Our inner shadow works very much like our external shadow. When mass amount of light is shown on a subject matter, it is bound to create a dark pal to go along with it. This can be perceived like the "good angel" and the "bad angel" that sit on your shoulders in a cartoon movie. They symbolize the two integral parts of ourselves that are begging to be acknowledged and fed.
These two integral aspects of self can be called duality; because we cannot have a full spectrum experience of lightness without first having experienced the depths of darkness. In other words, there is no goodness to be experienced without badness to compare it to.
Our conscious mind is the light - the things we think about and are actively aware of in our day to day lives.
Our subconscious mind is the shadow - the things we don't even realize we think about, the things we are unaware of (that exist within us nonetheless.)
The problem with the shadow isn't that it exists. The problem is that the subconscious mind still plays a role in manifesting our realities whether we are aware of it or not.
This guide will assist you in acknowledging your own shadow so that you can begin integrating even the darkest parts of your being into your truest nature or light-body.
This will allow for your external world to more accurately reflect back to you what you desire as opposed to the dark, frightening and illusive world we currently perceive; which happens to be a world manifested almost entirely by ego and shadow aspects of self.
One of the first things you may ask yourself is "how did my shadow come to be in the first place?" and the answer is simple.
As a child, the words and actions we took that received negative feedback from the people and things in our environment are some of the first things that regress to the shadow, fracturing the beings of light we were born as.
Shame, guilt, fear, hatred. These are all shadow side emotions put on the back burner to be dealt with later. I say "to be dealt with later," because you can't run from the human shadow forever. Eventually, it will catch up with you. This is a pivotal moment for many people because they are faced with a choice: become aligned with your truth or live within the confines of a false reality for the rest of this life time on Earth.
To deny our shadow aspects is to intentionally deceive ourselves and others.
Carl Jung said it best when he said "There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.”
Ignoring your shadow is a perilous act because, as I have mentioned, you do not need any amount of awareness of your shadow for it to be active and dominant in your relationship with the world outside of yourself. Remaining unconscious of the shadow allows strain to be put on every relationship you have on Earth, including the one you have with yourself.
Typically, the qualities we deny in ourselves are the qualities we see clearly and easily despise in others. This is an egotistical projection because our egos do not want to admit that this bothersome quality also exists within us.
Awareness is the key to all things in spirituality, especially integration or transcendence of shadow aspects.
The best thing we can do for themselves is to start looking at ourselves truthfully even, and especially, when it is hard to do so. Doing this will improve our relationships on all levels and allow for a clearer perception of the world, increasing your physical and mental health and activating the vital life force energy that animates us; ultimately enhancing our human experience as a whole.
TIPS FOR SHADOW WORK:
1. center yourself.
this can be as simple as finding a clean, calm and intuitive space where inner work can be done without distraction or judgement.
2. cultivate love and compassion for yourself.
the Buddhists call this practice "Maitri." before ripping through the darkness, remind yourself that you are okay with whatever you find there. remind yourself that you are a being of love and compassion. showing this to yourself first can and will make all the difference.
3. cultivate self awareness.
as I said earlier, awareness is key. you must be able to self reflect with nonjudgmental detachment so you can see yourself for who you truly are and work on becoming who you're meant to be. mindfulness meditations (guided or otherwise) can be an incredibly useful tool for awareness cultivation.
4. be honest with yourself.
honesty and integrity are the current existing prerequisites for shadow work. you must be able to see the unpleasant qualities within yourself to ever be able to make a permanent and lasting change in your life. it is uncomfortable at times but learning to sit in that discomfort will allow for optimal growth.
5. keep records of your discoveries.
keeping track of your progress will allow you to look back and see where you started vs where you are now. when you disown a part of yourself, it may not be easily located and accessed. writing things down may assist in the decoding of the shadow as well as the deprogramming of the ego - creating space for your authentic light to shine through.
SHADOW WORK EXERCISES:
1. track your emotional reactions.
watch how you react to certain stimuli, words or actions.
2. engage in inner dialogue.
ask yourself questions. lots of questions. you may be surprised by what you find.