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MeditationMoving Beyond Shame

Moving Beyond Shame

Recalibrate your relationship with shame through reflection and acceptance.

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I look at stress as being this kind of huge tree. And this stress tree that we all experience in our lives, has numerous branches. One of those branches is the emotion of shame. Shame is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation, or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. So it's those cringe-worthy moments in our lives, that when we think back on them, we kind of shudder. I believe everyone has felt this emotion of shame before. I've had many people ask, "How do I get rid of it?" Or, "How do I accept what happened and move forward?" So shame is kind of unique, because it's often produced after an event or experience has already occurred. So unless you can time travel, that event will have always happened, and may continuously bring about this feeling of shame. And guess what? That's okay. It happened. Acceptance is almost always the first step of change. Accepting the event that happened, and also accepting how it makes you feel when you think about it. Today's meditation will hopefully help to shift you more into the space of acceptance. And will this feeling of shame ever go away? I don't know, but with consistent practice, it may decrease more and more each moment. More than anything, you're learning how to recognize the experience, and the feeling of shame. Not trying to ignore it or resist it. Instead, you're accepting it, and developing a new relationship with it. One that is absent of judgment or resistance, and allowing yourself to be patient, and compassionate with yourself, as you go through this continuous process. If you're listening to this single, then I'm guessing there's some shame that's currently present for you. For this meditation, I'm going to ask you to identify the shame that's present for you, and perhaps even the source of the shame. And as always, being gentle with yourself, noticing if the practice is becoming too much for you, too overwhelming, and pausing if you need to. You can always stop altogether, recalibrate, and then return to the practice when you're ready, picking up where you left off. So let's gently drop into practice right now. Adopting a comfortable and dignified posture of awareness, allowing the feet to be flat on the floor, or the legs comfortably crossed if you're on a cushion, hands resting on your knees or in your lap, whatever is most comfortable for you. Posture is comfortably tall. And if it's comfortable for you, I'm going to ask you to gently close your eyes. Of course, if not, you can allow your eyes to remain open in a soft open gaze, not really focusing on anything in particular. And just taking maybe five gentle, deep breaths, in through the nose, and out through the mouth. And with that last exhalation, allowing the breath to return to its normal and natural rhythm. And what I'm going to ask you to do next, is...


Duration8 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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