Humankind’s experience of life here on planet Earth is defined by polarities: yin and yang, male and female,love and fear, light and shadow, life and death. We are all seeking, whether consciously or not, the means to find balance within these polarities. For centuries, the institution of religion has attempted to provide us with ways of not only understanding such polarities, but ways of finding peace within the ongoing challenges these polarities present to us. Most institutionalized religions adopt a code of ethics and beliefs by which we can live. While this path can often offer us some guidance with which to navigate life’s challenges, many religious paths remain subjected to the very polarities they seek to resolve. Sadly, history reveals unthinkable tragedies in the name of religion. Despite all good intentions for world religions to foster peace, the hidden shadow dance of fear often dominates the intended goal of love.
We all have a shadow. As human beings, we are susceptible not only to our own hidden shadow, but to the cultural and global shadows at work. We cannot escape the influence of these hidden shadows without embarking on a personal journey into shadow work. There is no greater opportunity for such a journey to unfold than what the shadow presents to us in the realm of relationships. Our closest, most intimate relationships offer us a consistent reflection of both our shining light and our hidden shadow. Every relationship involves a hidden shadow dance that is inevitably exposed by the light of love. Our success in navigating the unannounced emergence of our shadow in relationship depends upon our capacity to confront, take ownership and make peace with the nature of our shadow. It is when we remain unconscious of our own shadow that we fall prey to blaming and projecting these unresolved attributes onto the other, wherein the shadow dance begins between the self and the other. The dance becomes more complex and intense when the other is also unconscious of their own shadow being triggered and mirrored. At this point, both people are successfully entwined in a hidden shadow dance which begins the erosion of love. For the light dance to return, blame and projection must be withdrawn. Healing will require each person to undertake their own shadow work in order to untangle and revoke the shadow dance. If two come together, whether husband and wife, parent and child or friends, with the understanding that love is a principle, not an emotion, there is a strong foundation. It is only when one, or both, allow the unresolved emotions of the shadow to be stronger than love that the intensity of the dancing shadows drives them apart.
It is a known fact the mind is composed of both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is home to all that is readily available to us on the surface while the subconscious mind houses all that is hidden from our conscious awareness. Our daily habitual patterns and desires constitute the conscious thoughts as a very small percent compared to the deep well of programming that inhabits the larger percent of the subconscious mind. For most of us, the conditioned and programmed beliefs of the subconscious are unconsciously at work in our lives. Bruce Lipton, an extraordinary spiritual scientist, defines both the conscious and subconscious minds at work in a concept he calls the “honeymoon effect“. According to Lipton, it is the conscious mind which dominates our thinking and behavior during our initial relationship encounters while the subconscious mind remains hidden. The conscious mind is focused on its immediate desires to look good, feel good and habitually think and behave towards the goal to love and be loved. Yet, the clock is ticking as to how long we remain under the spell of the conscious mind before the subconscious mind, home of the shadow, arrives on the scene. It usually arrives in the throws of a stressful or challenging situation, and comes as a surprise. Our new partner, who has steadily exhibited a soft, kind, caring demeanor is suddenly yelling at us in anger. It is unfortunately not a one time occurrence. The shadow has come to stay. The dance has begun, and the honeymoon is over.
This conjuncture is is inevitable in almost all relationships. Relationships are designed to help us grow and learn, to help us “know thyself “. We can only receive the gifts of these lessons if we are willing to embrace our personal shadow work. Every person we meet is a mirror for us in which to witness both our light and our shadow. Their light helps our light shine, and their shadow triggers our shadow. It is our unwillingness to face our shadow that results in relationship conflict. Shadow work is not always easy. It is a journey inside, to the depths of our subconscious, to explore the core of our beliefs. It requires us to find whatever tools we need to assist our inner voyage, whether that be our own inner strength and silence, the aid of a healing practitioner, a group experience or whatever calls us. More often than not, we overcome our fear of the shadow when we realize it upholds primarily ancestral and programmed beliefs that do not belong to us, and do not serve us. Our shadow beliefs and behaviors can be healed with conscious reprogramming to suit the life we desire.
An aware reprogramming of the subconscious shadow is in essence a spiritual journey, inside, to the heart of our own spirit being. Our religions have a tendency to keep us focused outside ourselves, and collectively adhering to specific doctrines. If our faith does not support an inward journey to meet the God essence of ourselves, and thus of others, something is missing. The light we all carry, eternally, is inside us hidden with the shadow. To know thyself is a deeply personal journey to discover ones own light. There are many paths, whether religious or spiritual, to take us there. Ultimately, we are all on the same path headed for the same destination. We need not fear the shadow for it only exists because of the light that shines on it. The light reveals that which needs healing, and with healing, the shadow has no more power. Our strength and freedom is to be found in the light of who we truly are and are meant to be. Dragonfly says we are meant to heal our shadows hidden in the depths of the dark, emotional waters of our being. We are destined to soar in the light.