How To Integrate Your Shadow When Awakening
The spiritual path can be one of hardship, challenge, confusion and even isolation. The spiritual path is one of commitment, dedication and often single-minded unwavering.
The spiritual path follows a set of higher-order principles that govern our existence. Our stringent and sincere following of these principles will determine the quality of the life we live and the quality and evolution of our relationships.
Be on a consciously awakened path means dealing with the fullness of what life may offer. It is not choosing a polarised view of life, for that is not a life that is full, complete and whole.
Integration is a conscious process
When we consciously and actively choose to tread a path of awakening (higher-order principles), we become deeply devotional to this path. This does not mean that we ignore the physical wonder that is life, but it does mean that we become un-wavered in our posturing towards this complete Truth.
Being on a devotional and discriminative path is not for all. It comes with deep rooted challenges and as we deeply explore the chasms of our being and begin to exploit our infinitesimal nature and potentiality we automatically partake in very real human experiences.
This is inclusive of the ‘uglier’ side of self, life and relationships arising within our conscious being. When we choose to grow, evolve ourselves and experience new and innovative ways of seeing and being in this world it will come with some form of hardship, fear, pain and challenge.
The reality is none of this is ‘bad’. It is all growing pains. It is what is required of our character, our soul’s expression in order to transmute the old and swell deeply in to the new.
You Must Cultivate The Tools
Creating substance in our existence requires time; it requires patience, careful attention and deliberate intention. It is in this space of heightened awareness that we can take advantage of the profound teachings that come with growing through our pain points.
We often think that choosing an ‘awakened journey’ exemplifies us from hardship or the experience of human difficulty. We must be patient and realise that we are quite polarised by nature until the very later stages of this transformative revolution of self.
And in the interim (or spiritual teething period if you like) we must be patient with our growth and realise some deep truths about the path of the awakened or spiritual warrior and that is that there will be hardship and with that hardship, that challenge we will grow but not with out a deeper revealing of self.
The Journey & Higher-Order Principles
It is in this deeper revealing that we discover who we truly are. It is in this fullness of exposure of the inner self that we recognise in order to be awakened, adhere to higher order principles, be centered, be conscious and be self-aware we will move through and pass through aspects of self that are appear to not be healthy.
It is the very moving in to, surrendering to and accepting of these various faces of self that allow us to then transcend them and continue to evolve our journey. We realise profoundly that we cannot grow with out ‘doing the work’. And doing the work is defined by an embracing of the shadow self. For it is in the shadow self that we become empowered enough to know who we need to be in alignment with our authentic truth and higher order principles.
What Is The Shadow?
“The shadow is everything that we (individually and collectively) hide from, that we fear, despise, that we hate, that horrifies us, triggers us emotionally, annoys us, disgusts us and that we cannot align or tolerate with in others and / or within ourselves. Our shadow is made up of impulses, behaviours, beliefs, thoughts, emotions and states that we find too painful, embarrassing or distasteful to accept and recognise. So instead of dealing, embracing and acknowledging we ignore, repress and forget – this is truly saddening.” – S.Sifandos.
Remaining unconscious from our pain, from what we are avoiding is easy. There is no challenge in remaining in an easy state of being; therefore there is no growth. No challenge in life, no growth. It is not easy to face the fullness of what and who we are and what and who we have been…
The reality is that the only way to be whole is to embrace all aspects of who we truly are. That is why it is not only important we ‘do the work’ here with the shadow self, but we understand the why behind it and we understand the depth and importance behind the shadow self.
Duality and polarity is where we are. The shadow has surrounded us with a fog of illusion. Our split self is the first and most damaging illusion. This disconnection from the wholeness of who we are has caused us to negate key aspects of self, to engage in self-hate, self-loathing and toxic shame and guilt.
This posture permeates through society, to our children, our loved ones and continues to distance us from our true selves.
It is necessary then to make the unknown, known – the unconscious, conscious; by placing attention to this area we begin to gain clarity and get truthful and real with who we are. It requires courage, it requires a distinct level of powerful honesty, but we can do it, you can do this and when you do, you will feel a freedom.
The shadow self (as labelled originally by Carl Jung) can also be known as the lower self, animal nature, the alter ego, or the inner demon – the place where the disowned part of our personality resides.
Our shadow self is the part of us that generally remains unknown, unexamined, and out of the light of our conscious awareness – this is the case because it is usually too painful to reconcile or begin to understand.
But not understanding this leads to deep confusion. Not owning ourselves in full leads to repetitive and undesirable behaviours that draw us further away from our authentic power, truth and spiritual path.
These aspects or reflective pieces of self are denied or suppressed because it makes us uncomfortable or deeply fearful. Whatever does not resemble our image of our projected ideal self becomes and results in experience (both conscious and unconscious) of our shadow.
Because we then ignore, blame and prosecute the shadow we disown it and label it as ‘bad’. It is far form bad – in fact it is a vital part of our nature.
Carl Jung asked the pertinent question: “Would you rather be good or whole”? Many of us may choose goodness, and as a result, experience fracture, disconnection, pain and separation from understanding self. It is this choice that distances us from the path of the awakened soul.
It is especially important to explore our shadow as we strive for personal evolution of self and transformational growth, because if we can be whole, balanced and equilibrated in our approach to life we will increase our capacity to liberate ourselves from continuous and chronic pain.
If we do not assume a balanced posture we will experience disharmony of self with self and with others. This occurs because what we resist in life tends to persist and even become a stronger, more prominent and dominant aspect of life. If we resist our dark side, it becomes harder and more dense – we become weighted heavily with the burden of doubt, fear and consistent experiential tension.
It is essential we actively and consciously choose to understand that the path of higher-order principles, spirituality or ‘being awake’ requires an attitude that encompasses all that we are.
When we choose to accept all that we are, we accelerate our growth and inward expansion of self. We accelerate our capacity to be the grandest versions of ourselves, by simply being in reverence for all that we truly are. Choosing to integrate the fullness of self, is ultimately choosing to expand the infinitesimal nature of our cosmic consciousness.
One is always glad to be of service.
Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author
Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author