Psycho Spiritual maturity does not happen without doing what is called "Shadow Work".
Recognizing and integrating your psychological shadow is one of the four "essential" spiritual transformation practices. (The other three are: some form of meditation /brain training practice, a "lectio divina" practice, and embodiment practices.)
Shadow Work is Strategy of the Spirit #12
Simply put, shadow work asks us to become whole and integrated. It challenges us to become comfortable with both our light and our shadow.
The spiritual practice of shadow encourages us to make peace with those parts of ourselves that we find to be despicable, unworthy, and embarrassing — our anger, jealousy, pride, selfishness, violence, and other "evil" deeds....Shadow work is a corrective to any tendency to make spirituality into simplistic feelings of sweetness and light; it balances Pollyanna thinking." Spirituality & Practice
Working on the Dark Side Can Be Tricky
The tricky part about shadow work is that we often are unconscious of our darker shadow aspects. Rather than recognize them within ourselves, we project them outward and see them instead in others or the world around us. Future blog posts will speak of specific ways to recognize your shadow. (Hint: the shadow is often at work when we see qualities we don't like in others.) There are resources listed below if you want to get started now.
You Can't Have Shadow Without Light
Shadow work is not complete unless it also helps us recognize and reclaim our gifts. We often become disconnected from our gifts and talents. We project them outward as well, yet see them easily in others whom we admire or envy.
Shadow work is not about perfection; it’s about integration. It is the path of reclaiming each and every aspect of ourselves and discovering how that aspect can serve us.Debbie Ford
Four Resources to Jump Start Your Shadow Work Practice
1. DVDThe Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self, an Interactive Movie ExperienceThe Shadow Effect is also sold as a book, but I am recommending the interactive DVD as a very powerful way to jumpstart your understanding of the Shadow. You may be able to get it from your library, and you can also click on title above to find it on Amazon. Have a notebook & pen handy when you watch it.
2. BOOK:By Debbie Ford: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreamsby Debbie FordA good place to start to understand how projection works.
3. JOURNAL EXERCISES: The Spirituality & Practice website is a goldmine of quality teaching, e-courses, reviews and practices for psycho-spiritual transformation. Here are some journal exercises to jumpstart a Shadow Work practice.
4. CINEMA THERAPY:Choose from a list of 34 movies that illustrate the shadow at work in the lives of individuals, society, nations and corporations. Find the list here.
Relax into "warts & all" wholeness.
Exploring and integrating your Shadow is liberating. The energy you reclaim can then serve your talents and the world.