Listen closely to your body. It tells you each day how it’s doing, what it needs, and what it doesn’t want. Attend to it as you would someone you love dearly. Give it what you know it needs, based not on hearsay or fad, but only on what it tells you it needs. Your body speaks its own language. Learn how it communicates, paying attention to its methods. Respond with love and caring, and in this manner learn to love it as your human vehicle in this life, as your spirit’s home, complicated and capable of far more than you can imagine. Your body is you, and yet you, as spirit, are far more capable than you can imagine too. Combined, body and spirit, you are quite unique, one of a kind. Remember this duality that you are, but remember also this oneness that you are, and operate always as one loving being, within and without. For that is what you truly are capable of, loving unconditionally, without judgment, self and other, simply because you can. What else really matters?
Without judgment be honest with the self. Instead of repeating the old thoughts, the ones you have been telling yourself for decades or longer, listen to the truth. The truth is what you have been hiding from, running from, escaping from. If evolution is to take place in your life it’s time to stand your ground, face yourself, look squarely into your own eyes and hear the unbiased truth. This is something only you can do for yourself, for only you know what is truly going on inside yourself. The truth will challenge you, but it will not harm you. The truth wishes only for your evolution, the fulfillment of your Soul’s purpose in life. The truth is just another part of you waking up, sending you a spark of life and hope that you are ready now to love yourself, to take yourself seriously enough to finally let down your judgments and defenses and fully embrace the life you are in and all it has to offer. With love and compassion and kindness for yourself journey on in a new direction now. With truth uppermost in your heart, mind, and body, take action on behalf of yourself today that is positive, proactive, productive, and heart-centeredly truthful. That is the next step.
Empower yourself by making good decisions based on what is truly right for your soul. Ask your soul to guide you, to tell you what needs to be done so that you may be fulfilled in your lifetime. And what is fulfillment? It is the completion of your soul’s journey, bringing together all that you are in harmony and love. Without worry or fear, strive always to live your soul’s journey to the fullest, in a heart centered quest for completing all that needs completing. Your soul knows what all that means. Ask it to show you how to bring it fulfillment, and do so with loving kindness for all that you are. Without judgment, travel on.
When we shine a light very closely at anything we see quite distinctly the contrasts and differences between the parts we are inspecting. On the mental plane those differences give rise to judgments. Some parts are “good,” some parts are “flawed” or “imperfect.” Perfection is the highest standard of the light: a being without flaw.
How comfortable is it to make love in a brightly lit room where every part of the body can be seen in utter clarity? In fact, how comfortable is it to look into a full length mirror, naked, in a brightly lit room. How do we not cringe as we see before us our well lit “imperfections?” That cringe is what we call embarrassment.
Embarrassment generates a boundary line within the self. On one side of the divide are the parts of the self that are “OK,” parts that can be allowed to be seen in the light. On the other side are all the imperfect or “defective” shame-worthy parts that must remain hidden from the outside world, a world that confirms what we already know: we are flawed.
Frequently, in recapitulation, we discover that we had no conscious involvement whatsoever in determining what parts of ourselves and our experience were excised from consciousness and sent to the prison of the shadow self. We may then discover that some higher decision-making factor within the self censored the awareness of significant experiences in our lives for a self-protective purpose, like in a state of shock where we are shielded from the full impact of a sudden trauma. Some experiences must be shielded from consciousness for the better part of a lifetime.
This self-protective function is a judgment function of the psyche that is pretty black and white, as it asks the question, “Is this experience safe or dangerous to the stability of the ego, my conscious sense of self?” If the answer is “no,” the experience is swiftly removed from memory. The ego, being the shielded one, has no participation in this decision. The ego is the recipient of its action.
What we commonly call a trigger is a current event that mirrors the censored one residing in our hidden shadow, which is stirred and experienced consciously as a feeling of anxiety and embarrassment. The anxiety is a protective warning signal to get away, the embarrassment signals the unacceptability of a part of the self.
Often, attention is given to the formative influence of the primary socializing agents in our lives—parents, teachers, coaches, lovers, and even abusers—in defining for us what of us is acceptable and what of us must stay hidden, often from ourselves as well. The process of recapitulation offers us entree into the hidden worlds of our rejected selves.
When during recapitulation we are confronted with the socializing agents whose judgments we internalized and cast upon ourselves, we often find ourselves in an accompanying rage, fully blaming these characters for not protecting us or for contributing to our flawed sense of self. The healing journey of recapitulation may require us to fully feel this rage and be allowed to release it in some form of expression.
Release of pent up feelings may feel incredibly cathartic, but total healing requires total acceptance of all that has happened to the self, without embarrassment. In fact, the absence of embarrassment during the review of any and all experiences in life, traumatic or otherwise, is the best gauge in assessing total healing.
Thus, for example, to be fully embodied, calm and present, without embarrassment while describing to another person the explicit details of a rape, including the experience of utter helplessness, terror, exposure, violence, humiliation, negative judgment and stimulation, mark a condition of total healing from the experience.
Such healing is marked by the melding together of present and past-self experiences that demarcate the contours of different kinds of experiences but remain whole, reflecting total acceptance of all of life’s experiences, without embarrassment.
The new seers of Carlos Castaneda’s shamanic line exploited the utility of embarrassment to deepen their journey into their energetic potential. They discovered that embarrassment was a product of self-importance, the drive to shelter the self from the crushing impact of the true reality of the unacceptable hidden self.
Carlos was pushed by one of his teachers, don Genaro, to dance by lewdly thrusting his pelvis, movements which burned him up in mortification yet suddenly gave him access to his energy body while in a waking state. Burning through the wall of embarrassment provides the sobriety and wholeness to journey beyond the physical body with awareness.
Ultimately, we are challenged to reconcile the relationship between the light of our consciousness with the contents and personality that live in the darkness of our unknown portion of self. Carlos Castaneda could not encourage us enough to suspend judgment as we venture into the realms of the unknown self. Embarrassment is a most helpful marker of where we must suspend judgment and welcome, in total acceptance, all that we are, all that we have been, all that we have done and, most especially, all that has happened to us. A tall order, but totally possible.
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.