Friday, December 5, 2008

Unlimited Golden Shadow

In order to understand repetitive patterns in relationships, Dr. Carl Jung suggested what we understand the psychological rule: “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.”

This acting out involves projecting our shadow aspects, or our belief in our own limitations. The more we know about ourselves, the more choices we have, and our limitations fall away. We can then choose not to behave in a certain way. When we don’t know about something, then it will take on a compulsive, autonomous element to it. Projection is an unconscious psychological mechanism. We all project onto other people parts of ourselves that we disown, that we deny. We will usually not identify with the projected quality or characteristic at all. It’s them. It’s not us. Until we accept our own shadow.

One of Carl Jung's real contributions, was to point out that our shadow, or the rejected aspects of ourselves or undeveloped potential, contains all sorts of creative, positive content. If you were a musically gifted child, for instance, and you dreamed about playing guitar or composing a symphony but your parents felt that they wanted you to perform academically and go to law school and join the family law firm, your musical ability went into the shadow.

Rudolph Steiner's take on shadow is the Guardians of the Threshold - there are two. You cannot cross the threshold into integration until you know that you can illuminate darkness yourself. The first Guardian, contains all of our fears in aspects of good and evil. These fears prohibit our crossing the Threshold until we reconcile all good and evil within and see them interwoven into whole being. The unseen then becomes seen.

The second Guardian is a sublime, luminous beauty impossible to describe. It holds our highest potential, and our low self image and our perceived limits keep us from embracing this Guardian and crossing the Threshold. To embrace the second Guardian we must realize that invisible forces within our selves create our character and that our world of sense is a seed ground for the higher world. By embracing the second Guardian, everyone is redeemed and all are connected. We cannot cross the threshold in separation.

Once we can cross the threshold, according to Steiner, divine protection envelops us. Evil that was once part of our experience will no longer enter our experience. Because we have integrated evil and no longer hold it in separation, the greater is joined to the lesser and proceeds from us in love for all.

What do YOU think?


veryheaven said...

Project it all on me - I´ll be your beamer :-)
Sure, with much love I´ll reflect all your projections on the white wall in your soul or your living room and with endless hope and agapé waiting for you to kiss me all over for my deviant behaviour :-) once you´ve realised it.

Trevor said...


Mind doesn´t exist as an entity ― the is the first thing. Only thoughts exist.

The second thing: the thoughts exist separate from you, they are not one with your nature, they come and go ― you remain, you persist. You are like the sky: it never comes, it never goes, it is always there. Clouds come and go, they are momentary phenomena, they are not eternal. Even if you try to cling to a thought, you cannot retain it for long; it has to go, it has its own birth and death. Thoughts are not yours, they don´t belong to you. They come as visitors, guests, but they are not the host.

Watch deeply, then you will become the host and thoughts will be the guests. And as guests they are beautiful, but if you forget completely that you are the host and they become the hosts, then you are in a mess. This is what hell is. You are the master of the house, the house belongs to you, and guests have become the masters. Receive them, take care of them, but don´t get identified with them; otherwise, they will become the masters.

The mind becomes the problem because you have taken thoughts so deeply inside you that you have forgotten completely the distance; that they are visitors, they come and go. Always remember that which abides: that is your nature, your tao. Always be attentive to that which never comes and never goes, just like the sky. Change the gestalt: don´t be focused on the visitors, remain rooted in the host; the visitors will come and go.


Arthur said...

To start things off, here is a quote from the excellent book Integral Life Practice: a 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening:

Another kind of shadow is also worth mentioning. It's the shadow of our emergent capacities that we have not yet owned and inhabited. This is the shadow cast by higher parts of ourselves that want to come down and be lived by us. Often, our conditioned identity doesn't allow for aspects of our deep, unique calling and capacity. We keep these out of awareness, in shadow. Certain kinds of growth can't take place until this repression is relaxed, letting us know ourselves and show up fully as utterly unique individuals.

Put another way, sometimes our highest intelligence, intuition, and capacities don't fit our images of ourselves. In this type of situation, we function in ways consistent with old, fixed identities, unable to responsibly integrate and incarnate our highest potentials and awareness. We're stuck being a lower self than we're really supposed to be. It's important to recognize that sometimes the shadow can hold not just “low” or primitive aspects of the psyche, but also some of the “highest” evolved aspects. Be aware of this possibility. And when you recognize it operating in you, find the clarity and courage to choose to live your highest capacities…

For example, some people may have a high capacity for leadership, but they dislike that aspect of themselves that wants to be “in charge.” It's too aggressive, masculine, self-assertive – and besides, who are they to tell other people what to do? Because they associate leadership with perceived negative qualities of control and domination, they've created a golden shadow in themselves. They may admire the leadership capacity in others, while resenting their own greater power. By exploring [their shadow], they might come to see their own desire to be a leader – which might also be the cutting edge of their own practice and growth: a “golden shadow,” which, if re-owned, could be transformed into a gift of visionary light. - Integral Life Practice: a 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening by Ken Wilber, Terry Patton, Adam Leonard & Marco Morelli

Michael said...

