Friday, January 26, 2007

Chasing the Shadow

What happens when we focus on our shadows? Constantly looking for the bad things? Can we eliminate them? Is our job ever done?

Desire, and wanting, is a gift from the Kosmos. Our desires define us, and make us the unique individuals we are. It's not desire in and of itself that needs to be suppressed, the problem is in not realizing that we will never have everything we want. Oh, we may get what we want right now, but then we're going to want something else, and when we have that, something else again. It never ends.

Let's say someone wanted to be in a relationship. Once they get that desire and they're in a relationship, they may want to move in together, or get married, and get a place of their own. A couple of years go by and they want a house. Then they may want a bigger house....or a smaller house. The point is, once one desire is fulfilled, others eventually move in to take its place.

The trick with desire is realizing we will never get everything we want.

It seems to me the same thing is true with my quest to expose my shadows. I may bring some to light and lessen the impact of that particular shadow on me, but there's always another one right behind it....and another..and another.....We are always going to have shadows. It's how we're made and how we work and don't work.

Shadow awareness is all about shifting our vantage point, to put the ego in perspective, and to turn the disassociated into the differentiated. The problem is, even shadow awareness appears to have a shadow.

I know Ken Wilber has said that our shadows are the single most important block in our transformation, and that we need to pay attention there can be no doubt. But recently I find myself paying so much attention to the shadow, I'm beginning to wonder what part my shadow is playing in the desire to disidentify with my shadow and bring it into the light?

In his recent teleconference call, Integral Institute's David Zeitler said there's an obsession within the integral community around transformation.

I wonder how much of that obsession is our shadow chasing our shadow? Like desire, there is no bottom, no ending to our shadows.


Tom Mull said...

Hey Gary: Transformation happens all by itself we only need to quit fighting the process. God (The Authentic Self) Transforms and Tom (the egoic self) Translates. When Tom wants to Transform or to find shadows or whatever he's just not doing the right job and everything just gets messed up. Maybe we just make to much work out of it. How about play. Let the Authentic Self observe whatever arises (the egoic self included) and the egoic self will then know how to translate accordingly as "Tom" is Transcended and Included (Basic Structures Included, Surface Structures abandoned or kept according to translative necessity). =)

Chris Fowler said...

Hi Gary, I believe shadow only comes to awareness as a distraction from light, and only becomes an obsession when we abandon seeking the light. We only need to pursue shadow when we trip on our journey forward... hmmm, what was that I tripped over? Same as last time???.. hmmm. Chris

Gary Stamper said...

Thanks. Chris and Tom, for adding so much to what I've written. These are valuable contributions.