Shyness and Consciousness

Dear Editor,

The drama of shyness I experienced in my life could easily go into a book of records. As I never acknowledged it to myself, it progressed to depression, then panic attacks (which included hospitalisation due to severity of fear), social phobia, intense spiritual isolation, never having a loving partner, travelling across the globe searching for a man of my dreams, truth and God.  All I looked for around the world was love, and when I met someone I fell in love, they would only reject me because of my extreme shyness, although I am beautiful, talented and sensitive.

My shyness has crippled my whole youth. I am 25 now. This shyness is a deep mystery because sometimes it disappears from my life forever and I behave with great confidence and charisma.  A month ago I came back from India where I stayed 5 months with a holy man, my guru. He showed me the whole nature of this universe, my own true nature and the nature and origin of all human beings. He revealed to me my own divinity and oneness of the universe. I have been in Samadhi and experienced states of Self-realisation. I was given the rare understanding of the whole philosophy and practical path to the experience of Truth of oneness of humanity and divinity. I came back to this large city from India; I do not know anyone here who even had a glimpse of the same. My old friends however and memories revived the past shyness pattern from which I fled to India in the first place. With this profound knowledge of very subtle states of meditation and self-awareness, here I am, coming out of Samadhi, going on the streets, seeing a beautiful man, and feeling deeply shy.

I never wanted enlightenment, I wanted a loved one. What I found is this half-enlightenment at which I am simultaneously Absolute Consciousness and a shy woman whose love has only been rejected multiply. This is a mystery that I am to solve. I am absolutely alone now in this large city, and I have a difficulty finding friends because of this vast body of wisdom that I have.  The depth of understanding about this world is unsuitable to my age and isolates me from young people who have very different interests and intellect. I have a brain of a philosophy professor (I am saying this with bitterness as I never wanted such advancement).

I have written a book on the nature of this world and human beings the content of which is quite revolutionary. However, I told myself not to think of publishing it until my shyness stops afflicting me. But how can it stop, if even seeing my own divinity does not break the mind’s pattern?

I am writing to you to share this mystery of my experience. I do not know what to do.  If I was not so shy, I could easily teach meditation and Jnana yoga, the direct path to self-realisation. but before I went to India, here in America  my experiences of talking in front of a group have been extremely traumatic  and the wounds of all love rejections appeared as an iceberg without an end  to remind me of all the self-inadequacy I have experienced.  I know and I see that the Self of which I feel inadequate and embarrassed is none less that Absolute Consciousness, God himself, who is one and the same in all beings, and yet the pattern came back because it has never found a solution before.  My spiritual master is in India. I feel very much in distress.  With your level of expertise on this subject, what would you recommend?

With love

05-28-2001

14 Comments

  1. You are searching and will find an answer to the mystery of shyness which will be uniquely yours. I am happy to share my experiences and learning, some of which may resonate with parts of you. My style is to write what comes up for me as I read your letter, so in essence I will be writing of what is true for me which will not necessarily be true for you although my experience may give you some ideas and insights for your own journey. To me, personal experience is the best way to communicate about deep and personal matters such as shyness as it is important to recognize that each of us is unique.

    My Life
    I too have had incredible moments of knowing the truth and powerful experiences of being fully present, yet felt that all this knowledge and experience was not helping me get what I really wanted, a relationship, so at times even I questioned and discounted the knowledge and experience gained saying to myself “If all you think you know is true, why is that you cannot create what millions of other people do, a relationship?”

    I decided to give 100 percent to getting what I wanted in life. One step was to move away from my parents, work, and most friends and move from the east coast to the west coast where I knew only three people, all of which were very supportive in my wanting to change. Carlos Castaneda writes about the importance of “losing your sense of personal history” and I have found his words to be true. It is difficult to change around people who know you a certain way — they don’t accept the changes and you feel odd behaving differently — patterns are locked in resisting change.

    The move to the west coast was the hardest thing I have ever done. Things seemed to get only worse and worse until eventually I had no choice but to seek help. This was the first time in my life that I sought help, and looking back, was a turning point. I began seeing a Somatic Psychologist who practiced Hypnotherapy and for the first time in my life, began really feeling. Seeing her for what I described as my insecurity, she led me to discover the unconscious and the source of much truth and wisdom. For the first time in my life, I had a way to find out what was going on with me and to experience feelings so powerful I thought they would tear me apart but instead provided insight.

