Our shadows are heavy burdens to carry if we don’t integrate them.
We cannot escape our shadow – we cannot drift for too long away from who we truly are.
Because our shadow is an integral part of us. We are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional beings.
To the ego, the shadow represents the ‘uglies’. The parts we don’t want to show or admit to having.
The Insight of Carl Jung
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”
“We know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by without exciting attention, and who betray to the world nothing of the conflicts that rage within them except possibly by a nervous breakdown. What is so difficult for the layman to grasp is the fact that in most cases the patients themselves have no suspicion whatever of the internecine war raging in their unconscious. If we remember that there are many people who understand nothing at all about themselves, we shall be less surprised at the realization that there are also people who are utterly unaware of their actual conflicts.”
“New Paths in Psychology” (1912). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.425
The Wisdom of Accepting and Embracing
Once we accept and embrace ALL parts of ourselves, then we can stand in our sovereignty and in our power.
It is as simple as that.
Truth be told – I, of course, did not gracefully accept nor embrace my shadow.
No – I resisted and resisted until I was so exhausted that I just said – what the hell, I give up.
And guess what?
All my shadow parts showed up and decided to have a party.
- Manipulation and Abuse
- Judgment and Self-righteousness
I became quite still.
And the movie of how I had suppressed these embarrassing and self-sabotaging parts began to play.
Whomever abused and manipulated me – showed me how I did that to MYSELF.
Whomever judged and criticised me from a place of self-righteousness – showed me how I was MY OWN worst judge and critic.
Others will always show us what is going on in us.
But we don’t see it like that. Because it is so much more fun blaming someone else than taking responsibility for our own lives, and our entire being-ness.
Breathing into the uglies and into the truth is a way forward.
Don’t think it is Easy
It is not. Because we all want to be beautiful and perfect. We strive to uphold an image, knowing that it is only an image. So our depth, our beauty and perfection can only be fully realised when bringing our shadow home into our hearts.
Without blame or shame
The practice of yoga is a great starting point in embracing the shadow. Awareness of the following may arise at different junctures – competitiveness, narcissism, selfishness, jealousy etc etc.
But as any yogi knows, as the practice develops, unfolds and the body opens up through regular asana practice – the shadow becomes the friend instead of the enemy. And inner peace may be experienced, even just for a brief while.
When the shadow is fully accepted, it becomes as weightless as the light that it truly is.