There seems to be the misunderstanding that the Shadow or dark side is always something evil, deceitful or debased. This isn't true. It can be something that is warm, kind and creative. The Shadow is anything that has been pushed away by our Ego because it has been considered as threatening to the integrity of our perceived Self.

This can include:
- a person's playful side (that has been repressed because play was not safe growing up)
- one's sporty side (that was repressed because one was raised by intellectuals who discounted jocks)
- one's intellectual side (that was repressed because it wasn't cool to be bright in school)
- ones sexual side (because of the belief that good girls/boys don't have sexual impulses)
- one's asexual side (because of a belief that real men act out sexually all the time whether in their mind or in their actions and to not have such sexual impulses with a woman is to not be male).

Psychotherapist Connie Zweig says it like this:

One of Carl Jung's real contributions, I think, was to point out that the shadow contains all sorts of creative, positive content. If you were a musically gifted child, for instance, and you dreamed about playing guitar or composing a symphony but your parents felt that they wanted you to perform academically and go to law school and join the family law firm, your musical ability went into the shadow.

A man I met recently cried as I told this story in a workshop. He is an architect, 45, and all he wants to do is paint. He is remembering now, in very strong imagery and feelings, that when he was young he wanted to paint and draw, but nobody allowed him to. So he wants to leave his profession and stay home and paint.

So despite the popular conception of the shadow as dark or negative, there are incredible potentials, gifts and talents lying dormant there as well.

You can read more of what Connie has to say on the webpage:

So, these are some of my thoughts for this blog. The dark sides or shadow sides of men and women aren't simply the more “evil” hidden sides of ourselves. For all of us that more “evil” side may be merely something that is so unsafe that we work hard at pushing it out of our consciousness such as what I've noted above. However, it will come out in our intense emotional responses and our dreams. Looking at our dreams and intense emotions are helpful tools for us to look at the Shadows in our lives.

If you are really deeply moved by someone playing music you might have suppressed a strong desire to play an instrument at one point in your life. Worth exploring. If you are reading something on this blog and have said to yourself “I can express myself better than that idiot” then you may be suppressing your voice to join in and contribute your impressions.

I believe that to limit the discussion to a woman's “manipulative”, “bribery”, “sexual bargaining tool”, “female serial killers” would be limiting the discussion to only one aspect of Shadow. I would like to suggest that we not misunderstand the Jungian concept of Shadow by focusing on only one aspect of it. I hope that this thread can continue with more dialogue around what women have pushed out of their consciousness and help us all to explore the multifaceted sides that make up the beautiful psyche of the woman's mind.

It is my belief that some of women's shadows are:
- their Warrior, relating to their strength (because of the belief that strong women are bitches and being one is bad)
- their sexual passion (because of the belief that sexually impassioned women are sluts)
- their femininity (because of the belief that truly feminine women are weak or just plain needy for male attention or because of their fear of attracting unwanted male attention)
- their voice (because of the belief that if I speak up I'll just get shot down anyway so why bother or that a man's opinion is worth more than a woman's due to growing up in strong patriarchal families)
- their intellect (because of the belief that smart women are geeks and unattractive)

I'd be curious to hear of what you think about any of what I've said so far, so speak up! All comments and thoughts are welcome!

WH said...

On the topic of “golden shadows,” here is a link to an old article of mine on the ”shadow's role as guide.”

Here is an excerpt:

The most common understanding of the shadow maintains that this aspect of the unconscious Self contains all the dark and unacceptable traits we have repressed because they are unpleasant. But this is only partly true. The shadow, specifically the personal shadow, contains all aspects of Self that have been repressed or not admitted to consciousness. This includes positive traits, aspects of ourselves–such as creativity in men or assertiveness in women–that are not socially accepted, as well as the more commonly labeled negative traits.

