Working and illuminating the shadow
I introduce you to my shadow. It looks like this guy above, at least is the closest thing I have found on the Internet to describe it. It appeared in my meditations some time ago, when I started to work the issue of the facets of the personality, the sub-characters that make us, the characters of the ego, etc., which then resulted in the video of the talk which I called “Who is inside”, that explained a bit my experiences with the different components of the personality we have.
At the beginning, meeting with Darth Maul in a meditation was a bit frightening, I was about to take my Jedi sword and slash him in middle of a transcendental meditation, but no, he spoke to me and said clearly: “I am your shadow, and I have things to teach you”. After checking I had no bug stuck in my aura manipulating my mental body or that there was something unusual swarming about the room (just in case), I started working with it, to see what we could do together.
Carl Jung said that one does not illuminate imagining figures of light, but becoming aware of its darkness, a procedure, he said, was laborious and, therefore, unpopular. And it is not for less; to take charge of your shadow consciously and collaborate with it can be a great experience of personal growth.
What is the shadow and where is it?
The “shadow” is a character, a component of our personality, an alter-ego that constitutes and brings together the forgotten, suppressed and negative part of ourselves. Nobody wants to see it and none want to admit in public that we have it, but there is no human being who does not have one.
It begins to form very early, since we are children when we learn to repress behaviors that are not socially accepted, which our parents do not like or our environment, or we see that, if we let them express freely in the outside world they would bring us more problems than anything else. They are emotions we call negative, and patterns of behavior we must hide from ourselves to be accepted in the world because we possess traits and characteristics that have the label of “bad” and do not fit with the image everybody expects of us.
In some way, it is not our fault, because we cannot avoid it since it comes from a mental, energetic and psychic configuration which was imposed to us when we were created, and that many call the predatory mind. The dark and baroque characteristics of the predatory mind, in image and likeness to the mold from which we were made, has a distorted perception of Creation as it perceives it as hostile, while the perception of the Creation for the being that incarnates in the body we use, perceives Creation as luminous, radiant and full of love.
The duality manifested
The shadow is created by the duality of the components that form us: while the spirit is pure light, the mind has a component that perceives that light in a distorted way that we even fear it, because this is how unconsciously is perceived the “One” by those who created us, and thus there are some of us who perceive it in the same way, as they cannot do it otherwise.
When we are born, and we start forging our personality, the more “negative” part – but natural – in the human being also appears due to the existence of a rampant and evident duality in the spirit – soul – mind system, and we decide we must banish all that does not fit in the ideal world we all dream, or that may endanger the basic concept of survival, something that children, especially, have very latent from the first sobbing, because they depend on their parents and their social environment for everything.
Thus, we learn what we have to show to the world, as it provides us with what we need to survive (physical, psychic, mentally and emotionally), and what we must keep to us. We learn what we should hide, bury and leave well concealed, and which facets should shine and rise to the surface, although they are not those we would, naturally, like to express at different times and situations, but instead simply masks and public facade of our personality, because it is “the right thing”.
As we repress what we truly feel, say and think ( otherwise we believe that no one in this planet would love us), we forge an alter-ego, the shadow, which remains latent and acts when we are not aware, making a part of itself emerge in situations and moments in which we are sufficiently distracted and/or unconscious to hide the ‘answer’ and give the “nice and acceptable face” we have, instead of letting it explodes just as the shadow would truly like in that moment, in that situation.
We build it for years and then we try to dismantle it
When we reach adulthood, the shadow has grown so much and tends to be so hidden that we can pass on tiptoe throughout life almost without seeing it, although others may have glimpses of it when they begin to know us well (trust disgusts, the proverb says, because when we feel comfortable we relax in the presence of others, and we are not so concerned about maintaining control of our personality and of what we are, and, the shadow and the rest of the less pleasant facades come to light more easily).
A normal adult spends the first 20 years of his life trying to see which personality must be built towards the world taking the rest inside the sack of his alter-ego, and then, if one becomes aware of it, we try to spend the rest of our lives dismantling and transmuting all that we have constructed to be “healthy” people and consistent with ourselves, once again.
Needless to say, the shadow cannot be killed with a sword, neither can it be filled with light in a meditation and then say goodbye to it, but rather work component by component, emotion by emotion, pattern by pattern, and it starts to melt as you make friends with your dark side because you start to understand the situations, emotions, and thoughts that form it, and you accept, integrate, release and transmute them.
Now, my own Darth Maul is much less ugly than it was when I first met him. When I talk to him, I don’t feel fear anymore, and the funny thing is that it no longer appears facing me, that is to say, one in front of another, but instead it appears by my side, as working with me. That has been my major achievement in recent years, because now my shadow, understands, I hope, that I don’t want to hide it anymore, and in meditation, it agrees to be transmuted and released, in exchange for being understood.
I encourage you to work with it, because the shadow is a mental and emotional burden that keeps us much more attached to this “level 3” of the game, and it may be a great teacher when instead of ignoring it, we try to illuminate it.