    Back East my searching had lead me to meditation where I learned I was more than my mind. Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy gave me a way to access the parts of me that were beyond the mind (higher self, inner judge, inner child, etc.). I began taking more risks in order to have a relationship, but the harder I tried, the farther away a relationship seemed. I fell in love with someone who did not love me (a pattern in my life) and felt driven to “healing” myself so that they would love me. If women came too close, I ran away because I was afraid of being hurt (but did not realize I was running). More knowledge and truth had still not helped me in having a healthy, real relationship. I shifted my focus to learning more about myself and life and at the same time, kept an eye out for a relationship.

    I attended Dan Millman’s “Courage Training” seminar where I learned the power of conscious breathing. While I knew the power of breath to lead one into a meditative state, I was thrilled to learn that conscious breathing allowed one to face the fears in the normal waking state. The wisdom that “it is not possible to feel fear while you consciously breathe” allowed me to face my fears of speaking before a group, asking for a phone number, and going on dates.

    Still going on 100 percent dedication to my goal of having a relationship I simultaneously sought spiritual and psychological wisdom. I took every class and seminar I could find that could possibly help me. I attended a one week “Masters Training” by Alan Cohen in Hawaii the thrust of which was that we are all talented, spiritual beings deserving of the best that life has to offer. I bought and read every book I felt could even remotely help. I took NLP training which deepened my interest in hypnosis. I took Avatar training which teaches that our beliefs create our reality. I began studying hypnosis through a certified school. Surrounded by loving and supportive people I learned more but was still stuck. I took a cutting edge Relationship class (even though I had no relationship) from a couple who were Arica followers which was really excellent. On video tape I was asked how I saw myself 5 years from then — I surprised myself by saying that I would be married and have a child.

    So I did everything year after year — sparing no expense — fearlessly (because I was so motivated) yet nothing changed. I could not think of one other thing to do, so I stopped. I told myself that I had done everything I could and much more than I have ever heard of anyone doing. I learned a lot, but there was still no mutually compassionate and loving relationship in my life. I did the only thing I could do at this point, I gave up. I accepted that I would live my life alone. A peacefulness come over me as I truly knew I had done all I could (I was in my late thirties at this point).And slowly things began to change. Some “normal” dates (fun with no fear). I had a girlfriend for a brief time. Some lapses back into fear. Some recurring issues surfaced yet somehow I was different, I was stronger and able to say to another person “This is me!” and no longer accept their judgments and opinions.

    Now I am married to someone I met on a business trip in Hungary (a true soulmate) and have a one year old daughter. What I learned along the way I think that one of the most important lessons for me so far is best described by the Dalai Lama in “The Art of Happiness” as Honesty. He speaks about honesty as an antidote to issues of self-esteem and shyness. All the covering up we try to do hide our shyness only makes it more prevalent. When I saw Elaine Aron, author of “The Highly Sensitive Person” speak, she began her talk with “I’m always shy and nervous at first, but don’t worry — after a while I get more comfortable…” which endeared her to the entire audience because it was totally honest and everyone could relate to how she felt speaking to the group. Books about public speaking would advise one to not disclose their discomfort, yet in the proper setting; disclosing who you really are greatly impacts the audience. In my own experience, I have found that when I am comfortable with my own shyness and quietness, others are as well. The Dalai Lama also speaks of looking at your potential as a motivating force. When you have something meaningful to share with others, you can access other parts of yourself that do not have the issue of shyness.

    I also learned the importance of belief. I spent years feeling sorry for myself believing I had gotten some bad breaks but feeling sorry for myself did not accomplish a thing. I now believe that each of us chooses our parents, our basic personality, talents, and life issues in order to best learn what we need to learn and to best contribute to other’s learning. We are divine and can access divinity from our physical form and we are here working out issues that will enhance our evolution. It does appear that while we can access much universal knowledge, we are blocked from accessing directly that which would prevent us from true learning (because learning through experience is wisdom).