For most of us, the shadow aspect of our consciousness remains unknown, unconscious. As mentioned above, everything that is unconscious is projected onto some object outside of the ego. By projection, I am referring to an automatic, unconscious process in which something that is unconscious in the psyche is attributed to an object (a person, image, or figure of dreams) as though it belongs to that object. From this definition, the shadow becomes a fertile darkness we need to admit to consciousness in order to prevent it from distorting the way we view the world. But if we allow that the shadow also contains positive traits or aspects of our psyches of which we are not conscious, it then becomes a possible light that can help us lead a more fulfilling life.

To be more specific, I believe that we each contain a type of Guide figure, a psycho-spiritual complex focused around an archetypal aspect of Self that, if recognized, can serve to guide us through difficult periods of the individuation process. This Guide image has been incorporated into the Tarot deck as the 14th trump of the Major Arcana, known as Temperance (Waite), Art (Crowley), or the Guide (Old Path). The 14th trump plays an important role in the Fool’s progress through the Major Arcana: the card is associated with purging, right action, testing one’s self, and the proverbial trial by fire (Alli, 191). The idea that these challenges are functions of the Guide is intriguing, and suggests that the best away to deal with a crisis or trauma is not to avoid it, but to face it and go through it.

In most people, this archetypal Guide aspect of Self remains fully unconscious or is relegated to the shadow. But, like all shadow elements, it can and will become present when the archetypal energy in the psyche reaches a critical mass. When a complex – “an emotionally toned group of representations” in the psyche that originates in the unconscious, and centers around an archetypal element (Jacobi 7) – acquires so many associations that it can longer remain submerged, it can displace the persona as the ego’s interface with the world. (The classic example is the young man with a “mother complex” who only chooses as partners women who will act in the role of mother for him. The complex has assumed control of his actions, and until he can name it and make its sources conscious he will not be able to choose a woman based on any other criteria.) The important thing to recognize, however, is that complexes are “intrapsychic,” and as such, have at their core an archetypal element.

If there is buildup of psychic energy, and one is unable, or unwilling, to actively admit the presence of the Guide archetype into conscious awareness, it may manifest as a projection out in the world or in our dreams. The archetype may show up in the form of a mentor who happens along when one is in the depth of a crisis, or, in my case, as a raven who appeared repeatedly in my dreams. In the latter case, not only is the Guide making its presence felt, it is doing so with the full impact of the shadow. The Guide, in my dreams, was both sourced in and a symbol of the shadow, and it demanded that I acknowledge and integrate my shadow into consciousness.

Marigpa said...

Thank you so much for this… for me it succinctly captures an aspect of Shadow that I relate to well, exemplified by Proteus, or the Trickster, even Hermes , working “in mysterious ways” for and towards our growth/individuation, through the use of often paradoxical tests and challenges.

I particularly resonate with this: ”The idea that these challenges are functions of the Guide is intriguing, and suggests that the best away to deal with a crisis or trauma is not to avoid it, but to face it and go through it.”

I also have an appreciation (sometimes rueful!) for how this aspect of Shadow can speak or act through us, quite often for the potential benefit of many, by paradoxically casting a revealing light on an enshadowed situation… whilst simultaneously posing a challenge for us as regards dealing with any consequences of our un- or semi-conscious 'self-revealing' blurtings/actions.

Arthur said...

Stuart Davis has a great song about this:

“Disciple” - Stuart Davis

This goodness in my heart
this evil in my head
Do not exist in equal parts
for only one is fed
A growing dark veneer
A conscience in repose
tonight as I was sleeping here
both of them arose

I saw a demon stare into my face
and an angel touch my breast
Each one softly calls my name
the demon scares me less
and the demon scares me less

Something gentle tries to guide
and occupies my soul
but I never let it override
the mind that I control
If I turn toward the light
it's beauty cannot last
for I think that it must be destroyed
when I see how we contrast
This wickedness in my reflection
is familiar to my eyes
it's the image of this love before me
that I do not recognize
Two opposing forces
are measuring in me
the distance of my spirit to
the disciple I will be

Molly Brogan said...

During my own shadow dance, golden shadow has been just as difficult to perfect as dark shadow. We are taught from an early age to believe in our limits. No wonder, when it comes time to embrace the infinite within us, we find the dance step challenging.

Arthur said...

Yes, I remember being taught limits when I was young. Being told, “that's not you!” or “you're like this” or some generally unpleasant characteristics are fixed in stone: “a woman would have to be a saint to marry you!” or “You were born old!” (when I was talking about what it might be like when I'm old.). I remember hearing my mother saying to a young niece, while my nephew sat there, “You know, boys, they lie.” – said in a light, humorous tone. (I then said to my niece, “Yeah, sometimes boys lie, and sometimes girls lie too.”)

