that man also has a shadow side to him,
consisting not just of little weaknesses - and foibles,
but of a positively demonic dynamism.
The individual seldom knows anything of this;
to him, as an individual, it is incredible that
he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself.
But let these harmless creatures form a mass,
and there emerges a raging monster.
Two of Jung's major Archetypes are,
Jung believed that these latent dispositions are present in all of us, in many instances forming a strong source of creative energy.
We are all born pure, like blank canvases. But at some point during our childhood development, we learn knowledge that teaches us to separate things into good and evil.
The moment we eat from this tree of knowledge, our shadows are born and we begin to divide ourselves.
Furthermore, in our cultural 'socialization' process, we begin to sort out those traits within us that are acceptable in society, and those unacceptable traits that aren't (which are later hidden away).
As Jung said:
Thus, the dark shadow traits that we all possess accumulate in the corners of our unconscious minds, never becoming adequately integrated into our conscious minds because we never see our split state in the first place (due to our psychological 'defense mechanisms').
And so we continue on
accumulating these dark desires, motivations and fears.
Through observing many of our inner work students for example, I've come across certain individuals who have allowed their Shadow Selves to accumulate for so long that they've erupted and overpowered the person through depression or an unconscious accident that ended up manifesting their inner "Monsters".
This can lead to
physical, emotional, psychological and interpersonal consequences
that can last for a very long time.
We are born whole and
complete, but slowly we learn to live fractioned lives, accepting
some parts of our nature but rejecting and ignoring other parts.
These are just a few
How can you completely and wholeheartedly accept who you are if there are sides of yourself that you're too afraid to explore? Don't get me wrong, the idea of the "Shadow Self" doesn't only apply to psychology.
Shamanic teachings, including the ones I
was taught in, involved the preparation towards an illness or a
spiritual death (by ascending into your own darkness or "Shadow
Self"), and being reborn in an attempt to provide you with the
experience and insight to heal yourself and bring that healing
wisdom to the people of your tribe.
In truth, a lot of it actually comes from the endless cornucopia of "feel good" motivational teachings out there.
If you notice, a lot of modern spiritual and religious work revolves around,
Yet by doing so, we ignore the entirety of what it is to be human!
In fact, many of the spiritual and new age teachings out there provide an escape for those who do not want to be responsible for the entirety of themselves and their lives.
Understandably the "light" energies are usually represented with noble values such as love, peace, joy, harmony, compassion, entirely ignoring the darker elements within us such as anger, vengeance, control, fear, shame, competitiveness, jealousy, lust, etc.
Because these darker
characteristics are associated with 'negativity', they're avoided
out of fear.
In reality, a fragmented person can never handle adversity because they have no whole center, and they're always handling life from the corners of their personality parts.
Throughout history, the left has always been associated with dark, radical or sinister elements. Even the etymology of the word "sinister" means "from the left side".
Also, in Muslim, Chinese, Judeo-Christian and even Hindu religions the left hand is associated with being the unclean one, which is most likely why some of these cultures use it to wipe their… behinds!
Interestingly, British studies in the 1970's found that there had been an increase in the number of left-handed people compared to previous generations, suggesting that many left-handers had taught themselves to be right-handed for social, religious or practical reasons.
The truth is that we have both hands, not just one, and we must learn to use them in a balanced way if we seek to live a balanced life.
The Right hand seeks to
improve the personal self, overcome its flaws, but the Left hand
seeks investigation, seeks to be 'selfish' in its pursuit of
self-care. Just like in the Yin and Yang, when you reach a deep
balance, suddenly the dichotomy of right and left will disappear.
Many New Age teachings talk about leaning towards the "higher chakras" and avoiding the lower ones. However, in the long term, this won't be very helpful.
Unless the foundation of your home is solid and stable, no matter how beautifully you decorate and work on the house itself, sooner or later your house will collapse and crumble down.
Before making our way out of "hell" we must walk through the depths of our inner darkness. Many religions symbolize these experiences well.
Two famous examples
include the case of Jesus who had to face Satan in the desert, and
Buddha's encounter with Mara (the Buddhist Satan) before his
Indulging your anger, for instance, will simply result in more anger. By embracing your inner darkness I mean that it is necessary for you to "accept" it.
Accepting your darkness will allow you to take responsibility for yourself, and once you truly acknowledge one of these dark traits instead of avoiding them, suddenly, they will stop having control over you.
By being honest with ourselves and accepting our shadow elements, it frees us up to truly witness the uncharted areas of our minds, allowing us to see that we are not these elements, but simply possess thoughts, feelings and drives that come and go.
You cannot simply go
"beyond hatred" if first you don't admit to yourself that you do in
fact possess hateful feelings.
It is not an indulgence of the darker parts of our natures, but an acceptance and direct experience of them in the light of mindful awareness and deep honesty. This is the entire opposite of many self-denying traditional spiritual methods of subduing, denying, or ascetically disciplining the self.
To live differently, as
is the aim and motivation of us, is to be authentic. And in
order to be authentic we have to embrace our inner selves - that
which is culturally uncommon or bizarre.
In essence, any
"primitive" traits within us get sent to our Shadow Selves, but at
the same time, any creative, unique, innovative and different ideas
also get sent to our Shadow Selves because they're not socially