The Spiritual Side of the Shadow

At times, we might express words or attitudes that seem opposite of our image of being good, kind, and “spiritual.”   We might joke that it was our “Evil Twin,” a staple of soap operas.   Growing spiritually means lifting out of the soap opera experience –  problems, inner conflicts, and hidden agendas – and into a greater life.

The Evil Twin is a way to project all the parts of ourselves that don’t fit in with the ego’s good identity.   In psychology, this is called the Shadow, an archetype of the parts of ourselves that we reject.   In our desire to be seen as “good,” we reject those parts of ourselves we call “bad.”   It’s how we were socialized, that some things were acceptable and others were not. So we start to disown the unacceptable parts of ourselves,

But the parts we repress still grow and mature as a secondary personality, a life under the surface.  A great example is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  The upright and moral Dr. Jekyll, after drinking a potion, acts out his baser instincts as the coarse brute Mr. Hyde.

Carl Jung, the great psychologist who named the Shadow, said “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. Own your shadow or it will own you.”    For like a scolded child, it will find expression in some way.

Part of our spiritual work is to recognize shadow elements in ourselves, what we have rejected.  What seems “bad,” an error, or sin, is really the opportunity to embrace all the parts of ourselves in a greater way.   For the word “sin” is from an archery term meaning “missing the mark.”   It’s not a character label, but simply an opportunity to correct our aim and form.

As we accept our shadow qualities, we can look with compassion on others.   Accepting what we have disowned brings greater integration, wholeness and balance. We give every aspect of ourselves a seat at the table.

We are Divine beings – spiritual beings having an experience on the human plane.   We are all on the path of remembering who we are.   Whenever we condemn ourselves, feel less than or wrong can be an opportunity to remember our Divinity and love ourselves even more.

Every instance of shame or blame can be a reminder that we and all beings are whole, perfect, and complete.   We can reconnect to our Divine Source at any moment and lift up into a greater experience of light, love, and joy.    Not only are we lifted, we also become a healing presence and blessing to the world.

Many blessings to you,

Rev. Gena


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