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Shenpa Is Not About Getting ‘Called Out’

click here for a free psychic reading at PsychicAccess.comA true teacher offers you a path to extraordinary personal expansion, because she has no investment in praising you in your mediocrity or dysfunction, in order to help you falsely ‘feel good,’ so you will keep coming back for more. But many people find it hard, threatening, or embarrassing, to practice shenpa, even if it is coming from a teacher that loves them enough to be sometimes more committed to their advancement than they are themselves.

Shenpa is a form of mindfulness, applied to you, so you can basically call it ‘mindful self-awareness.’  It is originally a concept in Tibetan Buddhism, meaning ‘attachment’ or a place where we become ‘hooked’ or ‘stuck.’ Pema Chödrön describes shenpa as “the urge, the hook, that triggers our habitual tendency to close down. We get hooked in that moment of tightening when we reach for relief. To get unhooked, we begin by recognizing that moment of unease and learn to relax in that moment.”

In this age of ‘victim worship,’ most people have been taught and rewarded for being or praising victims, no matter what. This approach infers that the victim is a deformed, delicate, broken porcelain object that must be treated with soft gloves. The victim is considered to be so emotionally and mentally deranged that you must coddle them, because deep down inside you don’t believe they have the resources in their own Self to recover, to grow, to self-validate.

This ultimately is a putdown… not a vote of confidence. This gives the message to the victim that they are ruined for life and therefore you will tolerate any behavior from them. This gives the subliminal message that you feel sorry for them, do not expect much, if anything from them, and also do not ultimately believe they will ever recover. They are, in your mind, and how you treat them, damaged for life. But actually they are not. Getting a scar is not brain damage!

When shenpa hooks us, we’re likely to get stuck. We could call shenpa “that sticky feeling.” It’s an everyday experience. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there ~ Pema Chödrön

Yes, there is a stage of venting, feeling the pain, telling the story, getting comforted. And then there is the start of the healing process and recovery. For more about that, read my article From Victim To Survivor To Soul Evolution. Because victim worship is currently trendy, people get addicted to their stories, and in fact many reinvent themselves as victims. They pretend to have no money, when in fact they live in a mansion and own every luxury item possible. Some don’t even have to work for a living. Others complain about having a bad spouse, when in fact the person complaining is a bottomless pit of neediness themselves and hates being told no when they want things. Or they are a horrible parent, but cry about their own childhood, instead of looking at their own parenting skills or lack thereof. The list goes on.

Self-created victims, who are adults and who are not in recovery work, become predatory. They stalk people to give them what they want, in the name of ‘needing support’ or ‘help.’ But when help is offered, which requires any effort on their part, or taking on some personal accountability, or requires some self-examination, they will complain, lash out, even attack you. You will be called mean, harsh, cruel, or even abusive!

Often so-called ‘empaths’ are indeed unrecovered victims themselves. By the way, this goes for some therapists too. Many have been wounded in childhood and become therapists as a way to ease their own pain, without doing their own recovery work on themselves.

If you have been victimized as a child, you are a psychic, end of story. The only way a child survives abuse, since they are powerless slaves of their parents, and often don’t even have language yet for what is happening to them (or any language at all) is to become incredibly psychic. This allows them to preternaturally sense danger, before it comes too close to them, and also to dissociate and leave their body when attacked.  Until they get into recovery, these kinds of ‘psychics’ and ‘empaths’ are prey… not only for the human ‘walking wounded,’ but also for spirit entities of all sorts.

The walking wounded, if not in recovery, will always, at some point, become predators – revengeful, mean, controlling and worse, will feel totally justified in doing so. People who have been victimized as a child learned that the world is populated with two kinds of people: hammers and nails. They will vacillate between acting out these two options, as this is all they know, until they are in recovery. They will ‘hustle’ you for support, pity, comfort and in general ‘getting their way.’ They hustle, manipulate, connive, people-please, lie (even to themselves), because these are the only survival skills they have learned, so far, until they take on the journey of recovery and re-education to learn new skills they don’t even know exist. Their favorite prey will be the unsuspecting, uneducated ‘empaths.’ This dance between the different versions of the unhealed walking wounded can go on for a lifetime.

Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away, or eat it away, or starve it away, or walk it away, or punch it away, or even therapy it away ~ Cheryl Strayed

Usually ‘victims’ that want to wake up, first seek out people who will soothe them, comfort them, empathize with their stories and their wounds, often for a few years, or a few decades. Unhealed empaths, with no education other than their own journey and their self-proclaimed ‘psychic gifts’ (and often unhealed therapists), work well for them at this point.

When a wounded person decides to awaken at some point, they will have to also decide to give up their victim identity. Typically, when that happens, they go into predator mode for a while (unless they quit recovery, then they will stay in predator mode for a few decades. I call them the ‘I deserve it people’). This happens in part because, while they have woken up, they have not yet learned new skills, coping skills, other than manipulating as a victim or taking as a predator. They lack communication skills, boundaries, discernment, and so much more. Also, to move away from predator mode (hammer and nail perspective) people have to start looking at, owning, taking responsibility and being accountable for their own behaviors… for all the decades since their childhood abuse or neglect.

