September 25, 2016

World Spirituality Retreat: Day 2 – Cleaning Up: The Nature of Shadow

by Leyna Roget

I notice a succinct metaphor in working within the body today; our parts comprise a body, our awakened body reclaims participation within the network of ‘all that is’. There is a kind of ‘flatland’ premise that in raising children, parents’ inextricable damage their psyche so that a majority of ones life is spent equalizing those injuries. Marc Gafni begins with this example to illustrate the second principle of cultivating world spirituality: cleaning up.

Gafni redirects this theory to say that although your parents conceived you, essence has birthed you thru the vessel of your parents. Therein they are only one part of the puzzle that is your perception on this life. In seeking to find our way, we develop humility and compassion towards our parents. Then we notice the relevance of cleaning up, as relevant to our thought forms and belief systems (concrete and energetic), in order to realize the perfection of our creation. So really, from conception by our unique parents, we underwent unique challenges, which have lead us to the unique selves we are today.

Carl G. Jung introduced the term “shadow” to describe the repressed or denied parts of the Self. The practice of Shadow Work engages a “personal growth process which brings your hidden powers out of the shadow and into the light…and become more and more who we really are.” Gafni asserts that engaging in this evolution of consciousness is a luxury for many, and delving into the depths of one’s evil is especially undesirable. Through Shadow Work you are supposed take these repressed and denied qualities and then integrate them back into your self. In Gafni’s “reality consideration” (mind you, “not a lecture” he says, haha), we examine how integration of radical and destructive desires is problematic. These negative cravings are themselves not necessary to the whole of our experience as instead it’s the structure of the darkness that is transformative.

To simplify Shadow Work and say “follow your darkness it will bring you to the light” has dangerous implications as a broad teaching. Alternately, we consider an esoteric reference to the Book of Solomon (Chapter 2, Ecclesiastecles): “greater is wisdom than folly, greater is light than darkness” with the original translation for “than” as “that comes from”. The text becomes: “greater is wisdom that comes from the folly, greater is light that comes from the darkness”. Whoa. Right about now is when my head starts experiencing that throb of a post-strobe light flashing.

As Caplan mentioned earlier in the day, once we apply attention to something our prahna (life force) awakens to it presence, so if we clarify those things that trouble us the most we actually find the light is hidden in the darkness. Gafni connects this to mean, “if the fool would follow his folly he would be wise”. In the new enlightenment teaching of world spirituality, each person’s shadow “is a distortion of your unique, awakened self that needs, desires and wants to be lived.” The cleaning up of the shadow, therefore, makes sense in the context of waking up to the unique self. While I’m less likely to daydream about my uncomfortable, sad side, I notice that apart from a mild anxiety towards identifying my unique shadow, there is a profound excitement to uncovering potential that’s been hiding in the dark.

Leyna Roget networks with community organizations and businesses to introduce the inspiring stories of Planet Progress and the developing works of iNDIGO PROjECT MEDIA. She captures on and off camera images for Blog posts, Twitter updates, and various other engaging platforms to bring the viewer into the company’s interconnected sphere. Leyna creates new outlets and sustainable community events that invite the public to interact with iPM.
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