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Behave Yourself

Discipline, Shame, Self-Doubt & the Loss of Happiness

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.” - Brené Brown

"Behave yourself!" As a child how many times did we hear that. Bad behavior. Misbehaving. Acting up.

I guess the big question we face is this...

How do we reconcile our need for the freedom and opportunity to express out unique individuality while at the same time participating in the group, the culture, the family that is a necessity for our continued existence as a human beings?

Let's face it, we were all enculturated! We were all indoctrinated. We were all forced to put conformity with the culture/community ahead of our own personal. needs. This suppression of individuality was so strong and absolute that we were not even allowed to admit to ourselves that we even had personal needs.

The main tools of that job were, of course, SHAME and SELF-DOUBT. All done in the name of DISCIPLINE.

I think the looks on the faces of those children in the picture above says it all, as does the scowls on the faces of the teachers.

The Republican lawyer... really?

When I was growing up my vision for my life was downright appalling to my family. I was suppose to be a Republican lawyer (Democrats were the devil's spawn) not a rock n' roll drummer. My desires were belittled, shamed and thwarted at every step. My self-confidence was systematically broken and replaced with self-doubt and deference.

Fortunately I did rebel but the damage was done. it took decades to come to trust my own judgement and be able to make choices without 2nd guessing and engaging in internal dialog.

It is a fundamental tenet of mine that no one can be truly happy as long as they do not have both freedom and opportunity for self-expression or self-actualization.

Well the bad news is, not much has changed. The schools may not be as glum as the one pictured above but they are not less contemptuous of individuality. Our culture, as a whole, is not going support you in your quest for self-actualization and self-validation. So we will have to do that for ourselves.

The good news is we can do that for ourselves and create our own groups, tribes, sanghas to support us in that effort.

You see, self-doubt and shame, while originally imposed form the outside, eventually took root inside. Our nervous systems, not wanting to be constantly dealing with the pushback from our parents, internalized the self-doubt so that it became automatically, self enforcing. It became that judgmental voice, the inner critic, the inner skeptic, the doubting voice, even the self-saboteur. All those characters are all the voices of the internalized mandate form your tribe


Behave yourself."

"Don't think that way."

"Don't you dare do that."

"Who do you think you are?"

"You always slouch. Sit up straight and be quiet."

"You didn't listen to me and that is why that happened."

But, as familiar as these voices are, THEY ARE NOT YOU! They are programs, running in the nervous system.

They speak, almost always in first person, so we mistake them for ourselves.

"This always happens to me."

"I just can't get it right."

"I have bad karma."

"I am always attracting these things."

These are only programs that are using the word "I". There is, in fact, no one there. It is like when you ask Siri a question and she responds "I'm sorry. I don't know that." THERE IS NO ONE SAYING THAT. It's a recording. You will often hear me refer to that inner voice as The Robot. It is a good way to remind yourself that it isn't really your voice. Your mind was simply programmed to keep delivering to you the same message the environment has been delivering to you, on a continuous loop, even after the original singers of that song were long gone.

All of the misery we have been experiencing is a result of mistaking the robot voice without an owner, for the real "I" that is you.

But knowing this is not enough. Or rather, it is a knowledge that must go deeper than just ideas, deeper even than insight. It must become the lived experience. In other words, it must become a practice. Turning the insight into a practice is the work or meditation, Meridian Tapping, Inner Reconciliation, and non-dual self-inquiry.

It is a constant course correction, recognizing when we have once again agreed with the dissenting voice within us and have been following its leadings.

Coming to embody this insight does take effort at first, but it does become easier. And, as my students can confirm (and the students of other true teachers) the effort is well worth it.

A complete outline of practice is not possible in a blog but we can certainly talk more about it in the upcoming show and in satsang and in all of the classes I teach. The point is to start on the fabulous journey out of those robotic voices in our heads and into the angelic voice that is the true you.

Join us for the next episode of "OM School Live" every Tuesday at 12 noon eastern time. at or in the private facebook group

GP offers dozens of workshops, meditations and courses on his learning platform, The OM School

Check out GP's podcast on Spotify and other media outlets

Watch GP Live Every Tuesday at noon Eastern and Every Sunday at 2pm Eastern or catch his hundreds of vides on Youtube.

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