Anyone ready to look at their dark side? It’s not a place many of us like to go. Let’s be honest. We prefer to think of ourselves as the good side, light-workers, healers, at the vanguard of a shift in consciousness. I’m listening to an online workshop with Carolyn Myss and Andrew Harvey exploring the Shadow. As I listened to this week’s episode (week 2, Shadow in Personal Relationship) Caroline Myss asserted that everything in life is an extension of our shadow and nothing happens without being driven archetypally. We either become conscious and own it, recognise it and use it to help us remain humble or it will reek havoc as we unconsciously act it out or project it on to others. I was reminded of William Shakespeare’s lines from As You Like It (Act II, Scene vii) “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”
Imagine. Most of us are operating at a level where we think the performance is real. We take on the roles, rejecting some parts, embracing others. Projecting our shadow onto others, judging and condemning the wrong-doers. All the time believing that the character we’ve created – our personality – is the director of the play. I mean, we are in control right? And the show must go on. We remain oblivious to the fact that there are other characters – subpersonalities Assagioli called them – also participating in our show uninvited, rejected, avoided, denied. Archetypal shadows undermining our performance, tripping us up, catching us unaware. It is not until we can embrace our darkness as well as our light that we can truly become all that we can possibly be. All that we were born to be.
It also brought to mind one of my all time favourite Rumi quotes:
My life journey and my work is dedicated to finding this field. There. I’ve said it. Committed it to writing! Until I find it, I cannot rest, for there will always be work to be done.
Useful Links if you want to know more:
The Shadow Course by Caroline Myss and Andrew Harvey is available via Sounds True
More on Roberto Assagioli’s psychosynthesis
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