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.
Shadows are areas we are not aware of, and re-owning them broadens our awareness, giving us more choices.
In this post, I would like to share an interesting look at a certain phenomenon, a game that we teach all new members of the human race - The White and Black Game. As you will see later, as soon as you become aware of how you play this game, you will be able to choose how you want to play it and thus you will be able to eliminate a huge amount of unnecessary suffering from your life.
In every society, there is a certain agreement about what is "good" and what is "bad". We are also dealing with different versions of this agreement, depending on the family in which we are brought up. What is considered "bad" in one family will be OK in another. In one family, excellence can be a very positive quality, while in another, a child who surpasses others may hear: “Who do you think you are ?! Do you consider yourself better than others? "
Whatever the values of our family were, we received positive reinforcement for those who were considered right and we were condemned to those who were considered negative qualities. We have learned that it is not safe to express those values that have been held to be negative in our family or culture. In order to avoid expressing them, we stopped being their owners, which means that we pushed them to the underworld of our consciousness.
As I mentioned before, we never really get rid of these repressed parts. They leak out of us in a hidden, dysfunctional way. In fact, I'll risk saying that almost everything that bothers you in your life is the result of the shadows that you ceased to own at some point in your life.
Suppose anger is a bad thing for you.
Because he is bad, you feel resistance to him, both when he shows up in others and in you. However, like a balloon that, when squeezed in one place, swells in another, anger manifests itself in one way or another.
You may have found anger angry because when you were little, the anger expressed by your father was painful for you. It was also not safe to show your father your anger. He was bigger and stronger than you, and he didn't like it when you disagreed with him. So you denied your anger. You also decided to avoid angry people. As a result of this process, you don't like such people. They scare you.
So paradoxically, when you deny your anger, it becomes a central part of your life. You see degenerate people everywhere. And when you deal with them, you feel their influence strongly (and negatively). Angry people really bother you, even when you are not the one they are angry with. You fear them and feel angry at them yourself.
On the other hand, a person who is not dependent on the trauma of anger sees the same angry people (after all, they are not invisible), but does not react to them the way you do.
Life manifests itself to you as a constant stream of angry people. How do all these people find you? As a result of denying your anger, your attention is constantly focused on them. And you are less likely to notice or attract other people. Since your father's anger traumatized you with anger, you do everything you can to avoid it in your life, but at the same time, you are constantly observing the world so that you can protect yourself from anger at any moment.
As I have written many times before, focusing on what you don't want results in you experiencing more of it in your life. And while this is the last thing you want - you attract angry people. And when you meet them, their anger affects you in a powerful, negative way. Because they are angry, you feel resistance to them.
And everyone can easily see that you have a lot of anger inside you. EVERYONE, EXCEPT YOU.
And you cannot admit or even notice that you are angry. You are not the owner of your anger. It's a shadow. It's something that is out there in the others. You don't see it in yourself. You are against anger because it is such a bad thing.
Ironically, even though you are against anger, you often express it in hidden ways. For example, you are late with things you really don't want to do, or you don't even do the things you promised to do because you don't really want to do them.
You can avoid responsibility, make excuses or blame others. You may also forgive or complain very easily, use sarcasm, make fun of others in a rather malicious way, or are extremely stubborn. And that's how your hidden anger manifests itself anyway.
In other words, you are passive-aggressive.
You express your anger, but not directly. You cannot express it directly because you are not its owner. But he's still in you. And in addition to being rude to others, you also suffer. Your orphaned anger is feeding on you.
Of course, anger is not the only aspect that can be displaced. I have used it here only as an example. Perhaps you have supplanted fear, selfishness, and a thousand other qualities. It is highly likely that you got rid of all the things that your parents or other authorities thought was inappropriate and disapproved of expressing them. For example: wanting to possess, happiness, sexuality, joy, aggression, pride, intelligence, wanting to be seen, feeling like a victim, and much more.
Positive emotions can also be a SHADOW.
When you face repressed negative quality - it triggers a negative reaction in you. When you encounter repressed positive qualities - e.g. charisma, kindness, leadership, talent, intelligence - you will put the person who externalizes such values on a pedestal. You will admire and adore such qualities in others. But YOU WILL NOT FIND THEM IN YOURSELF. Because you stopped being their owner ...
In fact, the overriding principle is that all qualities, whether displaced or not, exist in all people. And all of these qualities, no matter how positive or negative they may seem, are normal characteristics of every human being.
The author of the article is the late Bill Harris, founder of the Centerpointe Research Institute
Headers and underlines in text: Empowerment Coaching