The Eternal Light Beyond Your Shadow Nature

beginners meditation carl jung guided meditation paramhansa yogananda psychology self healing shadow work spiritual awakening spirituality the inner life transformation yoga philosophy Feb 06, 2024

Shadow Transformation

When times are challenging and feelings are painful, all I want to do is 'get out of here' or 'getaway' from it all. Sometimes my darkness can be so debilitating that I fear I am ruining this precious gift that I have been given, this gift of life. It is in these experiences that I have come to learn that projecting the shadow onto the shadow does not heal, but rather, it destroys. There must be another way.

Society has given us many tools to numb the pain with junk food, alcohol, drugs and other stimulating distractions. It is human nature to want to avoid pain and discomfort, and yet that very avoidance is what creates the same old pain, the same old reactive patterns, karma if you will, to resurface over and over again until the will for purification and realisation dominate and spiritual awakening transforms the painful shadow self for good.

The shadow cannot illuminate itself, it must be transformed, it must be seen and transmuted with the light of unconditional love derived from our spiritual power. This is the inner work, the work of self-transformation, and liberation from the clutches of our self-perpetuating darkness and delusions.

Just as the dark moon depends on the sun for its light, so does the inner darkness of our minds depend on the rays of the spirit soul for illumination. Unlike the moon which is dependent on the sun for its light, the sun is self-illuminating, it does not depend on anything outside of itself, so too, the light of the soul and its Source are self-illuminating. This Source is the eternal spiritual light that can heal deeply embedded wounds and the mental/emotional distortions that hide the true nature of our inner divine light, love, joy and ultimate well-being.

In its intrinsic nature, the shadow tends to cast a veil over our innate joy, nirvana, and blissful essence. Our true nature, at its core, embodies unconditional joy, love, light and compassion.

For one who is seeking spiritual freedom, mental purification, and, ultimately, Self-realization, the process of shadow work cannot be bypassed. Engaging in this inner work is a conscious effort to pave the way for the intelligent, intuitive, creative, and free expression of the light of God, the Great Spirit, and the essence of our true divine nature, serving as the driving force of inspiration.

You Cannot Hide from your Shadow

The reactive tendency to avoid pain is to suppress it. From a spiritual perspective, this darkness cannot be contained, as the light of our true nature will always be seeking its liberation and its eternal home in bliss, and by doing so will push the darkness out of the subconscious abyss where it has been strategically buried. The more we push it down, the more it tries to come back up! The law of nature is to purify and liberate the soul. It will not rest until its purpose is accomplished. 

Express and Digress

I have heard of various healing modalities that will advise you to express your emotions and feelings. Let that anger out, beat up some pillows, confront your targets, or change the life circumstances and situations that are triggering the negative reactions and feelings. Although in some circumstances, change may be essential, it is still a band-aid solution, that is covering up the deep wound. This can be noted when people jump from one relationship to the next, or one job to the next, only to find a similar ending in disharmony and a deep feeling of inner lack and unfulfillment

By giving your shadow a voice, not only do you risk harming those around you but you also give energy to the very pain that you want to be free from. Outwardly expressing the shadow is like fueling the source of your negativity within, giving voice to your anger in a negative way will encourage this anger to return with more power, resulting in more pain and delusion.

Healthy Creative Expression

Engaging in healthy shadow work practices can be instrumental in dissolving your shadow nature. Journaling, therapy, meditation, yoga practices, and artistic expression are powerful tools for introspection and exploring the depths of your psyche. These practices provide a safe space to express and process hidden aspects, fostering self-discovery and deep healing.

Transmutation and Transformation

Self-transformation is the practice of recalibrating our dark lower vibrational frequencies into ones of light. 

Through meditation in particular as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda, we aim to transform these negative energies by directing them toward the spiritual eye, the seat of superconsciousness where darkness is powerfully transformed into light.

