wisdom

The Spiritual Practice of ‘No Shame’.

Let’s talk about our old friend, shame.

Most of us old souls are very service-to-others-oriented, and I find that most people who are heavily oriented this way are often wracked with guilt and shame. 

This is because we deeply strive for the perfect compassionate ideal we hold in our minds, and so feel terribly guilty and shameful for constantly falling short of it and not alleviating more of the world’s suffering yet.

If a friend or family member is sad or angry or anything other than full-on blissed-out happy, we take it as a personal point of failure.

I grew up in a family that deeply idealized compassion. Some of them held this belief because they were dead set on not continuing the pain that had been given to them earlier on, and some held the ideal of perfect compassion because of a deep sense of responsibility they had been taught/guilted into. 

The combination of both of these camps became the conscious and unconscious framework my sister and I grew up in. The overall mantra of our family’s mission was:

“Never Hurt Anyone Ever.”

A good mantra, to be sure, far better than other families mantras of “Don’t trust anyone” or “It’s a dog-eat-dog world” or the like, and so for that I am truly thankful. Although, as an astrologer, I also know that we choose our parents and lineage, so I guess I should say, Thank you, Higher Self.

But, as many of you who were raised with similar mantras know, the goal of “Never hurt anyone ever” can be a form of crushing defeatism as well, as it is, in the end, impossible to fully accomplish.

Everyone has their own beliefs, formed by their own experiences, and because of this, unless you know the other person, that one, unique person, deeply, on a personal level, you will inevitably end up doing them more harm than good.

This realization leads service-to-other types down three typical paths: the Martyr, the Rebel, and the Seeker.

The first path often undertaken by an “I must never hurt anyone ever” person, after they have realized they can’t help but hurt people sometimes, is that of buckling down and trying to be even more perfect in their efforts to be kind. 

They try and try and try, but continue to keep matching up with people who do not appreciate their efforts. The deep sense of failure and worthlessness this inspires leads them down a deeper and deeper hole of guilt and shame, which makes them try even harder. This is the path of the Martyr.

The second path of an “I must never hurt anyone ever” person often comes after years of not having their kindness recognized or appreciated, until finally they crack. They then find the freedom, or so it appears, of selfishness and see all others who still follow the nice path as naive sheep.  This is the path of the jaded Rebel.

The third path of an “I must never hurt anyone ever” person comes with the realization that compassion and kindness are relative, and deeply personal expressions, and so becomes obsessed with wanting to understand what creates such contrasting beliefs in people.

They discover psychology or astrology and pour over the gold mine of archetypes and what each archetype desires at its core. They try these new findings out, and find they hurt fewer people because of this new knowledge — still some, but fewer.

They then start to mix the archetypes into even deeper meanings, creating even more range of understanding, and find they hurt even fewer.

And with each new level of understanding, a deeper level of compassion grows, not just for others, but also for themselves, and along with it, a lessening of the ever present shadow of guilt and shame — the forever balancers of any ideal of perfection.  This is the path of the Seeker.

In my life, I have at various times walked all three of these paths, oscillating between them sometimes in epic, years-long cycles, and sometimes over the much shorter cycle of a single day.

The goal to hold perfectly to one or another of these paths brings with it the same counterbalance powers of guilt and shame as did the first idealized goal of “Hurt no one ever.” 

All perfection goals are counterbalanced by these powers.

True accomplishment of any idealized goal only comes through the full realization that the goal is, in fact, impossible to accomplish (if the goal is pure and true enough), and yet, should be humbly attempted regardless.

This is where we reach closest to that long sought after grail of perfection, and at the same time most free ourselves from the shackles of guilt and shame.

You can never do it perfectly, and yet at the same time, you can also never do it wrong.

Your efforts are always worthwhile, if only for the reason that they aid in your growth.

Your inability to compassionately help everyone, at all times, perfectly, gives rise to the opportunity for you to see yourself with more compassion even, and especially, when you are your most imperfect.

Because, as the one-third of this wisdom total that the Rebel holds, you are just as equally deserving of compassion as anyone else.

And if you add to that the third of the wisdom that the Seeker holds, you no longer shame yourself when you more fully understand yourself.

And the final third of the Martyr’s wisdom rounds it all out with the fact that there is no pull to shame others once you understand them too.

So where are you on your Martyr, Rebel, Seeker journey? 

Have you merged them, or is there one still that is outside your compassionate scope?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions, simply noticing.

My compassion path has led me to be broken wide open with the Martyr, purged and cleansed in the fires of the jaded Rebel, and more often than not, now healed and deepened with the understandings gained by my Seeker. 

My new mantra is no longer “Never hurt anyone ever,” but now has become “Let Every Soul Be Seen.” And my goal is to do exactly that.

While there are endless ways this noble goal can be aimed for, the one that has propelled me the furthest in that direction has been studying the powerful, collective archetypes as seen through the profound lens of astrology.

Astrology is a magnificent tool to aid you on your enlightenment path, as it deepens not only your understanding and compassion for others, but your understanding and compassion for yourself and the Divine as well, all simultaneously. The deeper you go, you realize all three are really one and the same.

Along with this compassion came the emergence of a spiritual philosophy I was starting to define for myself. A philosophy that allowed me to encompass the full range of my experiences — the hard, the soft, the brilliant and the forever lost, a philosophy of the One True Path of wholeness and integration. 

The more I used astrology to incorporate every last part of me into a cohesive story (the further I went down the path of integration), the more I started to notice, for the first time really, a lessening of the ever present feelings of guilt and shame I had had my whole life. 

I had found my path of the Seeker.

And now my Soul gets downright giddy whenever I get to introduce others to the Divine Seeker path of astrology, so they can then travel further down the Divine/Other /Self-compassion path too.

Through this understanding comes compassion, and through compassion comes the knowledge that even when it’s all wrong, at the same time, it’s impossible for any of us to do this wrong.

You are a beautiful being who has every right to not only be seen by others, but even more importantly, seen by yourself.

While there will always be shame and guilt, and we will never, in our 3D forms, reach perfection, once you understand those things to be catalysts on your journey, instead of painful obstacles (once you have a Why to bear any How, as Nietzsche so succinctly stated), this life becomes a place of Divine wonder, not in spite of its obstacle, but because of them.

And that is where the true accomplishment of that impossible Ideal of “Never hurt anyone ever” reaches it peak, and at the same time, the old friends of shame and guilt are finally put to rest.

***

Veronica Smith works with individuals to help them find clarity on their life’s purpose and strengthen their personal power through her astrological and empathic abilities. For those of you who would like to learn how to pull back the curtain of delusion and understand the collective ‘cosmic plan’ for yourself, registration for her much loved Astrology 101 Course opened Monday February 11th, 2019. A combination of Divine Mystery School, therapy and craft time, this course playfully guides you into understanding the hidden workings of the universe as well as embodying your most empowered, authentic self. To learn more, visit Soul Map Mandalas

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