A friend of mine who was quite attractive was repeatedly told by her mother, “You'll have to do good in school, because you're ugly and no one's going to want you for your looks alone.” She had real self-esteem problems.

So there's that. And then there's the fear of the responsibility inherent in owning one's golden shadow. Who wants to live up to that? Can't I just squeak by holding my dark shadow at bay, doing as little harm as possible? That was my mode of operation for much of my adult life: well, I'll just make myself small and try not to hurt anybody too much.

And the answer is no, we have no right to shirk our responsibilities anymore. There's not time left to fuck around. These times require us to live up to our greatness as much as we can. In addition to healing and integrating our demonic nature (whatever it may be for particular people), we need to embrace the higher angels of our nature and learn to increasingly live and act in the world from that place.

Virginia said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you Arthur! I remember Harry Potter who started off in a cupboard at the bottom of the stairs, then followed his demons to hell, and stood up to become a hero - because he loved people. I remember a discussion on a pod some time ago about the golden shadow of the turquoise stage - not recognising your own individual gift, and greatness and not giving it to the world.
And i do believe if we dont try to give it it turns inward and starts eating at us. But sometimes i do just want to hide under a pile of autumn leaves and be part of the garden.

Alija said...

I think, beautiful explanation, this quoted compilation.
I like the explanation because it gives me some kind of the sense for life. In spite of reading just now Tolstoy's "A Confession" about his straggles in search for an answers to the eternal question "What is life" or "Who am I", in spite of his pessimism I am optimist and I believe there is a perfect sense for life.
These Steiner's and Jung's hypotheses are my point of view and in that direction I did several very concrete steps. I neutralised my primordial polarities and this event changed my life. Before this process of the neutralization of my primes I had a feeling being encapsulated like an egg but being unable to brake it. Before this process I was a slave of my polarities which my higher self used compulsively.
After neutralization I was free, very much free man, a new man.

After this principal neutralization process I did many processes of similar kind, treated in a same way some of my fears, assimilated come personalities which I couldn't stand and at the end of the day, I am a new person.

My experience is, imo, great confirmation C.G.Jung and Steiner were right, their hypotheses are right.

Thanks Molly for putting this question here and especially thanks for the formulation.

Ronald said...

I have always been a fan of Carl Jung. Man and His Symbols has been a guidebook for my artistic pursuits. That is bit off topic but it illustrates my interest in Jungian philosophy.

As a secondary art instructor and drama director I had to deal with student shadows on a daily basis. Encouraging students to follow their dreams was challenged by skeptical left brain parents with unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. My greatest reward in teaching was to see many students step out of the shadows and into a world of creativity.

Gilles said...

I agree that this perspective is very interesting. I strongly believe that I have been faced with my dark side about half a year ago, or a little longer. It was the trigger to the breakup with my ex girlfriend. She no longer got from me the energy that she got used to. That I gave her in order to keep her satisfied, but which was in fact not mine to give at times. It slowly broke me up from the inside.

Now, I'm trying to pave the path to my dark side. THere was a post about a universal womb on this site a while ago, and I think that's the same thing.

Also, I identify it with the holy trinity of the Catholicism. I'm in a catholic country. The father is the ratio, the son is the dark side, and the holy spirit is that which unites the two.

As for myself, as a boy, I have put my emotions in my dark side. When I meditate towards it, and over come the fear of my ratio for my dark side, and the fear of my dark side for my ratio by meddling between them with my holy spirit, I indeed notice that I feel a lot more than I know. At times, I feel a little cynical about life, as happens in these days, or Neant as the french call it. Nihilist. But that is because at those times, there is no contact between the father and the son. My ratio and my potential.

But I always try to be careful with explanations, because in reality they always turn out more complicated than the human mind allows. There is a lot to discover, isn't there.

Anyhow, In the end, I believe the dark side and the bright side are essentially the same thing. I think it is towards putting that in practice that we go.

Joe said...

One thing that has been a real eye-opener is the level of victimization that takes place in our culture, especially where it comes to "spiritual" communities. Your comments strike a really strong chord. Thanks!!!!

What are some practical ways (i.e. exercises / activities) that we could do to help develop the "right" kinds of awareness to recognize and deal with these issues? How can we help ourselves?

Molly Brogan said...

I like Ken Wilber's shadow process, Joe. Thanks for asking.

To Practice The 3-2-1 Process
1. Choose an experience in your life that you want to work with. It's often easier to begin with a person with whom you have difficulty (e.g., lover, relative, boss). This person may irritate, disturb, annoy, or upset you. Or maybe you feel attracted to, obsessed with, infatuated with, or possessive about this person. In any case, choose someone with whom you have a strong emotional charge, whether positive or negative.

