The following is a guest post by my friend and blogging colleague Diana Cullum-Dugan, who teaches yoga and so much more.
Blame – whether self-blame or other-blame — drains you of creativity, self-acceptance and compassion. Releasing blame is a transformative process that can come about through sincere intention and dedicated practice. What kind of practice? You pick. There’s a lot to choose from: yoga, meditation, journaling, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and many other body/mind connectors.
Releasing blame is a practice that derives from the desire to be free from shame, unworthiness, helplessness, and anger at the blamed person (including yourself). It comes from a desire to be done with all that once and for all.
Here’s a quick story from Buddhist teacher Tara Brach. It’s her habit to walk her dog at a nearby park that opens its gates at 6:30 am. In this early morning ritual, neighbors join her. One day, the gatekeeper was late. He repeated this habit of tardiness for several days in a row, first 5 minutes, then 20, then 30, then 35. Tara, upset at sitting in her car waiting, began thinking of what she would say to him when she met him, how rude he was to keep them all waiting. She even had visions of ramming her car into the gate. He was making her late in finding the perfect rock for her daily meditation! (She appreciated the irony of this.)
Finally, she fell back to her Buddhist understanding of the present moment, that this was her meditation. She tried to breathe deeply in her car. It didn’t work. Those vengeful thoughts (known as papancha in some meditative traditions) kept churning. “Aha,” she thought, “this is papancha, so what am I believing about this?” Turns out, she thought if she didn’t get to that rock “on time” to meditate, her day would start off badly, she wouldn’t be productive, her book wouldn’t get written and she would let down not only herself but the world. Wow! What a lot to pin on the man whose job is simply to open the gate!
Just this simple aha awareness begins to halt that tireless battering against our own soul that leads us to blame ourselves and others, and ultimately, to feeling remorseful and shamed.
Eventually, Tara met the gatekeeper and he apologized. He said he was new and confused about the opening time, and would try to be more consistent. Later that week, Tara met the owner of the park who also apologized and kindly reported that the park really doesn’t open until 7 am. The gatekeeper had just been kind to open it earlier, knowing that people came early.
Releasing blame makes space. It lets us unhook from a memory or story line from the past and move forward without being held, dragged backwards, and pulled under by an old, obsolete belief.
These aha moments tug us toward being in the present with ourselves, living in the light of our truth and letting go of what holds us back. They show us up close that we already have all that we need, all the power to step away from the churning negativity we get into when we ruminate.
Every time we have one of these insights, one more limiting belief releases and our mindful inner space within expands.
Take a moment now, close your eyes, and invite your intention to release blame. You might say something like this to yourself: “May I be more present, receptive and aware of what is happening right now. May I not be mired in memories that project me even further into repeating blame.”
You might ask yourself, “What am I believing right now about this?” You can create an entirely new moment by uncovering the old belief or obsolete paradigm, and being willing to discard an old belief that no longer holds true or serves you.
You can choose to be in the space that gives you the wisdom to know how to handle reality as it presents to you right now. In the present.
Every time you release any degree of blaming yourself or others, you create more space, light, and possibility in your present life.
What are your thoughts or experience on this topic? Have you been able to let go of blame, and if so, how did you do it? Please leave a comment.