    The book “Journey of Souls” by Michael Duff Newton helped me to understand why it is that we come to this plane and also to see that we come in small groups agreeing to help each other. As alone as we sometimes feel, the truth is that there are also others here to help you and for you to help. Another lesson was that “The Truth is Within”. The more I sought answers outside myself and the more I hoped to meet someone who could “heal” me the more discourage I became. The more I met people, who showed me tools such as hypnosis to allow me to ask answers of myself, the more encouraged I became.

    I encourage you. I encourage you to continue to solve the mystery of your shyness and to see shyness not as an enemy, but as a guide and motivator. You have the ability to solve the mystery which will help you and many others. I encourage you to write and publish and to speak with those interested in your knowledge. I encourage you to share your story with others, even though the solution to the mystery appears elusive. I encourage you to explore the issues of shyness toward men and fear of speaking to groups (first memories, early experiences, and recurring experiences).

    I greatly appreciate your sharing your story with me and would enjoy further communication.

  2. Dear Kevin,

    Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. It is indeed very useful and appreciated. I feel much better now. It was a little crisis, so I wrote to you.

    I opened a book written by my guru and read this:

    “If you have darkness is your room, you can pray day and night for it to go away, it will remain. You can try to expel this darkness by charms and magic and call all sorts of exorcists. The darkness will remain. You can curse it or cry hysterically, whatever your reaction to it will be, it will remain. To expel the darkness forever, you need to turn the light on!”

    How easy and how profound. This is the solution that I sought. What you said is great about being honest about shyness – celebrating shyness, almost like walking around naked and being comfortable like that.

    That is it. Shyness is feeling emotionally naked. So it is about being comfortable about your “nakedness”. Is not it?

    What a wonderful story about your success. May I ask you if both of you married actually out of mutual love and attraction? My parents married because both were very vulnerable and alone in this world. Did you actually marry out of love? That is inspiring.

    That is what I wanted to find, stories of similar people that are real incidents of success after so much failure and negative experiences.

    I am very grateful to you. I would be happy to continue this virtual communication, I find it incredibly inspiring.

    Thank you again.
    Peace to your home, to your wife and child

  3. Yes I agree, “Shyness is feeling emotionally naked” is a perfect metaphor. The more you are comfortable with your shyness, the more you can participate in life. Sometimes shyness will try to stop you from doing what you want and other times it will be conspicuously absent. The wonderful thing is that part of you is able to observe what is going on; listen to the shyness; sometimes follow its advice and other times listen to different parts of you.

    I am so happy that you appreciate how honesty relates to shyness as acquiring this wisdom really helped me.

    Yes, my wife and I married out of mutual love, attraction, and passion (neither of us would have it any other way). At the time we first met, we both were in relationships which then suddenly ended. At the time of our second meeting some months later, we were both open to getting to know each other —slowly at first. Ours is a true love story of soulmates finding each other across continents, cultures, and generations (my wife is much younger – yet wiser than her age). I traveled only three times to Hungary with each trip being less than 3 weeks and worked the entire time. The odds of us meeting, getting to know each other, dating, and getting married were minuscule yet odds cannot keep soulmates apart!

    Your writing is wonderful — clear, intelligent, deep, and descriptive. It is a pleasure to communicate with you.

  4. I am making some progress. I found a job and decided to face all possible anxieties in the real life environment. Exposure therapy is the only one that is effective.

    On the first day I was very much confused and went to a speakeazy clinic which only worsened my instability. I do not think that social anxiety groups like that are efficient.

    Shyness results from feeling yourself to be deeply flawed or wrong in something, so by learning to feel good and positive in yourself, it should help. But in this group, I felt like “picking up” somebody’s phobia or fear.

    It was a group of people who really intensely disliked themselves and this issue of self-hatred was not addressed, but instead their symptoms (behavior) was addressed, not the cause (self-hatred).

    So I felt much worse after that group, stressed out and nervous. I did not sleep all night and I thought I would not have energy to go to work and face the rising anxiety.

    Then in the morning (without sleep) I fell into a deep meditation and got up with a determination to go and have the anxiety as much as there is to have.

    As my master says to me:

    “Stop thinking start fearing”

    So I went and what I discovered is that although in the beginning I felt very uncomfortable, I saw how many people felt the same. People really live with anxiety, I think every second person has social anxiety, all have it, all are vulnerable, and so I am not unique at all. That was a great relief.

