The Shadow, a term introduced by Carl G. Jung is the sum of everything in us that is repressed, undeveloped, unconscious and denied, including both dark rejected aspects of the self, as well as positive undeveloped potentials. Shadow Work is a deep process of psycho-emotional healing that helps to evolve through cultivating awareness and embracing the many parts of the self, aligning and integrating them through the course of spiritual and psychological growth. Everyone has a shadow. The mass consciousness of our planet does as well.
As a student of metaphysical sciences I am aware of the shadow and I take an active approach to integrating my own shadow into my consciousness. I am also aware of the shadows of others whose shadows come out to play once in awhile, often antagonizing my own and threatening the very core of my shadow integration. When this began to happen I knew that I needed to find a way to successfully handle the shadows of others, whose presence in my life is a permanent part of family relationships. Otherwise I will never be able to fulfill my desire and need to release my shadow from the shadowy depth of my being, without retreating to a remote part of the planet. Distant retreat was simply not an option. I needed to find a way to react differently to the shadows of others, with grace … more lovingly, with more acceptance and tolerance … and as I did this, I noticed that my own shadowy pieces began to heal as well.
When dealing with the shadows of others, I allow life to be my classroom. I allow their shadows to teach me about my own, by recognizing whether or not I feel judgment toward them or whether I am just observing them. When I find myself judging them, then I know that I must have the qualities that I am judging within myself somewhere. Sometimes I can recognize this … a painful process, sometimes I cannot, yet I simply continue to observe myself either way. If you want to see the nature of your shadow, If you observe something it is not a projection, but if you judge it, it is. Whether I am simply observing their shadow or observing it with judgment I remind myself of a few things in order to make peace with them, their shadows, my self and all of life … giving me the strength, conviction and courage to face their shadows without running from my own.
I first analyze my reactions to this person’s shadow, especially my first reaction. I really observe myself as though I am watching from above … recognizing that I have a shadow too, just as I recognize the shadow within them. I ask myself whether or not I am reacting from a human perspective or from the eternal perspective of the self. I remind myself of the nature of the shadow in the human experience and of the human condition that we are all a part of. I remind myself to see things from the perspective of the eternal self, releasing the other person from the responsibly of somehow negative affecting me, accepting the shadow within them … and the shadow within me. The more energy I put into accepting the shadow in them and the natural element of the human expression, the less vulnerable I feel to absorbing their shadows’ projections as my own and the less irritated I feel by my own shadow that they are reflecting. I simply let go and send love, with great compassion and spiritual understanding of the human condition. I release myself from the bondage of holding on and forgive. I remind myself often that others have a shadow, just as I do. I recognize the flaws within myself and within others … and in doing all of this, through handling and dealing with the shadows of others … I receive a great gift. I begin to heal my own shadow in the process and live my life more fully, from a greater place of love where fear has less power over my actions and true spiritual wisdom guides me. I release the resentments and accept the shadow in others, as the shadow in us all is an unavoidable and is necessary part of the human experience.
If you enjoyed this article and want to know more, visit UMS and take a look at their course and meditation on Shadow Work.