After years of harvesting attention from their ‘stories’ unhealed victims are reluctant, to say the least, to give up this benefit and start to grow up. The predator skills of an unhealed victim are all the person knows to use to get what they want in life. And getting what they want in life is all they know to do to move forward from being a victim.

At first, challenging these skills will feel like an attack to the unhealed victim, and they will lash out with all of their underhanded, vicious, predatory energy and skills. Because childhood victims become psychic to survive, as unhealed wounded adults their psychic skills will be unleashed in predatory attacks towards anyone they feel might be threatening them (real or imagined). Unhealed ‘empaths’ and therapists do not have the skills, strength or spiritual practice to handle the blowback, or the backlash of a victim-predator (nail-hammer) who feels ‘challenged’ or threatened by having to look at their own bad behaviors – bad behaviors that must be brought to consciousness, before different choices can be learned and made.

At this point, try to set a boundary with a victim in their predatory mode and you will be attacked, made to be wrong, criticized, using their wounded psychic skills to try to wound as deeply as possible. Some will even physically threaten you. Others will use vicious gossip, try to disrupt or destroy your life, or cut you out of their life (this one is a blessing for those of you who are not trained professionals).

You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength ~  Marcus Aurelius

If you are merely a ‘civilian’ around this phase, you will have to kowtow to them, or use avoidance and placating techniques to not be attacked, destroyed, hurt by the predatory energies of the psychic walking wounded who feel ‘I deserve it, get out of my way,’ as well as all the other predatory ‘slogans’ that sell so well in our culture. Sigh. The walking wounded are attached to their victim story, and if you try to take that away, you will be attacked, and called harsh, brutal, unkind.

Try to protect yourself from this predatory backlash and you will be criticized, or attacked without mercy. If the person (walking wounded) has been in therapy with another unhealed person, or an unhealed ‘empath,’ or so-called ‘psychic,’ their victim stories and the ‘you deserve it, you should go get it’ stance will have had years of reinforcement. This will make it so much harder to move them out of the predatory phase into the beginning of real recovery, working with Source, as well as education, to learn all the alternatives, all the nuances in-between the extremes of ‘hammer and nail.’

Before you learn new social skills, other than hammer and nail, you have to wake up, look at your victim issues, and how you used people and things to get comfort, or be distracted from your wounds. Then you have to look at your own bad behaviors towards others, towards your Self, and have the courage to learn to make amends and get off your ‘I deserve it’ or ‘I am right’ high horse and start to be open to learning, to be teachable.

Finally you will be able to live with the practice of shenpa on a daily basis and it will be fun, amazing, educational. Most of all, not only will your life be filled with more joy, you will be a ‘secret agent’ helping to heal all around you, especially your family and your loved ones. As Pema Chödrön states in her article, it is almost (if not completely) impossible to practice shenpa if you do not meditate. The meditation must be silent, working with Source, not guided or musical meditations used to feel better. If you do not meditate, it will be virtually impossible to allow your teacher (if you are lucky and blessed enough to have one) to work with you and shenpa. Meditation practice can accelerate your growth, and boost and support you in your journey of healing.

I practice shenpa with my students, which is not what some might label ‘calling out, harsh, or brutal.’ Calling out is shaming and challenging, and is typically defined as making someone be accountable for their ‘bad’ behavior. People who only know hammer and nail, victim and predator, will at first label shenpa as ‘calling out.’ Shenpa means detachment. This means no longer defining yourself as a victim, or as an ‘I deserve it’ person, Shenpa means you are no longer attached to calling your predatory behaviors ‘bad.’ Now you can just look at them and decide if you still want to use them, or make other choices.

Our planet doesn’t need more successful people. Our planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers and lovers of all kinds ~ David W. Orr

Practicing and living with shenpa is fun (after you get used to it) and educational. You practice with your Self, but typically you cannot do this alone, because when you have lived with unconscious behaviors for so long, you can no longer see them, identify them. If you are lucky or blessed enough to have a practice with a teacher and a community, shenpa will also come from people who love you, and who want to love you more.

Shenpa can only come from people you have given your permission to practice shenpa with you, because you trust them, their path, their work, and you want to work through your own growth with that community, friend, teacher. You learn to laugh at your now unwanted behaviors (after all, no one is perfect) as you learn new skills, so you will have new choices, instead of your old hurtful or abusive reactive behaviors.

It is a blessing to have a teacher and a community that is committed to your evolution and your growth, who are willing to risk your potential backlash when they practice shenpa with you, and you with them.

About The Author: Nonna

Nonna lives in Southern California, and is a professor of psychology and a teacher of psychic development, energy work and meditation, who has recently finished her PhD. She has been a counselor for both humans and animals for thirty years, removing energy blocks through her expertise in the spiritual arts. She also has numerous years of study and practice with classic psychological therapeutic models, family work, twelve-step processes, nutritional and body/mind/spirit healing, complementary, alternative, and quantum medicine. Nonna is brilliant at unearthing the gems in every client's soul and polishing them to a fine finish. To release your own soul's sparkle, contact Nonna at

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