    So I will keep going to this work (which requires good communication skills) and keep trying and failing, trying and succeeding. That is what I decided, no phobia groups, they do not help, they are unnatural. The world itself is the biggest phobia group so we should practice in natural settings.

    These are just some thoughts…
    Peace to you

  5. Life in the real world, that is wonderful! You are right, so many people are anxious, yet when we are in our own shy/anxious world, we cannot see others anxiety — only our own. You have broken free, and can see being anxious is a common state.

    Being able to observe is a great skill, one often taken for granted.

  6. I realised lately that positive thinking can create miracles. For example, when shyness is seen as divine, there is no necessity to fight it anymore; it becomes a sweet part of life. This is what I try to attain. Trying to eradicate shyness is impossible. It can only be transformed into a divine quality, because it is such. So whenever I feel vulnerable now, I affirm to myself that this is the only source of my power, and shyness itself is a solution to shyness.

    So I am handling work and business meetings quite well thanks to this understanding.

    What is still left is my romantic life which I have postponed to look at until now. I know that Searching for love does not work because I tried it. I know what works is personal magnetism alone but it is elusive. Sometimes I have it sometimes not. I like Louise Hay very much, her videos are very encouraging. However, I am still puzzled as to how to approach this most wounded theme in my life.

    It is not easy to mend a black hole like I have in my memory, but I have faith and I will try. I thank you sincerely for your support.

    Would you say you have overcome your shyness or you have fallen in love with it and let it live within you? Does it still afflict you?

    All the best

  7. I would say that I have transformed shyness. The shyness within me IS, there is nothing I can do about it but I can do something about behaviors usually associated with being shy. I separate shyness as a feeling and shyness as a behavior. I can control behavior. I cannot control feeling.

    I really dislike the words “overcome” and “conquer” as used on self-help book titles as I think they mislead the reader.

    Yes, I still have shy and sensitive feelings and at the same time, I can observe them and choose an appropriate response. I may choose to ignore them and act anyway or I may choose to listen to them as a greater source of knowing.

    Yes, shyness still “afflicts” my life as like you, I am in the real world with many people who have their own issues and anxieties often coupled with little self-awareness, compassion, or sensitivity. I seek out those with similar level of self-awareness, compassion and sensitivity.

    Regarding love, I think there are two approaches:
    1) Work on relationship issues now so that you will be ready when the right person comes along.
    2) Trust that when the right person comes along, your issues will not matter.

    I think both approaches are valid. I chose to work on my relationship issues before meeting the right person and when I did meet the right person, the issues went away because I felt good about myself as I had done everything I could and because the person I met did not trigger these issues — things just felt good (fun and excitement combined with warmth and compassion).

    I must say that I am a believer in soulmates. I believe that we come into this plane as small groups agreeing to help each other and that we all somehow help each other to meet the people we are destined to meet.

    There is no way I could have planned to meet my wife; the odds were totally against it. She lived in a different country and in a small town, spoke a different language (and a little English), and was much younger.Yet somehow the wheels were set in motion and we met and recognized each other as soulmates.

    While I did consciously let go of the idea of ever getting married, part of me must have known that I would meet my soulmate later in life, after I had learned some valuable lessons. I was never tempted to settle for someone I was not in love with.

    Love is not something we can control; we can only be open and ready to receive and give love.

  8. I have to say that Grace is so available to all of us; it is always in abundance to offer help and love… I was on workshop of Alan Cohen of whom I read on your site. It was titled “freeing the fire within, discovering passion and purpose in life” at Omega Institute…

    I never thought that these empowerment techniques work. They do. They really do.

    I was tremendously inspired and filled with love and faith. I also felt support because I met people who went through very similar experiences as me. Beautiful spiritual people…

    I feel very relaxed now about finding love. Alan said that the law of manifestation that is materializing your thoughts is made up of two elements: desire and belief.

    I now see that my belief was proportionally negative to my desire. Something happened at this workshop so a new belief appeared. And this faith makes me feel attractive, how amazing…

    I now see what happened why I had all these states of high consciousness yet felt inhibited with people. We have 4 bodies: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. So my spiritual master really transformed the spiritual and left the other 3 up to me to mend myself.

    It is an exciting time in my life. I see an enormous change taking place.

