Mandala of the Soul

Burst into singing all ye lands,

for the time of awakening is here.

 

AWAKENING: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

REGRET AND SHAME

Julie of Light Omega

The heart that is opening to greater awareness of spiritual reality is essentially a moral heart, one that wants to love more and to share the beauty of life with all beings.  Such a heart often feels discouraged in the presence of its own limitations and especially in the light of truth which shines on these limitations, showing places in the self that are not loving, that may, instead, be selfish, unforgiving, and angry.

 

Out of such limitation, actions may be taken and words spoken that the awakening heart deeply regrets but does not know how to prevent. For in the moment of expression, these words and actions seem to leap out of oneself unbidden, often to one’s dismay later on.  In many challenging situations, the ego is quick to stand up to defend itself, seizing the moment to take revenge  or to assume control in some other way.   Such emotional upsurges are not looked at kindly by a loving heart, even while they are looked at as necessary or justified by a self that feels threatened, wounded, or deprived.

 

In the presence of such limitations, there are always a number of choices.  The choice that is most light-filled is that of responsible awareness - of desiring to learn from one’s mistakes.  This is the choice of alignment with light and with higher purpose and it leads to the path of healing from the Divine within.  Such a choice is often accompanied by deep regret or remorse for one’s past words or actions, wishing that one could take them back.  Regret, however, is not a bad thing.  It is the manifestation of a longing heart that desires to do better and to be better - to love more and to be more.  And whether this love is directed toward another, toward God, toward the self, or toward a situation that one lives with, the yearning to love more, accompanied by regret, is founded in love and is an impetus to growth for the expanding heart.

 

Feeling ashamed of one’s past actions, by contrast, partakes of a different energy.  Whereas remorse or regret is motivated by love and by faithfulness to ideals, shame is motivated by self-criticism and judgment and partakes of darkness rather than light.  Shame, unlike regret, is unforgiving.  It immerses one in negative thinking, replacing Divine mercy, understanding, and compassion with judgments that one has created oneself. 

 

Shame is a judgment of the self by the self.  Unlike remorse which is rooted in love, shame is rooted in anger, accusation, and an absence of forgiveness.  Often, people who feel ashamed experience the twofoldness of judgment.  Directed toward the self, judgment becomes shame.  Directed toward others, judgment becomes blame.  Many people go back and forth between these two polarities.

 

In the presence of mistakes, unkind words, incorrect actions, and other ways of being that one retrospectively finds lacking, it is important to assume that one is a learner – a learner about love.  Regret keeps the heart open to ways of loving better.  It also allows for the necessary humility to continue learning, knowing that mistakes will be made as learning progresses.  Shame closes the heart down.

 

With an open heart, willing to learn, all limitations can be embraced with compassion and all shame can disappear.  This is the way of the Divine within, it is the way of spiritual progress, and it is the way of the deepest love which holds compassion for all, including and most essentially the self.

 

 

Related Writings:

An End to Shame - The Journey of the Soul

There Is No Such Thing as Failure

Forgiveness and 'I Am'

The Time Has Come - The Power of Our Thoughts

 

 

Article Section -  Purification



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