2. Face It : Now, imagine this person. Describe those qualities that most upset you, or the characteristics that you are most attracted to using 3rd-person language (he, she, it). Talk about them out loud or write it down in a journal. Take this opportunity to "let it out." Don't try to be skillful or say the right thing. There is no need to sugar-coat your description. The person you are describing will never see this.

3. Talk to It: Begin an imaginary dialogue with this person. Speak in 2nd person to this person (you). Talk directly to this person as if he or she were actually there in the room with you. Tell them what bothers you about them. Ask them questions such as "Why are you doing this to me?" "What do you want from me?" "What are you trying to show me?" "What do you have to teach me?" Imagine their response to these questions. Speak that imaginary response out loud. Record the conversation in your journal if you like.

4. Be It: Become this person. Take on the qualities that either annoy or fascinate you. Embody the traits you described in "Face It." Use 1st-person language ( I, me, mine). This may feel awkward, and it should. The traits you are taking on are the exact traits that you have been denying in yourself. Use statements such as "I am angry," "I am jealous," "I am radiant." Fill in the blank with whatever qualities you are working with: "I am__________."

5. To complete the process, notice these disowned qualities in yourself. Experience the part of you that is this very trait. Avoid making the process abstract or conceptual: just BE it. Now you can re-own and integrate this trait in yourself.

Practice Genealogy
The 3-2-1 process is a simple and effective tool for working with the shadow. It was developed by Ken Wilber and his associates at Integral Institute, and is a recommended practice in the Integral Life Practice Starter Kit. This practice is designed to provide a quick, easy, and effective method to work with our disowned selves. There are numerous techniques to deal with the shadow, but most require the assistance of a professional therapist. The 3-2-1 Process can be used by anyone anywhere at any time, and at no cost.

The 3-2-1 Process helps you uncover your shadow and integrate unconscious thoughts and emotions, so you can become more healthy and whole. It takes an extraordinary amount of energy to keep aspects of ourselves hidden in shadow. The energy it takes to repress or deny aspects of ourselves could potentially be employed in other ways; perhaps even a developmental transformation. When we shine a light on our shadow and work to integrate disowned aspects of ourselves, we liberate the energy we were using to hide from ourselves, and more energy is never a bad thing.

This process uses shifts in perspectives as a way of identifying and integrating shadow material. 3-2-1 refers to 3rd person, 2nd person, and 1st person perspectives. When an aspect of the self poses a threat, the self seeks to distance itself from that threat. As a result, the self concludes, "That is not me. That is someone else." The self exports that trait that threatens it onto someone else. We can disown both lower and higher aspects of ourselves. In either case, we project it as "You." You are angry. You are being selfish. You are worthy. In other words, we displace it from a 1st - person "I" to a 2nd- person "You."

If the threat of this emotion or situation becomes so great that it requires a total rejection, we push it away into a 3rd- person "It." At that point, the shadow arises as a sense of irritation, reactivity, fear, or aversion toward things, but we usually do not understand why we feel this way.

And meditation alone won't fix this, most forms of meditation won't even help; in fact, they may make things worse. Meditation suggests dis-identification from experience ("You are not your thoughts. etc."). But to integrate the shadow, we need to RE-identify with disowned dimensions of our experience and ourselves. We can only truly let go of something that we have first owned. Healthy disidentification is only possible once we have re-owned, re-associated, and re-identified with the disowned parts of ourselves. For this reason, there is no substitute for shadow work.

The 3-2-1 Process can be used in various ways. For beginners, try it out once a week for roughly 30 minutes and work with the biggest issue of your week. For more advanced practitioners, begin applying the 3-2-1 Process to dreams and issues of your daily life.

You can also opt to use the "empty chair" rather than a journal. Just replace the journal with an actual chair in the exercise outlined above. Place this chair across from you, and imagine the person you have chosen to work with sitting in it. In "Face It" (3), simply describe the qualities of this person that provoke you. Talk about them in front of them. In "Talk to It" (2), dialogue with this person. When it is their turn to respond, sit in the other chair and respond as that person. Go back and forth between chairs until the dialogue is over. In "Be It" (1), sit as the other and be the person that triggers you. Embody the qualities that irritate or fascinate you and speak as this person using "I" statements: "I am ________."

Katrina said...

You've put into lovely words one of the main aspects of the spiritual path IMO: that facing up to what we don't like (whether in ourselves or in others) transforms us. That is: neither fighting that, nor just accepting it - but facing it.

