Seeing our shadow(s) and uncovering the Truth of who we really are
As I mention on the home page, the spiritual path is not for everyone and it requires courage and perserverence. Contrary to popular belief, the spiritual path isn’t all love, compassion and feeling exhalted all the time. Yes, the spiritual path can be serendipitous, magical and full of beautiful experiences, but it can also be full of uncertainty, doubt and hidden traps.
In the previous blog post, I talked about embarking on the spiritual path. It is an inner calling to meet our True Self. The ego (our identity or the subconscious mind) is the mask that we have put on to survive in this world. The ego is borne out of separation and as a result, we constantly compare ourselves with others to see whether we measure up or not.
When our ego is running the story that we are less then (others) we become insecure and superimpose another behaviour over it (out of shame and so nobody will see). We may become arrogant or perfectionists or people pleasers. When our ego is running a story that we are better than (others), we may feel entitled, extremely judgmental and unable to feel empathy (racism is the shadow side of that).
So, when we begin the "inner work processes of self-awareness, self-reflection, self-discovery, self-understanding, self-transformation, which finally leads to self-love and self-mastery" as mentioned on the home page, we will discover that which has (until this day) been hidden from our view (and thus remained in the shadow). What we may discover is that, deep down, we feel that we:
are unworthy (of love)
not good enough
never measure up
are all alone
are deeply flawed
to name a few...
The coming to light of our unconscious beliefs can cause us to feel impatience, frustration and full out anger, but also sadness, grief and full out despair may surface. It is therefore important that you have a coach or mentor or peer group to help you and guide you through it.
The key to navigating these heavy emotions and the dark thoughts that accompany them, is to witness them without getting involved (like observing them as though you are an outsider looking in). This is a skill that must be developed, for without witnessing and being neutral, we will assign meaning to the process and remain stuck. Assigning meaning will give it energy, either positive or negative energy: it is good or bad, true or false, right or wrong etc. etc. and by giving it energy it only increases. This is why "what we resist persists." Resisting something gives it meaning and energy, therefore keeping it in place.
True witnessing, however, is looking at something from the place of an objective observer: what is happening is not good nor bad, it simply IS. Witnessing is THE KEY to releasing false beliefs, for witnessing releases the energy that we previously assigned to it.
The ego, however, is cunning and can trap us into thinking that
it is too hard,
we are doing it all wrong,
we are not making any progress,
we are deeply flawed,
we'll never make it
is it really true?
I was happier before.
Recognize them. These are just extensions/varieties of the previous list above and designed to interfere with our growth.
Discovering what lies in the shadow is actually GOOD NEWS.
Why? Because it is uncovering everything that is FALSE about us and which is covering up who we truly are. This false programming has been running our life, keeping us small, stuck and unhappy. Yet, in truth we are already everything we desire. We are whole and complete.
We are LOVE. We are LOVED!
During this process of self-awareness and self-discovery, we begin to develop a healthy ego. By a healthy ego I mean an ego that
has discovered the subconscious beliefs that run our actions and reactions,
has faced and can now manage the (borderline) addictions that strengthen these subconscious beliefs, and
takes responsibility for unconscious behaviours that have created the past experiences and results in our lives.
A healthy ego has integrated these unconscious parts into a healthy, balanced and compassionate outlook on oneself and others. We will no longer be victims of our unconscious addictive patterns, running to fix this and that, seeking confirmation of who we are in order to feel good about ourselves. This is the self-transformation that happens naturally from releasing unconscious patterns and tendencies.
We will start to lovingly accept ourselves as a whole, including the shiny parts as well as the crusty bits. This is the self-love that I spoke of before. When we reach this part, life becomes easier and more meaningful. This is when we will be able to manifest our deepest desires without any effort, attracting it to us instantly. This is when the Truth shall be revealed. This is when we become masters.