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The Tiger's Mouth Blog: Sense of Shame

Reflections on the 8 Virtues

Sense of Shame

Conscientious – Cognizant of shameful action and avoiding it


Practicing the Taoist Tai Chi® arts diligently nourishes the harmony of my body-heart-mind. When I am less diligent in my practice my overall state of wellbeing is affected and the quality of my personal relationships deteriorates. My inner world affects the world around me. By being aware of my impact on my environment, I can cultivate sibling harmony and thus develop my sense of shame. The eighth of the eight virtues is nurtured by the other seven.

The idea of treating others as you wish to be treated captures my understanding of the virtue of the sense of shame. For me, this is acting according to my conscience. 

Like a finely tuned barometer, the sense of shame is a signal that can lead to transformation. When I become aware of shame I know one of my behaviors must change. For example, on a few occasions, I went to apologize or to clarify certain situations that weighed heavily on my conscience. I found it better to go and talk about it rather than keep the discomfort inside me. 

When I feel present and am genuinely aware of, and connected with what is going on around me, I think I have got the sense of shame; being able to act and react with dignity and respect for myself and others. Recognizing the impact of my actions and having the humility to rectify them helps me to reconnect to my core values and become a better person. 


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