Don’t judge shadow work by its name because it is not as dark as it sounds. A lot of you might think that it is “dark spirituality” but it is not. Shadow work is all about being aware of our unconscious mind and finding out who we actually are.
But this is just a brief idea of shadow work. Now we are going to know what is shadow work and how it can benefit us in our spiritual progress.
What Is The Meaning Of Shadow?
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung brought the term shadow. According to him, “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself.” This means that a shadow is all the repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings in a person’s unconscious mind.
For instance, if you were taught in your childhood that being angry is wrong and you should never repeat it. You try to repress anger in order to save yourself from being scolded. In this way, many feelings, ideas, emotions we hide from our conscious self, but in reality, they are a part of our personality.
Your shadow contains little known traits of yours that you feel ashamed of. Though shadow is stored in the darkness of the unconscious mind, it is not totally forgotten. And when you encounter it, you get scared because you never confronted your darker hidden side.
This means that the shadow which you deny being yours, in reality, is your forgotten nature. Therefore, shadow work comes in place to make you aware of your shadows, i.e. the darker side of yours, and help you make your unconscious conscious.
Carl Jung also found that:
The shadow grows every time we repress it or act according to it without awareness. This is why we sometimes do things in certain ways without any idea of why we did them.
With this, you see a rise in your spiritual progress because with the help of shadow work; you attain self-knowledge and you don’t struggle with finding out who you really are.
So now, let’s find out what is a shadow work in spirituality and in what ways it can benefit your spiritual progress.
What Is Shadow Work In Spirituality?
In spirituality, we believe that when we die; we are reborn. Though the soul is just an observer, it takes the baggage of past senses(Indriya) with itself to the next life. We take many births and our souls carry those many experiences of lives with them.
But because we do not remember our past life we forget to heal those parts. Our soul’s main purpose is to heal all those senses which it carried from millions of past births in order to attain enlightenment.
This increases our shadows, our darker side, which we do not want to encounter, so we try to forget it. But they are our own self. So shadow work is the process of identifying our unconscious and repressed ideas, feelings, anxieties and all the hidden aspect of our personality and accepting it in order to heal it.
Is Shadow Work Evil?
No shadow work is neither sinful nor evil. It is just a simple technique of realizing our unconscious and hidden nature. Shadow work is just an intentional process of finding, accepting and integrating your repressed traits in order to attain self-knowledge, self-acceptance, self-love and disrupt destructive patterns.
How Shadow Work Helps Us In Our Spiritual Progress?
Through shadow work, one become enlightened with self-knowledge and reduces his/her shadow’s destructive potential, which might have harmed him in the future.
This makes us spiritually wiser and calmer because we become more aware of our true nature without living in denial.
In short, shadow work is all about making the unconscious conscious and unacceptable acceptable.
The goals of shadow work are simple, bring our darker side into the light. Practising shadow work is a great way to experience inner transformation and self-knowledge. But now one might ask, how can we practice shadow work? Well, there are many techniques of shadow work. Let’s discuss a few of them.
3 Simple Shadow Work Techniques and Exercises To Practice Daily
1. Stop Repressing Your Emotions
Just because you repress emotions does not mean they are going to disappear. Instead of repressing your emotions, just let them out if you feel it’s important. Also, if you think that your negative emotions can ruin something, start finding positive things at that point.
Questing yourself what triggered that emotion and work upon it. This can help you to express your emotions positively.
Sitting silent for just a few minutes and concentrating on your breath is the best way to find who you truly are. While meditating, you might counter thousands of thoughts which you should observe in order to find what hides within you.
3. Start Writing Your Negative Traits
The best way to find out your shadow self is to write down every negative pattern or trait you notice. In this way, you might work upon those things and realize yourself. Call it journaling or whatever, it is by far the best way. This process could take hours and usually the entire evening. But you will be astounded by what comes out.
Start practising shadow work and begin to know your true self. Start bringing your unconsciousness into the light of consciousness. Become more compassionate and love yourself howsoever you are. With these small steps, you might notice yourself being spiritually progressing.
Just fill the wounds of your shadows with love, acceptance, and compassion in order to heal. Do not try to escape from your reality because you can’t instead just love it.