Owning Your Shadow
Being a student of life I’ve been observing, studying and questioning other people and my many selves for decades. It’s become my profession and my obsession. After studying thousands of books, attending as many classes and interacting with tens of thousands of people I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us have no real understanding of who or what we are, where we’ve come from, where we’re going, why we’re here and how to care. We think we’re separate entities disconnected from the whole and that our little ego self is the be all and end all of us.
We spend most of our days trying to live up to some mythical pie in the sky, some fantasy about who’s better, most cool, savvy, smart, wealthy, powerful, best dressed, and a thousand other inconsequential things. We make value judgements about all this, ourselves and others based on some arbitrary standard by people who are wrapped up in the same illusions and play the same narcissistic and soul deadening games. We live in the shadow lands of our psyche while thinking we’re in the light. We think we’re free when we’re actually slaves to our own ignorance.
Notice that I’m saying “We” not you because I too have been and continue to be caught by the mind parasites that infect us all. I too am part of this global unconsciousness that continues to lead us into more darkness and destruction. I too rail against the storm rather than wake up to my part in this madness. Fortunately however I’ve stepped off the pace from time to time over these many decades to observe rather than participate. Every time I retreat from the fray, the clarity of the collective shadow becomes more intense which forces me to ‘wake up‘ again.
The reality of life is that no matter how far you travel you can never get away from yourself. Your shadow follows you everywhere and trips you up when you don’t have it in view. Reflect on the last time you had a disagreement with someone. They were obviously wrong and you were right, right? That’s the way you saw it and you were also righteously indignant that ‘they’ could be so stupid. Yes? Each of you were projecting your shadow onto the other and not owning it. What if you would have stopped, dropped into your True Self, let go, smiled and said thank you?
When we own our own darkness we begin to see how we’re caught in this narcissistic play of Me, Me, Me to the exclusion of You, We and Thee. Without owning our own shadows we perpetuate the darkness. As we continue to see ourselves as isolated cells rather than integral parts of the wholeness of creation we perpetuate the illusion that we can do whatever we want with no consequences. Here the exploitation of each other and creation marches on into oblivion for us all. In the midst of the darkness we think we’re in the light and nobody wins.
When we withdraw our projections on others, see our own shadow selves and embrace the contrasts, we awaken to a whole new reality. We begin to recognize our own wounds, our own isolation and desire for being and belonging. We discover the Essence in ourselves, others and the whole of creation. We slow down and rather than trying to prove ourselves we begin to love the whole of who we are, darkness and light. We become more calm, more compassionate and more caring for the whole rather than just our tiny part. Competition turns into cooperation.
We live in a time of great change and It’s up to each of us to be willing to look deeply into our own souls to see the harm and help we’re bringing with every thought, word and action. From over two thousand years ago Lao Tzu speaks: “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is negative in yourself. Truly the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” This begins when we ‘wake up’ to our darkness and light. What do you say?
- Each of us was born into Life’s original blessings. As you meditate, become aware of the blessings wherever you look. Learn to appreciate the beauty, the contrasts, the benevolence of the Great Creating in yourself, others and the whole of creation.
- When you find yourself in conflict with yourself, another or circumstances, stop and drop into your heart of hearts. Breathe in compassion, understanding and deep love. Send it into the world for all sentient beings. Know you are part of the greater whole and make a difference.
- In the midst of your darkness visualize the light. Let it radiate into the darkness and create something wonderfully new and remember, home is where your compassionate heart is.