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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

Conscious Mastery: This Is What We Teach

"Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability. Accountability, by definition, is a vulnerable process. It means me calling you and saying, ‘hey, my feelings were really hurt about this,’ and talking... . Blaming is simply a way that we discharge anger." - Brené Brown


Do you find yourself constantly complaining; disappointed with the people and circumstances in your life? Are you stuck in a rut? It's time to wake up and realize that scapegoating is a dead-end street that only leads to more frustration, resentment and stagnation. If you desire freedom, peace, joy and fulfillment, there is another way.


Here's the thing: All that complaining and finger pointing is never about the other person. In such situations, there is one finger pointing at "the problem" and three pointing back at the 'self.' I get it, though. You are not the only person living this way. Blaming is a well developed coping mechanism that we have apparently come to believe 'keeps us safe’. That kind of 'safety' is an illusion, however. It only creates further misery. It creates a false sense of security that is actually a cover for our inner pain. It prevents us from walking the true path of our dreams.


Sometimes, instead of blaming others, we fault ourselves, as in, “If only I wasn’t so __________!" ( Fill in the blank.) Recently, a friend of mine who was struggling with self-criticism came to discover that it was actually a cover-up for a harsh belief they were holding about people who appear to have confidence. “I don’t want to be one of those people", something inside them said, "so I will just be a victim of my own self-hatred.” Once this underlying narrative was revealed, my friend was given the challenge to embrace a new self assuredness, to see how it felt. They were encouraged to consider what their life would be like if their inner self-abuse stopped.


I am certain you have had the experience of being brought to tears while reading a book or watching a movie. When that happens, something strikes a chord within us, and the floodgates simply open. When this happens to me, I sometimes sit in wonder, asking, “Am I sad or happy?” I believe such tears are tears of longing; awakening my soul and calling me from within. That can be hard to sit with. So instead, we default to narratives like, “But hey, it’s not my fault my life sucks.” There is always someone else to blame. Outward criticism takes the pressure off personal responsibility.


We learn many forms of distraction to avoid our own pain in life.  My father was a big-hearted man with an unpredictable, flaring temper. Phew! It may have been challenging to encounter, but it gave me a lifelong insight into how pain can operate in humanity. Unwilling to fully experience the consequences of his natural vulnerability, Dad created a shield of protection. His anger could scare people away (so, he could avoid 'being hurt'). It worked, and… he was a lonely man.


How can we better navigate this habit of deflection? Geshe Michael Roach, in his book, The Diamond Cutter, shares a practice from Tibetan monasteries called the “Death Meditation”. The idea is, when you wake up in the morning, without opening your eyes, say to yourself, "If I’m going to die tonight, what would be the best thing I could do with the rest of my time?"


How might we own our fears in order to stop fighting the world around us? How can we live more fully? How might we step into the day being fully who we are meant to be?


A couple of weeks ago, our Centre promoted The Seven Day Mental Diet, by Emmet Fox, as a challenge. Fox's instructions were clear:  “I must not, under any pretence allow my mind to dwell on any thought that is not positive, constructive, optimistic, or kind.” The potential outcome of such a practice is a changed life. Sure, when life is flowing along nicely, this is pretty easy. As the days progress and we are confronted with daily challenges, however, it becomes apparent how much of our time can be wasted on negative thoughts.


The antidote to negativity and blame? Self-compassion and forgiveness. Over and over, we must 'pull up our socks' and start again, all the while also being gentle with ourselves, and then offering that same kindness and understanding to others. (I know it’s hard).


When we feel threatened we will do anything for protection, regardless of the irrationality of our actions. Think of war:

“I don’t like what you are doing.” BAM!

“Oh yeah? Well I don’t like you either.” BAM! BAM!

There are no winners in an “I hurt you / you hurt me” scenario.


So, is there a person, institution or circumstance that continues to take up mental space in your mind? Remember, the problem is never really rooted in 'the thing'. You can free yourself from your perpetual 'thought worms' by inserting gratitude and appreciation into the equation instead. This will help you to make a shift towards personal responsibility and conscious co-creation.


First, notice when you are swirling in your own personal storm.

Second, breathe... knowing there is always a huge fear beneath our stormy responses.

Third, continue breathing while you consciously make a decision to walk forward with self-compassion and wonder. Try asking yourself, “What could I do today that would allow for a breakthrough in my life?” Stay with the question... answers will come.


I am here with you and on the very same journey.


PLANT the SEED (an affirmative link for you) 💕


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