Tonight we are going to start exploring the nature of specific defilements. I have picked “humiliation” from our list of 108 defilements. I think humiliation is the worst feeling ever. I am noticing that I also hate even typing the word or thinking about it. Goodness!!
There is a sense that I must I fix whatever wrong occurred. I think it is remarkable that simply bringing the word to mind brings up a flood of thoughts about past experiences of humiliation, very unpleasant body sensations and a lot of confusion. In contrast, embarrassment does not carry so much weight to me. Thinking about embarrassment feels lighter, almost funny. I have some thoughts showing up and body sensations but not with the level of intensity of humiliation. I can accept embarrassment without the need to change it.
Humiliation carries with it a sense of self. Humiliation is about me. It comes with a suitcase full of requirements and expectations. I must defend and/or avenge myself. It lessens me or my status. Embarrassment, however, does not carry this same baggage. It is an experience, an action, a moment in time. It does not carry the same sense of unpleasantness for me as does humiliation. This is an important distinction. When unpleasantness is attached to the sense of self we lose a lot of capacity to simply “be with”. So where is the escape – the freedom – the liberation from the suffering associated with humiliation? We will explore this tonight.