To reach true liberation on the spiritual path it is imperative that you face your shadows. There is no other way. If you ever want to stabilize your spiritual realization and understanding you cannot skip this step. Many, due to the enormous flattening of spiritual wisdom out there, use spirituality to escape. Spirituality is meant to fully and deeply be what you are. And to rid yourself of everything that is inauthentic within. If you want liberation, you’ll have to give up any form of bypassing.
Shadows – an Opportunity for Honesty
We are all deeply conditioned. None of us starts as a clean slate. The moment we enter this body, we take on human collective conditioning. It truly is a form of matrix. This matrix is what tells us that procreation, money, sex, power etc is so important. It is what convinces us that by holding on to our nation, memories, religion and so on, we will gain safety. It makes us kill in the name of God. Wage wars for the sake of personal benefit. This conditioning is the craziness of humanity. Shadow work is what enables you, the individual, to break free and find lasting sanity. Facing your shadows silently and lovingly, opens the door to an incredible honesty and humility.
On the one hand you see the web of the matrix and can break free. Simultaneously you realize to what degree humanity is steeped in suffering. This tears your heart open. You are freed and humbled at the same time. This new found freedom calls you to help others, to be of service. This is why meeting your shadows is both important on a personal level and an impersonal level.
Using Spirituality as an Escape
People go around today using the word spirituality as if it were some cool trend. There’s this bizzare thing called “the spiritual scene”. In it, people give each other long hugs, stare at each other’s eyes for an unbearably long time and think it is spiritual. People follow “their feelings” and in that hurt their parents, partners and friends and call it spiritual. Some wear loose cloths and say they “flow with the moment” and think this is spiritual. In truth this has nothing to do with spirituality. It only gave true spirituality a very bad reputation. True spirituality is the realization of Truth. Period. It has nothing to do with a certain style of living, clothing of jargon of words. It means being totally and utterly truthful.
But because being truthful requires a rare degree of transparency and to pay the price of being seen, most people pass. Most simply prefer being socially accepted and liked. This is called using spirituality to escape. It’s the opposite of meeting one’s shadows. A little bit of meditation to feel chill. Some yoga lesson to calm the body. A festival here and there. It’s like a hobby. The problem with this approach is that you remain caught up in the matrix. You can’t be freed in this way. You may feel temporary relief but your issues will keep haunting you.
Your Shadows Hold The Light
The secret hidden right at the heart of your shadows is that they hold in them tremendous wisdom and light. Your shadows tell you that it is dangerous to face them. But you think this voice is yours! It’s not. It’s part of the matrix. You’ll be surprised that by meeting your darkness, you literally reveal the light of the Divine. Not only that – but you also discover your Soul. This is exciting news! It means that in your shadows lies the very door to knowing yourself truly. So not only there’s nothing scary about probing in your darkness but in fact it is a source of light, freedom and joy. Truth is: your shadows are simply your deepest light in disguise. Look at them intimately, don’t run away and you will be astonished to find only blessings.
Methods for Facing Your Shadows
In my many years of working on myself and working with people I found that methods that combine psycho-spiritual work are the best for transforming shadows. The combination of understanding the psychological structures that bind you alongside with spiritual methods that transform them, is truly a winner. Naturally deep and sincere meditation and inquiry is also needed. In deep silence you can see yourself without judgment and with tenderness. This enables you to make conscious choices that are free from the automation of your shadows. Inquiry and contemplation that stretch beyond the limitations of a close-eyed meditation are best.
Moment to moment your life faces you with interactions and situations that trigger you. If you stay wakeful, silent and inquisitive, you can, in the moment of truth free yourself and come closer to honesty. Any method that helps you see your shadows, understand them and transform them is valid. So go ahead and meet yourself!