    We are love made out of love loving love and attracting love. The world is a reflection of our thoughts and intentions. So anything can be made out of anything.

    I thank you for your beautiful web site. It is blessed and so are you and your world.

  9. Alan Cohen is an inspirational healer and wonderful writer and story teller. I attended the Mastery Training in Hawaii years ago and it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

  10. Thank you for your support.

    This Sunday I started training to be a yoga teacher. I think this occupation will force me to stand in front of people and talk, so my stage fright would have to adjust to this new condition.

    The assistant teacher in my yoga training class however has become to me more than source of information on the subject. He is this divinely attractive young man. He is clearly attracted to me too, but as I act uneasy and nervous, I do not know how to allow him to approach me. It is difficult for me to speak in class because I get so self-conscious before him.

    How to feel good about myself while in his presence? I get tongue tied. How to expand instead of contracting like this? He is gorgeous, decent and is into the same thing that I am–Indian spirituality.

    He is my teacher though, so how does one act in such circumstances? My experience in realm of relationships is not a good compass. I was good at ruining every possibility I had in the past.

    It all comes down to: “How do I enjoy and feel good and easy about myself with him and how can I attract this man?”

    Can you suggest anything?

    With warm regards

  11. Perhaps you have already attracted him and need to do nothing except be present. Continue showing up to class and see what happens. He may ask you to coffee/tea. If not, you could speak of a concert, author who is giving a talk or something else that you may be mutually interested in and see if he suggests that you go together.

    I think every person and place has different ethics regarding the student/teacher relationship. It could be that as a rule he does not go out with students … as we know, some rules were meant…

    Feeling good and easy about your self will come in time. Now, go with whatever you are really feeling (because we can’t change our feelings). Shyness, awkwardness, and nervousness can be quite charming in someone to whom we are attracted.

  12. I have in mind forming a support group for young shy people who are spiritual. By spiritual I mean those living or pursuing path of personal transformation, meditation, eastern philosophy, states of high consciousness and mystical experiences. This group will be in a large City. Where would you recommend me to post this message?

    My whole life I suffered isolation for being “other worldly”, seeing and sensing things that normal people would not, it is this gift that caused me to withdraw within.

    The purpose of this group would be support and mutual encouragement for people who live on this “higher frequency” to adjust and function in the reality outside. Also to mutually help each other to transform limitations to freedom.

    You know, I mentioned to you this yoga teacher in my yoga training. I have to be honest with you. It is this golden chance that I am blowing again. This man likes me, but I get tongue-tied and so nervous that he avoids speaking to me so as not to make me feel so uncomfortable. I really really like him. He is just the man I was looking for, decent and attractive and really working to transform himself and sensitive. And I just get this rollercoaster of anxiety, yesterday it felt like a panic attack. I cannot believe it is happening with me. I thought I was so advanced in meditation and spiritual development, yet I missed the most important part of life–learning how to be an attractive woman. It is a very sad situation. He comes up to me, starts speaking, and my voice trembles, I cannot look at him, my hands shake and I am losing it. I am amazed myself. Perhaps it is happening because I do not go out, so I do not have practice in interacting with men for a long time.

    Now I know I look great, I look very attractive, but I do not feel attractive. It is amazing. 1 year of meditation and celibacy, and I feel like a 12 year old girl. Dear Kevin, today this yoga teacher went for lunch with this other student girl who asked him, and he turned and looked at me. He likes me, I know. But he does not want to traumatise me, because that is how i feel when I talk to him. I run short of breath and go into anxiety trip.

    Unbelievable.

    I wish to form a support group. I also think that my devotion to God has been unnecessarily escapist. My guru in India has shown to me that all 6 billion people are one God walking around in many bodies. So, we are God. There is no God in heaven. Yet I am still habitually devotional to something outside myself…

    Sorry for this outpour of emotions. Somehow, I really appreciate your understanding. You are a compassionate, sensitive soul. I thank you.

    I vowed today before myself that the goal of my life is not enlightenment, but instead solving this shyness and building a loving relationship with a man. I feel so sad about this yoga teacher. What can I do, I do not know yet. I will seek and seek and seek.

    With appreciation

  13. …or perhaps you will find some “enlightenment” through solving your shyness and building a loving relationship with a man. I know it is hard now. You may feel like a first grader in an adult education class – so be it because that is the way it is right now.