Mirjana said...

There is always more to do, but the feeling of joy that is connected with each new released layer of shadow is a very nice feeling.
Being able to recognize personal weakness or shadow aspects of self is the most beautiful thing that can happen to the person. Wherever there is a charge there is some work for us, either this charge is caused by positive or negative experiences.
When it is a result of some relationship issues, then we can consider such situations like mirroring possibilities for our personal development. If done that way, charge transforms into the gratitude toward the person who gave us an opportunity to cross our shadow. And such gratitude leads to a wonderful feeling of freedom and joy.

Neil said...

Of course, in my world, an unlimited golden shadow tends to evoke memories of being pissed on from on high. I'm not sure what makes people want this kind of stuff, though I am sure we should be thinking about and discussing what might be. I believe things would change if we lied less and got "realistic". This would be about playing with rules and playing to the rules. Sadly, I have noticed that golden shrouds and fleeces don't help and that working with knowledge and facts is problematic enough.

Molly Brogan said...

Lying less is certainly part of it. What "realistic" may be would, I suspect, vary among the members of this group. Like it or not, our shadow natures operate with or without our cooperation.

Ulysses said...

I like the shadow concept and in retrospect realize that I have been examining the shadow since my early youth thereby always having the ability to separate myself, not physically but mentally, from my environment. I never really became a part of anything because I was always so busy being me and nurturing that which I discovered. The lying aspect at times served a vital function, that being the facilitation of socialization and interdependence for the sake of physical survival through suppression of the shadow projections. Lying simply helped me get through times where choice of environment was not an option. Once the point of total independence is reached one can apply the discoveries within the shadow and create the environment in which to project. After recognizing the shadow (which actually never had a name) I continually sought to discover more shadow qualities knowing that there was so much there and so have developed into many facets of persona and ability. I always attributed the aspects of my being to the cosmos, the world beyond, of which I knew nothing about except its infinite possibilities feeling that whatever any other human can do or accomplish surely another can do as well. While there are shadow qualities that are unique to each individual, we all share a common shadow of which some never discover, while others continually extract from the boundless resource, whether that be good or evil. I believe that when we discover or recognize the shadow we have actually entered into the lightness of our soul and from there we can recognize darkness and deprive its existence within us. I never view darkness as having any viable energy in life. Light is always and forever a Sacred Place for it supports life. Darkness is merely the absence of light. Light is never the absence of darkness. If you walk into a room in total darkness and you open a small box of Light, the darkness would be consumed by Light and the room would have Light. This is not the same with darkness. If you walk into a room full of Light and opened a small box of darkness, the Light would not be consumed by the darkness, in fact the box of darkness would become Light. Darkness is void of energy, substance and ability in my world (not a scientific declarative). Light is the energy of life and abundance. Let the Sun Shine In!

Edwin said...

I understand of what Slip speaks and closely identify with the state of being he described. I spent much of my life either running or lying and quite often both simultaneously. Consequently I got to be a state of the art liar and moving from one place to another every three or four months became normal. I don't know how many times I left Las Vegas over the years swearing I'd never be back. More than twenty-five I'd

I don't quite subscribe to the shadow model but that's because my own perspective is slightly different which is irrelevant because we're both -- all -- talking about the same thing. I lied like most others (small attempt at getting lost in the crowd) to cover up my failures, and finagleings, to escape uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations, but most often -- and in this I suspect I was called a pathological liar up many a sleeve -- when I completely fabricated something interesting because I didn't feel anything about me was worthwhile (thanks to a family whose favorite chant was some variable combination of you're evil, you're worthless, you're no good, you'll never amount to anything, you're just like your father.) Hell, they're all dead now and I'm still living out that prophecy in ways I can't imagine and a lot that I can shudder. This is part of my shadow. There's another part too. A healthier part, that from time to time has managed to show some class and grace under pressure, that loves life and almost everything about it, that has talent and ability and most of all an understanding which gives me great comfort and can lead to the same trails of glory Slip followed above. These times bring tears to my eyes. The other only anger.

But at a bottom line, when reality steps in and takes a rack check, it's all me. There are times I'd like to disown parts of me but I can no more do that than fly to the moon by flapping my ears and farting. It's just all me and that's that.

Hermster said...

Great blog you have here Molly.

To me consciousness implies limitations and qualifications, a finite source. Somthing to be conscious of and some one to be conscious of it. Light (any light source) could also fit into this catagory.
By these parameters we could call Absolute Consciousness "unconsciousness" as we know it to be on this plane and the Absolute, "Darkness," because to our finite understanding it appears quite impenetrable, yet we recognize fully the inadequancy of such terms to express what we so dimly feel.

