Shame is a tough one until you re-contextualize it. Shame is really vanity. Pride. Shame is pride, projected on society and visited back upon yourself. You let go of the pridefullness, and own that being a human leaves you [open] to being fallible. It’s okay to be stupid and make terrible mistakes. It’s inevitable. How can you evolve unless you make really bad mistakes? You can’t.
So shame is then looking at your own behavior from the viewpoint of pride. From ‘pride,’ this looks like disgraceful behavior. But if you let go pride, it looks more like stupidity. Stupidity is innate to the human condition. Ignorance is what we’re all born here with. We have hardware–a computer–with no programs on it, when we get born here…
We make mistakes out of ignorance. And why are we ignorant? Because we’re born with a tabula rasa. We’re born with the hardware of a computer and no programming. So we’re now at the effect–we’re victims of our own programming. That’s how you can have compassion for all of mankind. You see that every… bin Laden, who was once a happy, [innocent] little boy, got programmed by all this crap. So he is now the victim of his own ego. He’s the victim of his own fallacious belief system.
David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., Advaita: The Way to God Through Mind
We are here in this life to learn. We are here to learn about life itself. About nature, about love, about how to give, how to receive. As Dr. Hawkins states, we come in without programming, knowing nothing; and then we acquire our knowledge through doing and making mistakes, then doing again and making other mistakes. Then doing again, and doing again, and doing again, refining, perfecting, and learning always better and better ways of doing.
This is the way we learn. By making mistakes. And yet so many of us have been taught to punish ourselves for our ‘failures,’ to beat ourselves up for coming up short, for not knowing how to do something we’ve never done before: having a romantic relationship, playing baseball, acting in a play, singing a song, giving a speech, driving a car with a clutch, burying a parent, caring for a plant or a pet or a sick loved one. We’re so busy seeing ourselves and judging ourselves through the eyes of others, we rarely get to the place of acknowledging and celebrating ourselves just for showing up and trying something new, something outside our comfort zone.
We are here to learn. One of the things we have the potential to learn is compassion. As we learn to have compassion for ourselves, as we learn to let ourselves off the hook for our humanness and our fallibility, we can begin to forgive others for the same. We can begin to realize the dictum of Socrates that everyone, always, is doing the best he or she can.
How can we learn compassion? By wanting to find it. By seeking it. And as my dear friend Dr. T. suggests, by asking ourselves to imagine a compassion that is great enough to include even myself.
Today I will imagine a field of compassion that is here for me to step into, a field of the energy of compassion large enough to encompass even myself. I will imagine how I might be seen from the point of view of a loving Creator, and how I might feel as that Creator looking down on my still-learning creations, trying their level best to live life.