The most annoying and irritating traits you see in another reflect it.
The most virtuous traits you admire in another reflect it as well. The
things you say or do that you later regret reflect it.
The Shadow Self, or simply ‘the Shadow’ is the most valuable
contribution of the West to the ancient traditions wisdom of the East.
In the East, sages on a spiritual quest have focused on Being: realizing
one’s Self, being with what is, in the here and now. The West has
brought the part of the picture that focuses on Becoming: growing,
bettering and improving one’s self. Your ultimate spiritual quest is
both Being and Becoming.
What is the Shadow? Everything that you have repressed or suppressed,
from emotions to sexuality to desires to potential strengths, becomes
active under the radar, in the shadow of your subconscious mind. Let’s
say that, when you were young, you were harshly admonished for stealing
your sister’s cookies. You were told that this was greed, and greed was
unacceptable. You stopped the offensive behavior and decided that you
were not greedy. You grow up, and someone’s behavior strikes you as
greed, and it triggers your emotions. You condemn them for their greed.
The disowned part of you – the ‘greedy’ voice of your mind -, shows up
through this other person. You don’t see the greed in yourself, but you
can easily spot it in others.
Both negative and positive repressed parts of you can be contained in
the shadow. Anything that you condemn in another is negative shadow.
Anything that you admire in another is positive shadow. Your emotions
are indicator in both cases.
Shadow often shows up in relationships. It shows up in 3rd
(he / she / they) perspective or 2nd (you) perspective. To
integrate it, you must own it, and become it (1st
In one recent session, a woman who was contemplating divorce went
through the protocol of integrating the shadow. By the end of the
session, she had tears of love for her husband and couldn’t go home fast
enough to see him.
When you own back disowned parts of yourself, you become integral. The
energy that was tied up to maintain those parts under the radar is now
freed and available for you to express in life. The physical result of
the integration is often a change of posture – when shadow work is
combined with yoga and chiropractic – and muscle tension release.
Emotionally, you open up to greater felt compassion.
The cultural result of doing shadow work is often more loving