    Wishing and hoping it were different will not help.

    Trying to hide the way you are will not work. What will work is honesty and being present. Constantly bring yourself to the present moment. Who he went to lunch with yesterday does not matter. Where you would like to go tomorrow does not matter. Bring yourself to the present moment by listening, seeing, touching, feeling, and tasting what is around you now. What is happening now is also one of the best topics of conversation — and can lead to real intimacy. “I’m feeling a bit (awkward, shy) now” or “it takes me a while to be comfortable” is honest and real.

    …and then there is the ego/mind to deal with. Now the ego/mind is telling you that “you should already know how to act with a man” and “this is THE chance” and “I’m blowing it again”. The real work is dealing with the ego/mind. The ego/mind lives in the past and the future and is totally out of touch with what is really happening. You need to be in the present and the only way to get there is through learning to tame the ego/mind… and you have already done a lot in this direction through your meditation.

    Can you see what your ego/mind is doing? “He is just the man I was looking for, decent and attractive and really working to transform himself and sensitive.” “He is perfect” the ego/mind may say. These are imaginations, projections, and hallucinations of the ego/mind – they may be true or false.

    The only way to find out if they are true is to check them out with reality — the present –what is really going on. The danger with the imaginations, projections, and hallucinations is twofold:
    1) They are all in the mind and therefore out of touch with reality
    2) They can lead to be paralyzed by your own thoughts as the imaginations, projections, and hallucinations grow

    Sure, part of you may be picking up something very real, so check out everything with reality. If you find this difficult, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be of help.

    Don’t make him a god — or another way is to see that you are a god also. And don’t let the ego/mind beat you up should things not work with this guy. If things were meant to be then really, you can’t mess them up (just keep showing up).

    Regarding starting your own group, you can post information about a support group to alt.support.shyness and the Therapy and Coaching forum on Shy and Free. Other than that, I don’t really know the best places. I believe that there are many people who are shy who are also seeking spiritual growth, yet in the thousands of people that have visited Shy and Free in the last several years, I have communicated directly with two – so perhaps you can find new and different channels.

  14. I attended this seminar on Sedona Release Method. I feel supremely aligned, an amazing experience. In class I was standing alone before 30 people speaking so freely with such confidence and power. This is unbelievable.

    The idea of this method is that what you think is your limit is a lie, you never had any problem. Because our nature is happiness, unhappiness is a lie.

    Instead of spending time trying to fix the problem that is not there in the first place, all that is needed is to release this belief in the existence of a problem.

    Example of that is my fear of speaking before people. I mentioned it to you before. It was always very acute. But today it was gone. Because I believed that this fear is a lie, limit is an illusion and I am limitless. I release this belief in a limit and it evaporates. I believe and it becomes so.

    I will try to apply this to my situation with the yoga teacher. I now know that my desire for him, my lack of him which created anxiety in the first place is a lie. I can only give love, because I am love itself. I can not lack love because I am the very source of love. So i can only give love. The very lack of love that I felt so acutely was a lie; lack is made out of abundance. Both a storm and a calm sea are made out of water. It is the same water that makes up a violent storm and a calm still sea. Anxiety is made out of peace. Peace is all there is. Polarity arises out of neutrality. + and – , good and bad arise out of the same infinity that is within.

    Anxiety is made out of calmness. Lack of love is made out of love.

    I will apply this new understanding to my romantic situation and will write to you. I already see, the lack of this man which gave rise to desire was an illusion that now I am somehow incomplete. It is a lie. As consciousness, I am all there is. I will live from this and see how it works. It is truth so it must work.

    Lack is a lie. The universe is made out of love and abundance. So shyness is an illusion.

    It cannot be solved because it does not exist. It is a lie. Shyness is made out of limitless freedom. Infinite love veils into shyness, it is a puzzle. Limitlessness pretends to be a limitation. God pretends to be human.

    I believe it so it is.

    Mantra

    “I approve of my every action.
    I approve of my every thought.
    I approve of my every sensation.
    I became human to I give love to all I see.
    I approve of my life.
    I approve of you.
    I approve of the course of events.
    I approve of all living beings, this planet, the universe.”

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