Others

Shame and the 8 Steps to Happiness

“You are Enough”, says Brene Brown, the world famous researcher, and Shameographer.
“We all have Buddha-nature”, 14th Dalai Lama.
“Now you are Christ’s body”, 1 Corinthians 12:27
Science, Buddha, and Christ

Above are three statements — the scientist, the Buddha and Christianity agreeing in slightly different words on the oneness of humanity, and the suitability of us all to be whole and healthy.

The circumstances around our birth and our individual variant upbringing appear to change the way that we react to the world and form our personality.

‘Personality’ comes from the Greek word “persona”, meaning “mask, and I’ve recently been in psychological work to remove some of the masks that I have built to protect myself from real or perceived danger throughout my life. (with reasonable success!)

The masks that we all wear, some thick with scars and knarly bits, and others quite thin, are how we present ourselves to the world. Make-up, botox, and beards are just accessories!

Out of Brene Brown’s research in Shame and Empathy came the 10 point Wholehearted Living Guide to engage the world from a place of ‘worthiness’.

When Brene’s work came out it was heralded as an important wake up for our sick society, yet we have been urged to embrace similar policies from historical times, in the Ancients, the Churches and in Eastern doctrines.

This week I’m looking at the New Science of Vulnerability as beautifully described to us by Dr. Brown and the ancient Eight Steps to Happiness as transcribed by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

Daring Greatly

Brene says in Daring Greatly, “Now as adults we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection — to be the person whom we long to be — we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen”.

The armor of alcoholism and the weapons of charm and pretense have helped me get to where I am. I’m broken, scared and tired. Where do I turn to now that the tools I’ve employed thus far have proven worthless?

It seems to me that our society is itself flourishing in the mire of human suffering.

Is addiction the collateral damage that happens in the WAR on ourselves? Is GROWTH and PROSPERITY the game that just keeps on shitting?

Well, where I ended up was at recovery meetings and Buddhist classes. It’s funny really because what you mainly find in these two places (as well as others) is love, acceptance and helping hands.

The long haul of ‘Doing it My Way”, led me to the place where I could rest a while, dust off, and learn new skills. Mostly, I learned that ‘I was Enough’.


8 Steps

Which brings me to the Eight Steps to Happiness. The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness.

  1. love others
  2. be humble
  3. face your selfishness
  4. be mindful of others
  5. forgive
  6. have acceptance
  7. act selfless
  8. see wisdom

This list is my own summarization of the ancient text. You could just use this list yourself, however, I thoroughly suggest you read the book and make your own conclusions.

‘Eight Steps’, originally written by Langri Tangpa about 1000 years ago, is my personal guidance method now. It has absolutely changed my daily way of thinking from completely self-focused to trying to always find where I can help others in my personal choices.

You should try parking the car in a supermarket with Langri Tangpa’s mindset! It’s a blast!

Not only am I in a much better mood BUT I find the kinder I am to other shoppers the BETTER CAR-SPACE I GET.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The Guy With the Mask

Through continuing work with Bradshaw and Brown et al, on my shame and vulnerability I am getting to know and love the real me — the guy without the mask.

With Buddha’s guidance and the ancient texts, I am getting to know others. We all suffer the pain of birth, aging, sickness, death, having to part from those we love, having to encounter those that we don’t and having unrealized desires. This is life. This is samsara.

However, alcoholism is like banging your head against a brick wall — so good when you stop!

And the spiritual journey is like riding a slippery slide in reverse.

love alwaz
mike

 

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