Fully owning our light requires that we also embrace knowing the shadow.
The other night, I was speaking with a colleague and we both mentioned events that we had attended recently where people claiming to be advanced spiritual beings had a dark heavy energy around them. In tracking the energy, it seemed that these people were ignoring shadow elements of themselves. The shadow, as discussed by Carl Jung, is the repressed, suppressed or disowned qualities of the conscious self. Those shadow elements must be constantly brought to the awareness. As Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
When we feel uncomfortable around other people, we are often dealing with our own projections of shadow. In other words, what we judge in others is a call for us to go deep inside and find what we are judging in ourselves. I asked my friend to help me track what work, if any was mine to do.
I found an old program running within me, that I needed to project out to the world that I was perfect, that I understood everything, that I was such a good student that “I got IT”– the big IT–the understanding of how the world works. Our egos love for us to be certain. It is so much easier to project that we know, rather than admit all the ways we don’t. I’ve written a book that talks about embracing my humanness and here I am getting a big reminder of that lesson. The universe works so beautifully, doesn’t it?
When I see people who were spiritual teachers or preachers taken down by scandal, I see people who bought into the idea that once we know a “certain truth” we are done. The minute we think we are beyond the reaches of our own shadow, we are in delusion. We can no more divorce ourselves from the subconscious shadow than we can disconnect from the shadow cast when we walk in the sunlight. Ego likes us to hold onto projections that all the “evil” is outside of us and that all we have to do is put up some sort of shield and we are protected. Ego ignores the fact, that working with our shadow is a life-long process. We all have darkness inside–the ability to hate, to want to revenge, or to want to hold onto being a victim and blame others for our lot in life. (Just a few examples of how the shadow works.) We often don’t want to embrace knowing those shadow elements because going THERE means revisiting our old wounds and directly confronting long-held fears.
As the vibration of light rises in the world, there are equal and opposing illusions of darkness that are calling for us to be more conscious of those programs running in our consciousness and the world that make that uncomfortable darkness possible. Shadow work is not something one does and then can say we’ve graduated to the light. Shadow work is a constant examining of what happens around us and within us so that we understand the complexity of our experience and find our way with love.
When we are experiencing discomfort with darkness, the first stop is to to clear the judgments, wounds and stories that have us clinging to anything less than love. How loving is it to think that I can’t be human and that I have to understand all the mysteries of the universe and be able to speak about them with authority? It’s not. What am I trying to protect? Perhaps being “found out” for being exactly what I am–human. I doubt anyone other than me is surprised that I am human! This is part of how amusing the shadow is. What we hide, when shared often receives an, “Oh I’ve got that too” response from others.
Once we have worked with and acknowledged the shadow within, the shadows outside of ourselves become much easier to deal with. We all have a dark side and if we aren’t willing to own it and understand it, we cannot fully live in our light nor can we protect ourselves from the darkness outside. My shaman teachers have said those with evil intent, simply activate the shadow within you. Isn’t that the whole idea behind terrorist attacks? They are designed to activate the fear within us and then cause us to make decisions based on that fear. When we understand that shadow, those hoping to get a reaction, are sorely disappointed and have less power.
It also takes a courageous heart to go to those places within that you have disowned or labeled unacceptable. After we have done our own shadow work, we can feel compassion for those who are struggling to embrace knowing their own shadow.
What do you think? How comfortable are you with dealing with your own shadow? Do you get upset when you see others not dealing with theirs?
PS. You can read my friend, Victorea Luminary’s take away from our conversation here. She channeled some interesting information. For some the idea of dark presences in a mother ship may not resonate. I always tell people, spirit talks to each of us in metaphor we understand. My take is the more we shift to the light, the more old patterns in the culture will kick up. If we aren’t willing to see and understand that shadow, it will hover and attempt to control us. You’ve got to read it just for the the “bug zapper” protection” idea she writes about!
PPS. I’m honored to hold space for my clients as they do their shadow work. If you’d like help via phone, Skype or in person, contact me.