Sunday, May 28, 2006

Finding your negative intention

The shadow is the part of us which we don't "see" or "know". The human ego is willing to let us experience only a portion of ourself. There's a wide range of thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs and more which bubble inside us, which we don't always see or realize are there. Our friends probably see them very clearly, but our ego doesn't let us see them.

Some of the shadow is hurtful or harming. Maybe we don't want to admit to dominating or intimidating others. Maybe we don't want to admit to self destructive attitudes. Maybe we are scared of success, for whatever reason, and a part of us will sabotage any path towards success. But those aspects of ourself aren't pleasant to know about, are they? Therefore the ego will keep these aspects of ourself secret. This sort of shadow self is known as the dark shadow.

Another kind of shadow, the golden shadow, is the excellence we are unwilling to admit to. Maybe we are beautiful or brilliant or athletic or creative, and don't admit to this.

Last night I had an experience of the negative intention in my life, and wanted to share a learning about the shadow.

In thinking over my life a series of life-threatening, sometimes near fatal, experiences came to mind. A thought occurred to me that it was as if a part of me didn't want to live at all, and I'd rather die than live. A piece of my shadow, perhaps.

As I often do, I asked the divine guidance to help me see if there is a part of me holding this intention. That is, if a part of me really wants to die rather than live, or whether this is simply something my mind made up. The mind can create all sorts of scenarios and ideas, and it's always good to check the truth of an idea.

Well, we did find some truth to that thought, which I'm sitting with. But that's not the point that I'm inspired to write about.

The learning I spoke of, that I'm inspired to write, is this: It's that seeking out the shadow only leads to pain or suffering.

Yes, the shadow self exists inside us. It is an important spiritual quest to learn of this shadow, throwing some light on the shadow. It's by doing so that our shadow becomes less strong, over time.

However this is not done by seeking out the shadow. Instead one seeks out the light within. I once heard a wise statement: That which you pay attention or give love to grows, that which you ignore withers.

By seeking out the shadow, you are giving attention to your shadow, and your shadow will grow stronger.

This is why, instead, the spiritual practices of many traditions teach us to explore the divine. As we give attention to our positive aspects, the divine part of ourself, that part of ourself will grow. It's not that we would ignore our shadow, but that we would give attention to the divinity within us. As we practice our shadow will automatically show itself. As I said above, there is an important spiritual quest to learn of the shadow, and throw light on the shadow. By practicing the experience of our inner divinity, that's where we get the light to throw on the shadow.