According to the Shamans of Ancient Mexico, human beings engage a mere 10% of their energetic potential. Ironically, that which limits the full realization of our energetic potential, the internal dialogue, also miraculously limits us to a fixed definition of self that enables us to form a cohesive personality necessary to embark upon a fulfilled life. Put simply, as our personality solidifies essential components are left out as we secure a necessary foundation to take on life. Life then becomes the quest for the Holy Grail of our lost wholeness.
To live a fully realized life we are increasingly challenged to develop a fluidity of being that can flow with life into its many alternative realities. The world is currently being inundated with many alternative realities. The threat to cohesion this has created has undermined mental stability on an individual level and on civilization itself at a collective level.
The silver lining to our current world crisis is the opportunity it creates to more fully experience our true potential as the Earth evolves beyond its own fixed patterns. Jung would call this individuation, the full realization of all that we truly are. For him the journey of individuation begins with the shadow, that which we are but don’t know about, or don’t admit to, as it festers in the labyrinth of the unconscious mind.
The shadow may be dark because it lives in the dark, but the act of incorporating it into our lives is golden, as we add appreciably to our wholeness by embracing it. Part of our current world crisis is the unleashing of the shadow in the form of greed or rage. Rather than facing the shadow and figuring out its message, and how to incorporate it into their wholeness, many people have become possessed by their long suppressed shadow personality, which is finding its way into life with a vengeance.
What if one discovers a racist or sexist personality in their own shadow? Would it not be best to leave that personality repressed, for the sake of everyone? Probably in some cases that would be best for everyone! However, as in the case of sexuality, the repression of the shadow can give rise to a deeply hidden, predatory alternative reality that flourishes in the darkness of everyday life.
Shining the light upon this predatory behavior is essential. Subjecting the predator to the light of judgment is appropriate. But neither of these actions addresses the failure of human beings to fully embrace their sexuality, which ultimately is the reason for the dissociated, highly-charged sexual shadow.
To face our shadow we must get to know it. To get to know the shadow we must suspend judgment of it. So, for example, if one discovers that they are indeed sexist they must begin with accepting that they have a part of themselves that is sexist. They must suspend the judgment that they are bad because they house a sexist within. On the other hand, they must assume responsibility for the fact that they have a sexist within themselves and that they will not allow it to take possession of the personality and act out.
The ego—consciousness—must remain ruthlessly honest with itself and in control as it faces the fullness of its shadow. The goal is to get to know the truth of the self, which is full of contradictory thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. The inner sexist must be acknowledged and understood, but it must not be allowed to act out. Nonetheless, the inner shadow must be allowed to express itself to the self.
The real goal is to get to know each shadow sub-personality. For example, one might discover, in an inner dialogue with one’s shadow, that it has had an exaggerated attitude of sexism because it has been forced to house a primal terror of women’s power that has forced it into the defense of an extreme condescension of women.
The shadow might reveal early terror in an abusive relationship with mother or abusive female caretaker that was split off from consciousness, repressed and incubated in the shadow, giving birth to its sexist attitude. The shadow might reveal rage at its ego counterpart for having compensatorily idealized and been subservient to women, negating the terror and rage of its inner shadow.
When the tumult of this inner process is contained within the psyche the potential for reconciliation and transformation becomes possible, as previously separated parts of the self are now able to emote and clarify the reasons for their distorted extremism and polarization. This reconciled polarization melds into a well-rounded, balanced attitude.
Outwardly, having reconciled with one’s sexist shadow, one is freed from the triggers and projections with women that previously crippled an authentic intimacy in relationship.
The fact is that we all harbor many different shadow personalities that, once acknowledged and inwardly reconciled with, can find an appropriate, non-toxic place in life. There is a place for all parts of the self somewhere in life. Even the most hostile inner shadow might have a place guarding the sleeping psyche from intrusive entities in the night! That same shadow might also be integrated into life as a coach to an intimidated ego that must learn to assert itself.
Once the veil of the personal shadow has been lifted and its inhabitants squared with, one is freed to begin to explore the even greater untapped energetic possibilities of the self that have hitherto remained dormant. One is freed from inner conflict and judgment, ready to explore the deeper possibilities of human existence, freed to delve into the magic.
Oh, what magical beings we humans be!