Francis said...

And that's the kernel of it all, gruff. Although I am deeply sceptical about Steiner, I think the basic point that he, Jung and Molly are making (apart from mysterious guardians and poetic titles) is both simple and valid. We reject/repress the darker, more negative aspects of our personalities/experience/history /characters at our own peril. Inner conflicts and suffering, even if deeply repressed, will work their way out somehow - this can also happen somatically. It's generally better to face our demons than have them ambush us in the dark.

Molly Brogan said...

You did get the gist of it, Edwin! You accurately described both aspects of your shadow and yes, to disown or look away from your shadow is to guarantee its return in one form or another. It is all you. Accepting all aspects of who you are makes for a much less stressful life. Now the trickier part - accepting those parts of your experience that are also you, cast into others and into relationship as your shadow for recognition and acceptance, the parts that you have not looked at yet, this is often met with much resistance by folks accustomed to crying "it's them not me." An understanding friend or loved one can sometimes help us see these "holes" that we haven't seen yet. We all have shadow because as long as we are alive we will be self in evolution. A graceful shadow process can give us more harmony.

Ulysses said...

While I see validity in the shadow concept I don't embrace it entirely. I don't see my awareness of collective failure to be a reflection of my own unworthiness as I have clearly accepted and utilized those positive parts of my shadow potential. Perhaps I should rephrase "I personally don't have much confidence in the whole of humanity but only in a small percentage, that which I believe to be the intended concourse, if in fact there exists a source of intention. If not, then still there is that percentage making sense or showing a greater degree in logical development of the species. Obviously, the way the world generally conducts itself lacks sensibility and logic, or we would all be living a completely different life. I accept the basic concept of shadow but do not ascribe to the ramification of principles stemming from it. Analogous to shadow is the undiscovered treasure chest of human attributes, which one opens to discover the cornucopia of abilities and traits. I'm not sure that rejection of trait results in a unavoidable external confrontation. Should I reject shadow qualities of anger, aggression, belligerence, hate and other negative qualities, will I enter into a violent foray outside in the market parking lot? Non sequitur? IF I have recognized, adopted and project love, peace, harmony and humility, these qualities will override that which I rejected and they will remain sequestered in the shadow. Non sequitur? To fully embrace the suggested theory would mean, without choice, we must carry out any and all attributes within the shadow. I think the "them not me" approach is completely valid, as it is possible to totally reject and deny the shadow characteristics of others. If the concept implies that the shadow is universal for all of humanity with subjective selection of quality, then we each have choice over our projections and external experience. Isolation only occurs when we are surrounded by unlike projections en masse. For this reason we all seek to find like minds, whether they be good or bad, church group or gang, peaceful hippies or military regime.

Molly Brogan said...

The spectrum of humanity does indeed exist, and allows for evolution within a lifetime as well as the accomplishments of humanity as a whole. It is a wonderful thing that we can eat a cup of yogurt without having to buy the cow, milk it, make the yogurt etc. We certainly stand on the shoulders of all that go before us and benefit (or not) from the works of all others around us. Shadow presents itself to us in the array of this experience when we find something occurring again and again, and we have a big emotional charge about it - good or bad. This is our clue that shadow is at work.

Ulysses said...

I don't see the Wilbur process happening for me. Sounds like a group workshop method. I can choose, face and talk to it but really the "Be It" part just allows for me to "be' what I "perceive" to be projecting from that which I find distasteful or attractive. The Wilbur process.....My neighbor annoys me because all he ever does is borrow and mooch without reciprocation, we no longer communicate. I choose my neighbor, I face my neighbor, I ask my neighbor (me) why he is a freeloading moocher, my neighbor (me) continually responds with "because I am an worthless dumb ass". Now I complete the process by what? Acknowledging what was before the process, the fact that my neighbor is a worthless dumb ass and projects such shadow quality while I don't have any of his qualities in my shadow and project the complete opposite. There has been shadow that I have faced in the past that may have repeatedly made presence in my world. Upon realization that these traits were unique to me on a personal level and not the result of any external influence, they were identified as such and quashed or quarantined, somewhat as a computer virus would be. I think the idea behind the shadow concept is to identify traits that are detracting from ones persona in a negative way. Positive shadow projections within a group setting only render the whole as pleasing and harmonious.

Molly Brogan said...

I think the key notion here is "repetitive." One dumb ass mooching neighbor does not mean this trait is part of your shadow. If you find yourself in relationships over and over again with dumb ass moochers and this gives you a big emotional charge, then it might be something worth looking at in yourself. And I don't think that it always means that it something that you are but deny. Shadow may exist because the quality is something you judge in a very big way, and you project shadow again and again as a challenge to let go of your judgmental self. Sometimes we don't because we get something out of seeing others as "wrong." It also establishes our separateness from our dumb ass neighbor, and limits to our neighborly feelings. Sometimes these serve us too. Until we can let them go.

On the other side of the coin, there is certainly nothing wrong with feeling harmony in a group. But if you feel yourself extremely attracted to folks that have a particular wonderful quality, over and over again - then it may be worth asking yourself, is there something that all these folks have in common that I might be denying in myself? When we don't ask ourselves this, it again establishes limits to what we can become, because heck - we could never be THAT wonderful.

Ulysses said...

Yes I would agree that the factor of recurrence is the key in determining failure to recognize a shadow aspect that needs attention. Actually Molly I is be that wonderful (eubonic) and I attribute it to the awareness of my inner being, the nurturing of it, shunning the rest of the world's norms and mores and paying the price to be a non conformist. Ultimately I am still me and letting the tide of life have it's way unencumbered by my resistance to it. I ask for nothing and receive a lot which affords me the ability to give. I know I have a book in me but really have not the slightest clue as how to go about writing it. Somehow I really don't care about much of it at all, as I understand the temporary aspect of this life and the unimportance of earthly achievements. My deepest belief is that remaining like a child is the most valuable trait a person can have. Everyone wants to grow up and "act" like an adult, when in fact we are all just children, from the time we are born until the time we die. All we need to do is learn how to laugh, dance in the rain, play in the sand and love unconditionally. The core of all turmoil in the world revolves around people who actually believe there is something to gain in this life. Those in the world who see it for what it is have to suffer on the account of those who do not. Countless examples exist that show us how fragile the world is and how what had taken years to build can dissipate in the wind in a moment of time; castles made of sand. Our best memories are just that, memories, intangible memories that hold no significance in our current life. Fools are we on planet earth.

Molly Brogan said...

"I know I have a book in me"

I've seen many people start and never finish. There is a process of the soul to it that takes real desire to bring to fruition.

"letting the tide of life have it's way unencumbered by my resistance to it. I ask for nothing and receive a lot which affords me the ability to give"

a golden key for certain

"remaining like a child is the most valuable trait a person can have." The marvelous viewpoint of St. Therese that "in love we all live and move and have our being," and that by abandoning all other care and focusing on this, we retain the innocence that is childlike that allows us all that is sacred in life. I think we all yearn to return to that part of us that as a child was unjaded by the world worries. Achieving this is monumental, and much to be admired. While St. Therese certainly had her shadow, I do believe that this viewpoint always reconciled it for her.

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways. Now we see only an indistinct image in a mirror, but then we will be face to face. Now what I know is incomplete, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." I think this passage from Paul tells us that we are born with this wonderful quality that is outside of ego, and can return to it once we are fully known. This requires a full maturation and transcendence of ego, and a step across that threshold.

Ulysses said...

Transcending ego might be the most difficult human achievement. Ego is so prevalent in most everything people do, it is behind all good and all evil taking place. I see the ego as an entity responsible for the corruption of humanity, responsible for all the wars, the greed, and all the problems in the world.
For short moments in time I have grasped it and subdued it. It is a daily task to understand the ego behind our motivations. I've learned to slow down a great deal during my day in order to spend more time evaluating what I am doing and give myself a chance to recognize that which is ego based. By doing this I can make better decisions and treat people better. This makes for a better world for me to live in, one that I can be happy in. Making the people around me happy improves the world around me. It's really simple when you think about it. Share the joy and bring a smile to someones face. I did start to write a few times and as you say never really finished anything, except my poetry. I've been wanting to put a book together that features the poem on the right side and some art on the left side. All I have managed to do so far is put together a CD of about 7 or more poems with subtle sound effects behind each poem. It was fun putting it all together. I'm not much into marketing, so as my paintings sit around so does everything else. I think I've given more art away then what I had sold, but that's me and as long as it makes someone happy then it is a good thing.

Count Sneaky said...

We have all forgotten what childhood was really like before we developed all these wonderful, self-important ideas, belief systems, relying on the words of others.
Become a child again if you can.It will be a return to wonder, fear,and play, and you may have no desire to pursue or the ability to recall all those adult fantasies you saw
shining once through words.
You finally will just be. That is enough. This blog, for the Count, is one of the most interesting on the internet.
Count Sneaky