Friends, This moment is provoking a surge of fear, economic uncertainties and general vulnerability on many aspects of our lives. This stress can activate our instinctive threat response in our brain which when left unattended can lead to huge problems in our relationships. Our threat response is designed to mobilize against any perceived threat in order to guarantee our survival. One aspect of that threat perception which is very important to understand and become aware of is that when we are in it the people closest to us can also be perceived as a threat. Even the people who in fact we love and who love us can be perceived through our threat response perception as an enemy, mistrusted, against us, questioning the validity of their intentions, their commitment and the goodness of the relationship itself etc.
Basically we loose contact with the part of the brain which can perceive the reality of safety, reliability, calm and trust which is also available but can’t be seen, felt or experienced because the focusing element of the brain has been hijacked by the threat response. This opens the door way for what we call the Shadow to enter into the relational field. What is the shadow? The Shadow as we see it is an aspect of ourselves which we never learned how to deal with growing up as children because we most likely were judged as bad and we were unlovable by our care givers and society as a whole when we acted out from those aspects of ourselves. So in order to be loved, seen and accepted we needed to repress them into the subconscious. So when we are triggered by stress today and can’t “keep it all together “ these aspects come out and who is closest to us gets the release of all the energy of those repressed parts and our beast comes out from the basement.
The shadow can play out in many ways but more or less we can safely say it comes out through our negativity, the complaining, the nagging and bitching about the world, our partners, the righteousness within us in the conversation which doesn’t care if your position is complete in the truth really but doesn’t want to loose the position of being right.
The lies which come out of the mouth so fast you yourself aren’t even aware that you just lied about where you were, what you were doing and who you were with. The internalized envy which looks a person up and down, comments internally on what they are wearing, what they do or don’t do for a living and judges them as inferior and less than yourself.
Or maybe your reading this and saying “that’s probably so about other people and I hate people like that but that’s not me. I am a good, loving, spiritual person. It’s those guys out there who are evil not me” and it’s easy to fall into that illusion when you look at the news and media today, the behaviors of the leaders with the most power. In some way it can be a relief from our own critical internal dialog when we see people “much worse” acting out. I’m then not that bad, right?
It’s too easy to point the finger and say, their is the shadow playing out there. The hate, the corruption, the complete disregard for human rights and the deep coldness which sees others animals and the planet itself suffering but doesn’t give a shit. Who’s sole interest is in self preservation and packs of emotional revenge against the world and everyone one in it. The victimhood we place ourselves in and escape any ownership of responsibility of the shadow by playing small, fragile and insignificant as a strategy to hide ones power and not risk being exposed in our pride which is afraid of failure and therefore hides our own ambition and lust for power and success. You might be saying, ok that’s pretty intense stuff but that’s not me. I am really good and I help people in this world and do great things for humanity…probably so…that is one side which we all have within us. We are loving, generous, accepting, non racist beings but what happens when you get triggered, when someone disappoints you, betrays your trust, doesn’t do it your way? Who are you when your late driving your car to an apointment and some idiot is blocking the fast lane, on their cell phone and laughing totally oblivious to you and driving really bad. What happens to the buddha in you then? Or if you really want to see your shadow I invite you to just look into your relationships. Especially the ones which involve sexuality as they are the most provocative.
How do you behave when the neibors aren’t around and your kids push you past the limit of no return and your partner tells you to do one more thing in that tone of voice or with that facial expression which just sends you off your rocker? How to you behave then? Maybe you manage to control it just enough to make it to the bed room but on the way down the hallway your already cursing, wishing for them all to die and feel an uncontainable desire to scream as loud as possible? Or maybe you don’t manage to contain it at all and unleash a counter attack like a bomb going off in the house and everyone around you is destroyed with your violence, aggressive words, dominating phycological and vicious comments of piercing judgments. Or maybe you simply take all that anger and rage and controle it, turn up your nose and look at them all with “compassion” and pity from a posture of superiority and higher spiritual authority. Making yourself bigger and making them feel smaller and guilty so that you can feel I am truly better and more evolved than all of you!
Or maybe your shadow internalizes so no one can see it from the outside but you terrorize yourself with self judgment about your body, your looks, your actions, words, what you did, what you didn’t do is always wrong and you hide yourself in a cage and blame yourself, the world and everyone around you for your suffering and isolation. And when someone tries to help you, you might react in silent anger or more self pity where the only result is their own guilt for failure to help you. Once they fall to their knees in failure and begging for forgiveness for any pain they might have caused you, you smile inside as you know you just won the game. You defeated them without having to expose yourself as angry, hurt and wanting revenge, you keep the perfect good boy, good girl image that you never get angry like all those bad mean people out there. And an internalized hidden pride smiles as you take the aggressive ones down and beat them in their own game. It’s the same shadow. It just plays out differently. And we are all in this together. Me, you and all of our brothers and sisters on this planet. The beauty of this is when we can own it and see it as it is, we gain the power back as our nervous system doesn’t need to constantly struggle to keep it all hidden. It can be seen and owned with an atitude of absolute responsibility which starts to integrate the shadow energy into a relaxed confidence and true dignity which doesn’t need to hide anything. Let me repeat that…with absolute responsibility…means this is mine and I own it. Then we start our work of integrating the shadow and healing ourselves, our relationships and the planet.
Then instead of dumping our shadow on our partners, friends, colleagues, family and ourselves we start taking back the energy which creates integrity, dignity and empowerment which comes by seeing and owning the whole realty of ourselves. I am a loving compassionate being who when triggered and when provoked can become a manifestation of darkness and unconsciousness. This statement is the doorway for healing. This is our part in this whole mess of humanity. This is what we can do to make a difference in the world around us and especially our relationships. To not be afraid of the shadow but to own it and be responsible in it. Then the blame game dissolves and real connection is possible, real understanding, empathy and communication is possible.
We will be working with this theme in our longer online courses if you would like to work with us within this theme. We will offer maps and tools to do this shadow work and use the opportunity of what gets triggered in our relationships as material to heal ourselves, which in results starts a healing movement with those we relate with. This can create a wave of transformation on this planet which is in our hands to participate in and create.
This is an invitation to join us on this mission and this pathway of participating in making a difference with the power of awareness of the Shadow and light within each one of us.