A big part of the work we do at Celebration of Being is working with the “shadow” or the “unconscious” meaning. We aim to address what is not conscious in us but has a huge impact on how we actually live our life.
Most of our decisions, habits and reactions come from our unconscious attachment to things that are buried beneath the surface of our conscious mind. So it makes sense to do some “shadow-digging” and to bring those hidden aspects of our being to our awareness and into our consciousness. Truly conscious people are in touch with their unconscious.
People who try to remain simply on the “conscious” level, and don’t want to look at what might lie beneath the surface, usually stay in what we call in Celebration of Being our “Defended Self” and over-identify with their ego. They end up being very superficial and even can cause serious harm-to themselves and all around them. Tragically this is how most of our world operates and most of us don’t even know it.
So how do we get to see our unconscious? Our unconscious reveals itself in many subtle ways. It takes a lifetime of intention and practice to notice our shadow and bring it into the light so that we are no longer controlled by it, but are able to integrate the shadow’s energy and unique gifts into our conscious living.
Let me offer one easy way we can use to find and identify our shadow: Projection!
When we have a strong negative reaction to someone, that person is most likely carrying an aspect of our shadow. Byron Katie, the founder of “The Work”, would even go as far as saying our negative charge or judgment towards another is always and 100% about something unconscious in us that wants to become conscious.
As much as we hate to hear that (it drives our Defended Self crazy), all wise men and women throughout the centuries have confirmed this: “What we dislike in another, especially if it has a huge emotional charge with it, is about us!“
Our healthy self on the other side can rejoice in this news. That means something unconscious is coming to the surface of our consciousness and can finally be liberated. Wow! What an opportunity!
And that liberation is one of the major pillars of our work at Celebration of Being. When we bring what has been in the dark for maybe decades into the light of presence and love, it can transform and we can even become our own friend on the journey!
We’ve seen this countless times in our workshops. When that happens the whole room can feel the liberation; the lights go on and everyone rejoices! Because when one of us gets set free from some bondage, we all do in a mystical way. We realize nothing in our humanity needs to be excluded, and everything is welcome in that field of conscious embrace.
My wish for you is that you’ll take every opportunity to befriend your unconscious, for, as one of Carl Jung’s students says, “The individual who can manage not to be psychologically infectious-that is, free of the unconscious necessity to project all of his inferior, dark qualities onto others or onto ideologies and causes-is the individual on whom the ultimate peace of the world rests.”
Don’t we all want to be people who help to bring ultimate peace to the world?
The “Just like me” Practice
Next time someone triggers a really strong emotional charge or judgment in you, welcome this as an opportunity to bring something unconscious in you into consciousness, and experiment with this simple tool:
As soon as you catch yourself saying-in your head or out loud-something like:
“He is such an arrogant jerk!” – make a small but significant adjustment by saying – “He is such an arrogant jerk- just like me.”
You will see this rocks your little defended boat and might give you access to owning a part of your own humanity that you have disowned before. It might even give you a dose of empowered humility, and compassion for the whole human condition.
Be sure to join us on the November Tuesday Everyday Support Community calls where you can get support with bringing the shadow to consciousness. And on the December 1 call Lee will go further into ways the Healthy Self can welcome and learn from the Defended and Wounded Self. Plan on joining us!