Today I will speak of the shadow, the dark side of our personality. We all have one, that piece of us that thrives on righteous anger, indignation, jealousy, outrage; that part that nurses our hurts and cries out for justice, revenge. Many schools of thought, religions, and spiritual paths try to suppress, deny, or obliterate this part of the psyche. This may be a noble pursuit, but I believe it to be counter productive.
Don’t misunderstand me, I do not suggest that you give in to your shadow self and let it have control. That path leads to darkness, and a most unhappy life. No, but I do not suggest ignoring this side of us either. The shadow has much to offer, for it’s main focus is to see us survive and prosper. However, we must never let the shadow gain full control. That is like allowing children to play with loaded guns, nothing good ever comes of it.
So, what to do then? I suggest listening to the counsel the shadow has to offer, thank it for its concern and input, then, thinking like a master, move forward. Send gentle loving thoughts into the dark places of your mind when they try to intrude, then make your decisions from there. Let’s go back to the traffic jam and take a look at this…
You are in slow moving traffic when suddenly a car darts in front of you, causing you to brake sharply and nearly causing the driver behind you to crash into you. “That bastard,” shouts the shadow, “get him.” You have a great urge to hit the gas and go after the villain. The master resists the urge. “Thank you shadow, you are correct, that driver is a danger to everybody. So, what is the best course? No shadow, we cannot go shoot him, but thank you for the suggestion. No, we have a phone, we shall pull over and report him, after all, he may or may not be drunk, he may be ill, or he may have mixed his medications; he must surely need help.”
Ok, I know, but truly the shadow must be embraced or it will seek to escape, and it will escape in ways that could damage or endanger your life. A man who suppresses his shadow suddenly goes mad with jealousy. His wife has gone out for coffee with a man she has just met at a cooking class. Our hero seethes with rage, imagining all sorts of vile trysts etc. As she returns home, he suddenly explodes, no longer able to hold the shadow in check, and the fight is on.
Now, the master thanks the shadow for its input. He suggests that when the wife returns home, they ask her about her adventure. She arrives home, all excited, wanting to share the conversation she has had with her new friend. She suggests that her husband come along next time as she believes the two men have much in common.
Yes, yes, I know, the shadow is not always wrong. That is why I want you to listen to your shadow side, acknowledge its counsel, perhaps even act on it if the situation warrants it. Think of the shadow like a pitbull dog. If you chain it up and ignore it, the animal will become savage and aggressive, eventually breaking loose and causing all sorts of damage. On the other hand, if you spend time with the dog, train it, love it, blend it into your family, you still have a big dangerous animal, but one that you can influence, one that will respond to your commands. It will still protect you and your family, but it will allow you to choose how best it can do this.
All food for thought, dear friends, all food for thought. May your day be bless with much joy and laughter, Prudence