our recent session, your annoyance, frustration, and fears were ALL focused on the ways others were letting you down. It is interesting to note that when we sit down to create a JYN, the ego sometimes sets it up so that we are the self-depricating one, and we can’t find any judgments to point at others.
The child’s mind often detemines that it is not safe to confront caretakers about the treatment we are getting, or we were taught to doubt our own perceptions if they didn’t match those of the grown-ups and friends around us. So we started to believe something must be wrong with us and turn the criticisms inward.
Also, many of us hated and feared the anger we saw in others, and developed an identity where we are determined to not be anything like that. Sometimes we have done so much spiritual work on ourselves that the idea of judging others has also been driven far underground, and it takes some practice to recognize it as a very productive practive–no more or less spiritual than anything else that shows up here.
10 Tips for Mining What Wants to Be Transformed:
There may be other factors at play as well when you can’t find that your fear or anger is aimed at anyone else when you sit down to to a JYN. Here are a few tips for dredging up the internal unrest that IS pointed at others, and want your attention, so it can be turned around into forgiveness, understanding, freedom, and healing of yourself:
1) Find a specific situation where you feel upset with yourself, see if you can drop in underneath it and find annoyance, anger, fear or resistance around your situation or another person. What often happens is that we just never felt safe expressing our feelings, so we came up with the story “something must be wrong with me or my view of this” and the belief “If I get angry at myself and focus on how things are all my fault, I’ll do better next time.” The child mind often comes up with a script where we believe our survival depends on hiding feelings of anger or confrontation and so we ended up turning on ourselves instead. So, ask yourself, “If it were safe to be angry or blame someone or something, who or what would I be angry with and blame?”
2) Consider your concerns about anything on a global or planetary or local or environmental level, or related to discerning your role in helping others or politics or activism—in short, anything at all that has you upset or confused or worried or wanting someone or something to change. All are good things to start noticing and noting and working on later.
3) Notice the subtle ways you are separating and disconnecting from yourself, others, or life as-is, and believing the stories of your own well-meaning monkey mind that say “Something better or different should be happening than what is happening.”
4) Start paying attention to any unrest and uncomfortable feelings in your body–if you didn’t get a chance yet, watch the short video about the Beyond Mindfulness Map, You may also want to download the PDF and read it or try it out. The more you can turn inward and tune in to what’s happening in your body, the more you will be able to tap into the thinking behind it. As you begin to make your life a practice of recognizing pain-inducing thinking and exposing the errors in your own logic, the more you will be of service in the world. Healing the thoughts makes you able to hold an open container that is big enough for others who are in pain. The cool thing is that Life will bring you exactly what you need to find and heal what’s left inside you.
5) Even notice any stories that are going on while you are doing your partner work–about how your partner is doing, or about whether or not you’re doing it well enough or about whether or not they are responding the way you want them to.
6) Pay attention to the ways you feel judged by others and then you do one of the following:
a. immediately turn it on yourself, or
b. steamroll over any feelings of hurt or disappointment.
You may go straight to one of these states without first getting in touch with the story that part of you felt you needed their approval, or that their comments or reactions to you mean something about you, or about them or about the future or about the past. Any of those statements should be harvested on paper and questioned.
7) Start to watch any time that mind says “this is the way it is,” “this is the way it will be,” or “this is the way it was, and that means….” Any statement your mind makes around a stresful situation is not “the truth,” and in fact is likely the only real source of your problem.
8) Look for just small or large areas of confusion or annoyance or indecision. Sometimes tiny situations can show us our whole lives and what we’ve been doing to sabotage getting to the next level in our waking up. MANY people nowadays are indoctorinated to steamroll over them with affirmations or positive thinking, and yet many life issues can drag on because we believe it ‘isn’t spiritual.’ For those who have done a lot of spiritual work on themselves, it becomes an even bigger responsibility and gift to continue to find the judgments that remain.
Someone came to a recent retreat who had received so much indoctrination about being positive and about affirming over what was going wrong or just observing things without attending to the thinking, that at first it made it hard for her to find what she could work on during the retreat. She really enjoyed watching other people work on their stuff, and gradually started to be able to see that she had all the same stories that they did, and finally by the end of the retreat she was able to find enough judgment that the work we did really hit home for her….It was like the flood gates opened and she could see so many relevant thoughts that had been shoved under in her ‘spiritual bypass.’ As she gave herself permission to be happily proactive for herself by honoring what wasn’t happy, the realizations started cascading in, and since then her health and relationships and everything else has really improved.
Within a week of the retreat she also went ahead and signed up for the next retreat! It just took her a while to overcome the feel-good spiritual dogma that had almost brainwashed her and seemed to be showing up as energy illness and pain and clutter and agreeing to a lot of things she didn’t really want. Now she’s taking time to re-write the programming that had taught her not to notice or attend to the negative or fearful thinking.
Before this, it seemed to be instantly forgiving others. But on some level, she actually wasn’t. Once she started to go in and honor where she was hurt–even finding anger!–her energy improved and she became much more proactive on her own behalf. As as she got more free, the changes rolled over as real changes in her life.
So as you are learning this, all you need to do for now is:
9) Become the observer throughout the day and notice any emotional states that aren’t quite what you would like them to be and write down the thinking that’s going on in that moment.
10) And if self-criticism is all you can find, go ahead and aim it at yourself for now. That’s the place to start and then you definitely can do The Work on yourself, turning it around to the opposite, and to your thinking (i.e., It’s not…………., and My thinking is………….. ). At the same time, remember to look beneath that self judgment and ask yourself if it were safe to be angry at someone or something, what would you be angry at? Who or what is it that you wish it would change, besides yourself?
Starting with your judgments of yourself may be YOUR thread to get down below it to the underworld of subconscious judgments of others that have gone underground, And that may be attracting experiences and reactions from people that you don’t understand because they are coming out sideways in more covert ways that you are blind to.
Or maybe they simply aren’t there! That’s cool too. If that’s the case, then you may even want to learn this work just so you can support others in a much more efficient and complete way of healing whatever is going on with them! If you’ve already been given this freedom, it might be fun to pay it forward.
Check in with me or puchase my $7 SPARK OF SELF-LOVE ebook, if you want more help with blame or shame.