During my 30+ years of practice, I was fortunate enough to learn about this and, in some cases, spend a lot of time with many outstanding teachers of personal and spiritual development.
If I were to name one highly developed skill that would be common to all of them, it would be AWARENESS.
What is your personal shadow?
Although it is hard to believe, consciousness has answers to all personal challenges. Consciousness is closely related to intuition and creativity. The more aware you are, the more obvious the solutions to the problems appear to you, and the more common everyday problems actually sort themselves out.
The less aware you are, the more you feel there are no solutions to your life's troubles, and the more likely you are to unknowingly attract situations and people that you don't want. Zen master Genpo Roshi once told me that what you are not aware of will sooner or later become a trap in which your life will get stuck. So expanding your awareness is a very rewarding endeavor.
When you meditate or use any other methods that open you to unconscious aspects of yourself - you also discover parts that you may not like. At first, you start to feel resistance to aspects of yourself that you don't like.
Resistance, however, is something that YOU generate, not something that happens to you.
You create resistance through internal representations of what you do not want (e.g. internal pictures or internal dialogues). When this happens, you start to feel bad because inner representations are the source of your well-being. Also, to make it worse, your mind is figuring out how to attract more of what you're focusing on - in this case, what you're based on.
Displaced parts of yourself - a personal shadow
One of the things that make it difficult to expand awareness is our tendency to displace those elements that we consider wrong or inappropriate. And while it makes us feel better in the short term, it causes all kinds of problems in the end. What we push to the underworld of our consciousness will eventually become visible anyway. And worse, it will expose itself in a covert and dysfunctional way, causing serious trouble.
An extreme example would be a conservative preacher who is caught in an unequivocal situation with his underage parishioners. As a result of denying, in his opinion, sinful sexuality, it is released anyway, but in a sick, dysfunctional way.
It is also an example of how thinking about what we do not want actually causes more of this aspect to appear in our lives. By thinking, "I don't want to be a sinner," the preacher creates or attracts more and more of what he thinks is sin. His sexuality ultimately hurts both him and others.
We are all suppressing a variety of human qualities that we think are bad or indecent. Many of the difficulties we face in life are the result of these orphan parts of ourselves that psychologists call shadows. Once abandoned, they reappear in an immature way. And in fact, by abandoning them, we attract them more strongly.
Working with hundreds of thousands of people, I've discovered that nearly every sense of human unhappiness has to do with repressed and orphaned aspects of oneself. If an area of your life is not working, you can be sure it has to do with the SHADOW.