Anyone who has studied the psychology of Carl Jung is familiar with the concepts of the shadow and self. Those of us who have embarked on the path of working with our shadows have become painstakingly aware of just how much of our actions are automatically performed without a second thought.
Many of us who have discovered there are entire patterns of thoughts and actions we run through automatically have gone through great lengths to stop acting unconsciously. We discover the power of the subconscious mind and make it our duty to unify the opposites within. We remind ourselves of the Hermetic Principle of Polarity and how it can be used.
It is natural to begin to restrict dark in exchange for light. To want to ignore those “filthy” parts of our unconscious thought and label the subconscious with the dirtiest word a mystic can label it; ego. Certainly, the whole purpose of shadow work must be to create a psychic shift within our subconscious, After all, isn’t it those really nasty bits whisked away into the furthest reaches of our minds that cause us the most problems?
As my meditation within the shadows evolved I came to some very uncomfortable discoveries and made all the aforementioned mistakes. The Temple within my shadow was this dark and desolate place where the temple lie in ruins and storms are constant. It was easy to look at the broken aspects of myself and call it ego.
Obviously, all of my problems could be solved if I could just bring light into this aspect of my being. Now, anyone who has ever tried to suppress their emotions can attest to just how rapidly we react to situations emotionally without acknowledging they’re there. It’s a paradox. We can’t outrun the pain and sorrow of life. In fact, the only way out is to go into it.
Funny thing is, my shadow has absolutely no quarrel with receiving divine grace and love. I watched that aspect of myself cry in the arms of Rav Yeshua for hours with a strange sort of shock on my face. Like who loves the broken? This cat is the worst of the worst and is so far beyond redemption it’s not even funny. It turns out this was one of those limiting beliefs that had shackled me.
Humankind has both the best and the worst of all existence within itself. This aspect of self I was shunning was a part of me I had cut myself off from refusing to acknowledge it hoping it would just go away. Bill Wilson explains this line of thinking in relatively simple terms we can all understand.
“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.”-12 Steps and 12 Traditions
Note the fact I called aspects of myself “the worst” and “beyond redemption.” This kind of thinking limits our growth as we carry on our daily lives with the assumption that there is a part of us that will always be just outside of grace and love.
Sprinkle in the egotistical faces we want the world to see and our shadow selves are clearly not the ego. It’s our waking minds, so controlled and perfectly poised, always concerned with how things will be perceived in the minds of others that are oozing with ego. It’s the part of us that’s all wrapped up in image and acting that needs to be placed on hold so we can look into who we really are.
Yes our shadow is broken. Yes it carries scars from a lifetime of experience for good and bad. Jung himself said “ “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself” and represents “a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well.” Diving into the depths of our being is one of the most freeing things we can do. We learn to free ourselves from our judgements and reservations. We become more compassionate when we face down just how (insert your favorite negative connotation here) our inner dialogue actually is. We become aware of our own humanity.
We will never become fast friends with our shadows enjoying delightful conversation over coffee anymore than our light will completely overcome the darkness within. That isn’t the point though. This is a matter of being aware of who and what we are capable of being and making decisions consciously. Otherwise we will just continue self sabotaging our progress and repeating the same mistakes until we catch the lessons.
Awareness. Once again, we come back to awareness. That’s all I got guys. Feel free to share this post to your hearts content. Thank you so much for reading.