The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung – Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Darkness and light exist within us. Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung looked at the subject of good and evil in a very unique light.
According to him, one cannot deny the existence of darkness in oneself.
As people, consciously or unconsciously, we are susceptible to negative emotions, and that chemistry has found many negative hormones residing in the human body. Jung referred to the “dark side” in humans as the Shadow.
“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
The ego likes to imagine that we are inherently good by nature and we do not dwell in any form of negativity.
However, when we are hurt by someone, we go overboard with anger and resentment.
In other instances, when we go through failure or somebody unexpectedly points a finger at us, we are filled with sudden fear, guilt, and confusion. When we are faced with this experience we instantly put up our defenses to protect our identity.
We can feel the vulnerability in our gut, but despite that, we are able to put up a face to justify as much as we can. And as soon as it is over, our conscious mind forgets about it because there is a variety of other things to deal with.
A few years ago neuroscientists found that human thoughts have certain rhythms and frequencies which have a large influence on our behavior, and good and evil are facets of human behavior.
The feelings of vulnerability and anger you experienced, never really had the chance to be displayed and instead got sorted in your shadow, which, time and again, is resurfacing in the shape of negativity and insecurity, acting as a trigger to negative actions.
Your shadow’s storage of emotions has a crucial role to play in your relationship with yourself, particularly when it comes to setting yourself free.
The world we inhabit is just a mirror, reflecting our own inner state back to us.
If you are filled with love for yourself and those around you, you will experience people who are feeling this love and their love will inevitably be reflected back to you. On the other hand, if all you notice in the outer world is filled with anger and disharmony, there must be a deeper battle raging inside you.
Unless we accept our own darkness, we are condemned to be its victim. The cost of a non-confronted shadow is dear – need to control others, need to exert power, need to show supremacy due to insecurity.
The shadow rules our consciousness and becomes the root cause of turbulence which continually projects itself onto others.
According to psychology, our consciousness needs to face the shadow for a healthy mind and body. It needs to be sublimated so it can break free from its chains.
Consciousness is inherently free and never bounded. Jung made it clear that achieving wholeness largely depends on the ability of a person to own their shadow. But what does owning your shadow exactly mean?
The ego is not fond of the shadow. Hence, it meddles with all the possible chances you take to figure out what is weighing you down. Nevertheless, you can start this journey through self-observation and introspection.
The first step is to start making mental notes of negative feelings, which will lead to a contraction in your body’s energy. As soon as you reach the root of the feeling, you can command it at will. You may want to convert it into something positive in order to rise to a higher self.
When you acknowledge the existence of vulnerability and anger in yourself, you will find a conscious solution to deal with it.
Negativity will no longer have the power to unconsciously rule over your life. The shadow will become your ally which will help in conquering the thoughts that bring you down.
Thoughts that feed your energy levels are good for the expansion of your consciousness, while thoughts that lower your energy are contracting your consciousness. Darkness versus light is better understood in terms of the expansion and contraction of the collective feelings of humanity!
For a deeper understanding of the Shadow concept, see the video below.
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