Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kelly Sosan Bearer - Hot On The Shadow's Trail

Kelly Sosan Bearer wrote this great article for Integral Life, one of many that are available free online. You can find more of her work at her blog, Black Plum.

[Please note that my endorsement of any of Kelly's articles does not in any way entail an endorsement of her support for the re-emergence of Marc Gafni in the integral community.]

Hot On The Shadow's Trail

The Hidden Aspects of Self

One of the great discoveries of modern Western psychology is the fact that human beings have the potential to disown, repress, and dissociate aspects of their own being and project those aspects onto others or the world. The shadow, also known as the disowned self, is the playground where our hidden aspects dwell.

Anyone who has committed to or even dabbled with a spiritual practice knows that practice rarely changes our experience of our family during the holidays. No matter how deeply we practice, we still go home for Christmas and act in automatic and unconscious ways. Why is that? Well, there are a number of reasons. The main reasons may be that transformation is slow and hard won and the fact that many spiritual practices do not facilitate an awareness or re-integration of the shadow. The shadow is created when we split off or dissociate from an aspect of our personality that we find threatening. Although presumably “hidden,” this disowned shadow shows up all over the place. In fact, what we hide from ourselves is obvious to everyone around us. Most people can see our shadow... plain as day; we are the only ones who find it difficult to see ourselves.

Before we go on, let's listen to Diane Musho Hamilton, a Sensei in the Zen tradition and an Integral Life Practice trainer, share an explanation of the shadow, what it looks like, how to spot it, and how to work with it.

So as Diane discussed, a common way that we deal with our own shadow is through projection. We project our undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, or feelings onto someone or something else. When we do so, our motivations, feelings, and traits appear "outside" of us, as an external source of aggravation, irritation, or obsession.
Read the whole piece.

No comments: