What is the shadow of a person? Every person on earth has one. I’m not talking about the dark figure you see on the ground when you walk into the sunlight. I’m talking about our shadow selves. The self we have hidden from everyone including ourself. Remember as kid how you would try to out run your shadow on the ground. Well as adults we are trying to out run our shadow selves. As a kid we could never do it and as an adult it’s just as useless.
What is our shadow? Our shadow is the part of us that has been suppressed. We are all born whole. Whatever culture or family we grew up in we were told that doing something was wrong. We were taught what is good and evil, right or wrong, true or false. As we got older we were made fun of or corrected by others in society. We hid those things to fit in. We have been dividing ourselves our whole life. We push those into our unconscious and they are composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions and embarrassing fears. These are often described as our darker side or shadow representing the wild, chaotic and unknown.
The darker traits we all posses accumulate hidden in our unconscious mind. The more emotion that was behind them when we hid them the deeper we put them. We never see our split state, so we never bring them to the surface to consciously deal with them. Not only does not confronting our shadow bring depression, but it can make our inner monsters manifest. Our shadow is not all darkness it happens to be the source of our greatest creative energy.
“What we call civilized consciousness has steadily separated itself from the basic instincts. But these instincts have not disappeared. They have merely los their contact with our consciousness and are thus forced to assert themselves in an indirect fashion. This maybe by means of physical symptoms in the case of neurosis, or by means of incidents of various kinds, or by unaccountable moods, unexpected forgetfulness or mistakes in speech…modern man protects himself against seeing his own split state by a system of compartments. Certain areas of outer life and his own behavior are kept, as it were, in separate drawers and are never confronted with one another.” – Carl Jung
The biggest barrier of a person’s journey toward authenticity and self-love is the repression of our negative traits and emotions. How can you accept yourself when there are parts of yourself you are too afraid to explore? How can you be authentic when the most original and creative parts of you are in the shadow that you suppress? The ancients made shadow work a priority because you must accept your shadow to be whole and a whole person is a wholly person. Religion has completely bastardized the meaning of a wholly person by making it holy. It had nothing to do with religion. Shadow work does not just apply to psychology. This world hides truth from us. Most of our history is in the shadows. You must shine the light on it in order for it to be seen. But we are too scared or too unwilling to see the truth.
Why can we not see the darker side of ourselves and the world? Everything about this world is to stay away from the bad and only see the good. Must see the positive in everyone and everything. We live in a world of duality. You can not escape it. Think positive, see and accept the light and feeling good is the goal. This is all garbage! By doing that we ignore the entirety of what it is to be human. This is all an escape to keep from being responsible for yourself and your life. I understand our darker characteristics are associated with negativity, so they are avoided out of fear. But embracing your inner darkness allows for spiritual and psychological balance which allows you to be a whole human. Denying them creates chaos and disharmony. I don’t mean to act on your darker side. Acting and indulging in the darker traits will just bring more of the darker traits. I mean to know that you are human and what you are capable of doing. Accept them. We as humans are capable of doing the most beautiful things, but we are also capable of doing terrible things. Finding an outlet for the darker traits is what brings great creativity.
New-agers will tell you to avoid the lower chakras and only use the higher chakras. The lower chakras are your foundation. Without them all the chakras would fall. Embrace your shadow side. You can’t go beyond hatred unless you admit to yourself that you have hateful feelings. Voyaging into the dark murky waters of the shadow is an acceptance of it and brings awareness and deep honesty. When we deny it we start hating in others what we hate in ourselves. We project our shadow onto others without even knowing it. What you hate in others is usually what you hate in yourself. You project it onto others so you don’t have to consciously deal with it. You are getting rid of the responsibility of dealing with it. You not only project dark things onto others, you project good things on others too. It’s why there is so much idolization of athletes, gods and Hollywood.
Our world as a whole doesn’t want to be confronted with the shadow either. We have created what is called the PC (politically correct) culture. If a person brings up something that someone does not like, that person is shamed because it does not go along with the political culture. It could be 100% true, but because it does not go along with someone else’s views and hurts their feelings it is shoved back into the shadows of the human race. Things need to be brought out into the open so people can have an intelligent discussion about it. If the information is wrong show proof. Debate it like an adult. Don’t demonize the person. If a person is bringing out ridiculous information, they will show their true colors to everyone. But if that person is brining out solid information, it will bring what has been hidden in the shadow out for others to see. Somewhere along the line we have become way to serious.
Healing does not take place in the light or darkness, it takes place where they meet or touch. The act of creation is an act of destruction at the same time. You can not have light without darkness or darkness without light. To get in touch with your shadow you must do inner work and get creative. You will find that you will quit projecting your shadow onto others. Projecting your shadow onto to others with dark elements and pressures of idolization is detrimental. You not only burden others, but you lose the opportunity to find wholeness.