Close this search box.

Have You Questioned What You’re Most Ashamed of?

Nothing seems to cause such darkness as shame.

The Work Is About Bringing Light

When you question any stressful thought, it’s like you’re shining a light on a darkened area. And the light you shine on it is none other than the light of your own awareness.

Life will show you exactly which areas still remain in darkness. There’s no need to search for them. Life will show you what is left.

If there is some shame sitting in your mind and heart, life will bring it to your awareness in the hopes that you can neutralize the darkness by exposing it to the light.

It Helps if You’re Doing The Work Frequently

Then your skills of self-inquiry are ready when the big ones show up.

Most of the time shame-filled thoughts come in the form of self-judgments. Self-Judgments can be harder to hold if you’re new to The Work. You may want to work with a facilitator to hold you in your work.

I find that a very slow approach is helpful when working on shame.

First Identify What Exactly You Are Ashamed of

I find it very helpful to pinpoint a time and place.

I remember working with a client who was an emergency responder. He had completed hundreds of responses, but felt deeply ashamed about one where he had failed.

The concept he worked was, “I failed.” We must have spent an hour just questioning that thought. Slowly answering how he reacted at the time, and how he continued to react since then. And exploring who he would be without the thought. And turning it around and allowing lots of time for examples to surface.

Slowly It Settled In

He started to see that he had done his very best in the situation. It was simply an impossible situation.

But he had to discover it for himself. I witnessed his slow process of opening. Opening to his own innocence.

And when he got it, everything shifted. What had been a solid part of his life was crumbling and falling away.

He was no longer ashamed.

And once he truly saw it, it was done. His heart opened, his mind opened, and his energy came back.

To stay.

This Is the Power of Questioning Shameful Thoughts

But it takes time. You can’t rush it.

Like any time when you’re doing The Work, you can’t stop when the intellect gets it. The only time things shift is when you allow yourself enough time and space for the heart to get it.

That’s why doing The Work is about asking and waiting. Waiting for the heart to find its truth.

Have a great week,

“It’s like diving. Keep asking the question and wait. Let the answer find you. I call it the heart meeting the mind: the gentler polarity of mind (which I call the heart) meeting the polarity that is confused because it hasn’t been investigated. When the mind asks sincerely, the heart will respond. Many of you will begin to experience revelations about yourself and your world, revelations that can transform your whole life, forever.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is.

If you like this article, feel free to forward the link to friends, family or colleagues. Or share the link on Facebook or other social media. If you have thoughts you’d like to share about it, please leave your comments below.

Get two new articles about The Work of Byron Katie every week. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.