Focusing energy toward the spiritual eye, situated between the eyebrows, commonly referred to as the third eye or ajna chakra, was a pivotal practice for enhancing meditation and fostering spiritual awakening. Yogananda emphasized the significance of gently raising the gaze and centring one's focus on the spiritual eye during meditation. Through this intentional act, individuals could shift their life force and awareness from the external world to the inner dimensions of higher consciousness. Concentrated attention on the spiritual eye is instrumental in awakening inner intuition, fostering clarity, and enhancing spiritual perception. This, in turn, will bring practitioners closer to the realization of their true divine nature. 

 Psychology of the Shadow

In the realm of psychology, self-realisation and spiritual awakening, the concept of the shadow self has long been a topic of exploration. Coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the shadow represents the hidden and often repressed aspects of our personality. Understanding and transforming our shadow nature is a crucial step towards awakening, self-awareness and personal growth.

What is the Shadow?

The shadow, as Jung described it, consists of the unconscious, darker aspects of our personality that we deny or suppress. To the outside world, these elements are typically considered undesirable, socially unacceptable, or morally reprehensible. On the inside, the suppressed energies are simply too uncomfortable or painful to experience, so we try to keep them far away. In time, however, what we resist persists, and eventually must come 'up' in some way, shape or form.

The shadow is not inherently negative; it simply houses the parts of ourselves that we choose not to experience. They generally come from painful memories that are overwhelmingly uncomfortable, so we try to shut them away and bury them deep down into the closet of our mental memories. These may include traits such as anger, jealousy, greed, or selfishness.

These shadows however don't want to be locked away, they want to be released so that the light of our true nature, the infinite love and bliss that is in our hearts, can come to be realised as inherent and imminent within all life, beyond the shadows.

Recognizing the Shadow

Identifying your shadow requires self-reflection and a willingness to explore uncomfortable aspects of your personality. Pay attention to recurring patterns in your behaviour, emotional triggers, and judgments about others. The moments when you feel an intense reaction or judgment can be gateways to understanding your shadow.

The practice of meditation helps us to catch those moments when the uncomfortable sensation within the framework of the body arises from the unconscious mind in a determined effort to find its expression and ultimate release. Mindfulness, developed through regular meditation practice, helps us to notice the sensation within before it takes over and manifests itself into an unconscious often regrettable reaction.

Embracing the Unseen

To understand your shadow nature, it's essential to embrace and accept these hidden aspects with pure observation and without judgment. Acknowledge that everyone has a shadow, and it doesn't make you inherently good or bad. It's a fundamental part of having a human experience and evolving toward our true nature. By accepting these aspects, you open the door to self-compassion and growth.

Self-Reflection and Awareness

Self-reflection is a powerful tool in the journey of Self-realisation. Take time to explore your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours without judgment. Spiritual practices can provide valuable insights into the hidden corners of your mind. By becoming aware of your reactions and triggers, you can uncover patterns that may be rooted in your shadow self.

Inside Your Heart

I have found that during my darkest moments, finding the space to be still, to sit in meditation and simply take my awareness to my heart centre, allows the deep inner love of the divine to shine forth and peel away the veils of darkness. It truly is a powerful experience to allow the light of nature within, to expand, be, and do what it is designed to do.

Integration and Acceptance

The goal of understanding your shadow nature is not to eradicate these darker aspects but to integrate them into your innermost conscious self, your divine inner light. Acceptance does not imply endorsement; rather, it is about acknowledging the existence of these traits and understanding their origins. By embracing your shadow, you gain a more complete and authentic sense of self.

The Shadow in Relationships

Understanding your shadow nature is particularly relevant in the context of relationships. Unresolved issues from the shadow can manifest in conflicts and misunderstandings. By bringing these hidden aspects to light, individuals can foster healthier and more authentic connections with others.

The Ultimate Transformation

Transforming your shadow nature is a courageous journey that leads to greater self-awareness, personal growth and Self-realisation. By acknowledging, integrating and transforming the darker aspects of your personality, you pave the way for a more authentic and fulfilling life. The shadow is not something to fear; rather, it is an integral part of the rich tapestry of the human experience and the evolution of our true soul nature. As Jung wisely said, "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate."


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