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By Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa
I’m almost halfway into a 1000-day practice for the Radiant Body;* and as I chant the Ajai Alai mantra for 31 minutes a day, I get a chance to practice embodying the radiance of the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh Ji; repeating the words he wrote, developing the rhythm and cadence of a warrior, and the grace and the grit of a woman. And this practice continues, day after day, whether I’m feeling beautiful or ugly, fat or thin, happy or unhappy, comfortable in my own skin or hiding myself away in shame. I get to practice in all my various manifestations, projections, emotions and commotions. But ultimately, I get to practice accepting me as me—no matter what—which can be difficult when shame comes along.
In fact, I’ve been asked about shame several times recently and it has frankly brought up a lot of shame in me! You can’t help anyone without having the experience to help them from. Our path is based on this fundamental fact: you can only teach what you know. And so, when approached for help with shame, all my unresolved shadows rose up and confronted me so that I could have an experience,so that I could have something to share. And that experience is simply this: discovering what shame is and confronting it—head on.
Shame is the core belief that something is fundamentally wrong with us, that we are somehow broken, or unfit; that we don’t belong. And it comes from within. No one can shame us but ourselves. Shame makes an alien of us within our own families, our own lives, our own Self. Shame is the great separator—and ours is a path of unity—Yoga.
The one bright spot within all the many aspects of shame is this: you can’t fix your way out of it. You can’t be good enough, perfect enough, or anything enough to stop feeling shame because the nature of shame is to say you’re not enough. Instead, you can only confront shame with the eternal truth that you are infinite, noble, divine, a child of God, made perfectly imperfect within the image of that same God. Yogi Bhajan often said that if God could have made me better, then he should have, he would have, but he couldn’t so he didn’t.
But in that statement there is a defiance against the alienation of shame; there is the liberating truth that “I am what I am” to quote a not-so-famous spiritual teacher, Popeye (smile). And there is the deep knowing, an experience of the words, “God and me, me and God, are One.”
Once we connect with that truth, shame runs for cover. It can’t stand against the expansive nature of our identity as infinity. It simply can’t. It’s too small. It’s too constricted. It’s too fragile. So if you’re at a point in your life where shame is rearing its ugly head, simply allow the light of your radiance and the depth of your truth to heal it, to practice self-forgiveness and to lean into it with compassion for yourself. And if the soft approach doesn’t work, then face it head on and confront it with the truth, “I am bountiful, blissful and beautiful, I am!” These mantras work! Use them and cultivate your Radiant Body; let your light become so bright that shame has to start wearing sunglasses!
Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa has been singing for as long as she can remember. Her music focuses on using sound to move the body, the mind and the breath toward powerful transformative experiences that uplift the individual and serve the soul.
Artwork by William Spektyr Laskorsky www.spektyr.com