On Shadow

All light casts a Shadow. Part of the makeup of a Human Being is that we have varying aspects of personality and character. Some of these we tend to judge as “positive” and others are negative. 

The Shadow is the wounded or hidden part of our unconscious that we project out into the world. Everyone has one, and the degree to which it is active in our lives depends on many factors. However one thing is for certain: the more we deny and try to hide our shadow, the more it runs our life. When we begin to be conscious of our unconscious tendencies, and approach our shortcomings and “negative” tendencies with love, compassion and grace, life improves greatly. 

In my own life, I have been on a spiritual journey for almost 25 years. Starting from the time I was a teenager, I began the pursuit of higher consciousness; reading and learning everything I could about various spiritual topics from different traditions. Since I was a child I read my Mom’s yoga books, tried to meditate and was always fascinated by this idea that there was more to life than meets the eye. I have learned a lot from my studies, travels and search for higher consciousness.

However, I have learned as much, perhaps even more from my Shadow. I have gone through numerous periods in my life where I existed deeply within my Shadow self, journeying to places in the physical and spiritual realms that almost cost me my mind, my gifts, and my life. Although incredibly difficult, these experiences deeply shaped me and have given me extraordinary compassion and insight into the human condition. 

Various spiritual traditions are filled with the symbology of the transmutation from darkness to light. The lotus flower, the epitome of enlightenment in the Eastern traditions grows in the mud. A diamond, symbol of Vajra or highest knowledge in the East is formed by a lump of coal that transforms into a shining jewel under pressure. 

We are here to shine our light but in order to do so, we must acknowledge our own shadow. If we can learn to know and love our shadow it transforms us. If we hide it and deny it, it can and will eventually destroy our lives, relationships and reputation. Part of the collective evolution of humanity is demanding now that we shine the light on our shadows, to bring the truth of the whole into our awareness so we can see that we are and have been all things. This is how we will develop true compassion and unconditional Love for one another, and this is our collective purpose. 

“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to life in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.”

  • – Debbie Ford 

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