Friday, May 23, 2014

Coping With My Ocean of Guilt and Shame

Last week [Msg-3-May-2014; Quantum Physics and My Spirituality] I referred to and quoted from the book Opening The Aloha Mind – Healing Self, Healing the World with Ho’oponopono, by Jim Nourse, PhD [Balboa Press (Hay House), 2013]. While looking at a problem of broken axles he asked himself, “Which was the problem – the situation itself or my appraisal of it?” [p. 13]
His realization is very similar to what I’m learning in A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I perceive people, things, and events through a filter of my past interpretations of selective memories. He also quotes a quip I first heard at Princeton: A person commented to his therapist, “Life just keeps throwing me one thing after another.” The therapist replied, “No, your life is throwing you the same thing over and over again.” As I’ve been trying to recognize my perceptions as non-reality, I’ve discovered an ocean of guilt/shame inside me – an overflowing reservoir. I realize I’ve been trying for years, through the Twelve Steps of AA, to find the answer to the question: “Where did all this stuff come from? What caused my ocean’s beginning?”  
Nourse’s description of how the Ho’oponopono healing experience operates to cleanse and forgive me (and also change the world around me!) is very, very similar to the process of forgiveness in ACIM, and the Course defines forgiveness as our primary function in this world.
In ACIM the forgiveness process goes like this: I forgive the perceptions/images I've made or projected, and I forgive the people in these perceptions/images; I forgive myself for projecting my perceptions/images; I ask the Holy Spirit to help me see another way of looking at this situation/person – and then I still my mind and listen for the Holy Spirit's whispers. (Remember: This last step is not my job. It just happens).
According to Nourse, the Ho’oponopono process proceeds by addressing our collective “memory,” which is not the same as our western idea of memory. Memory is not my recollection of my Dad or Mom or brother “doing something” to me or my recollection of me doing something “bad.” It is an unformed mass of data from the collective psyche and the cosmos at large. For example, rather than responding in an unconditional acceptance of things exactly as they are in the NOW, I perceive a situation as a problem, or worry, or threat, or fear. That’s a clear sign that I’m operating from my experience with my ocean of subconscious unformed stuff from the cosmos. To use Ho’oponopono for cleansing, I must take full responsibility for the situation.  My taking responsibility does not mean that I take on the blame for or burden of what happened to you. It means that I accept the fact that the underlying [unformed stuff in my subconscious] is in the cosmos and, therefore, also in me.” [p. 66] The cleansing continues in a 3-step process: repentance, forgiveness, and transmutation. Virtually the same three steps as in ACIM.
Nourse’s description of this collective, unconscious memory [Chapter Seven] is an absolutely beautiful description of what I have known as my “ocean of guilt/shame.” It’s the first time I have seen words like these. What an enormous relief that is for me. [I have discussed this concept before under the term Race Consciousness (Race as in Human Race). For example, Msg-3-Jan-2013 is about Shared Illusions]. The psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung, who first defined the term Collective Unconscious, was too cerebral for me to internalize when I studied him in graduate school.
Ho’oponopono doesn’t deal with the source – the prime cause – of where my guilt/shame comes from. ACIM doesn’t really dwell on it either. ACIM states that the Holy Spirit will honor an honest, gut-level willingness to perceive things differently or to see the world through different, spiritual “eyes.” ACIM describes this as vision rather than sight.
What I’ve come to understand while integrating these two very similar messages is that it doesn’t matter where my ocean of guilt/shame comes from. My earliest memories are not of this ocean, but early experiences of the ocean’s effect on me. Over and over I learned – incorrectly – to perceive the results of my ocean as confirmation that I was defective. I was inadequate. There was something inherently wrong with me. It wasn’t a conclusion based on things I did differently or incorrectly – it was that I, personally and wholly, was incomplete and somehow inferior because of it. That became my constant filter through which I perceived everything.
Consequently, I wear some pretty big buttons on my chest. They all say:  “If you want to see a very visceral reaction, just press here.” Some of these buttons are looks of exasperation at who I am or how I think, non-verbal communication that I’m merely being tolerated, susceptibility to “should” and “ought” statements, or envy (as AAers often say: “… wanting to be someone else, somewhere else, doing something else”). In short, each of these buttons has a direct connection, or siphon, to my ocean of guilt/shame. Push one of these buttons and you’ll get a very defensive reaction or justifying discourse from me – not based in the reality of the present moment – but based on my perception of the situation as it comes straight from my ocean and tells me that who I am simply isn’t enough. Since I don’t like to be reminded of that, I will blame you anyway I can.
What jumped out at me reading Nourse’s book was I don’t need to figure out where my ocean comes from. That focus of reflective thought has gotten me nowhere. I simply need to truly trust that becoming aware and willing will allow the Holy Spirit to begin neutralizing my ocean and freeing that energy for His use. That will also have a very positive impact on you, as well.
That is the icing on the cake – as the Holy Spirit cleanses me and allows me to have a different healthier perception of NOW, it cleanses the world around me. Each cleansing, multiple times daily, removes psychic “stuff” that has blocked my inner light, the light of my True Self – an already-loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience. I am not shining my light brighter – I am allowing my already-there light to shine more clearly now that some of my ocean of “stuff” is out of the way.
A Course in Miracles and the indigenous Hawaiian Ho’oponopono – who woulda thunk it? It’s a positive affirmation for me that Truth, after all, is Truth. It will set me free.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#4 May, 2014

Copyright, 2014