Archive for June, 2009

I talk a lot about Shadow Work. I haven’t talked about it much (if at all?) on this blog, but it’s a big part of my spiritual philosophy. It’s also something that’s been on my mind a lot for about the last three months.

There are many ways to engage Shadow and do the work of healing and (re-)integrating the darker, wounded parts of self. Some of them are deep, involved, difficult, often scary. There’s also the simpler everyday task of self-observation.

Last week I was having a talk with an old friend while sitting on the beach under the peculiar mix of night’s sky before us and the harsh lights of street lamps and the various buildings looming behind us. As is usual with this friend, we were talking about the world, its ills, its wonders, and where we fit in all of that. We were talking about changing the world. Of course this led me to the topic of self-knowledge and integration. His reply? “I don’t think people have any business trying to ‘know’ themselves. It’s pointless. That’s something you’re never going to figure out until like the moment right before you die.”

He had a good point: you can do your work and be effective in the world without ever really “knowing” yourself. But I wonder, if you don’t know yourself, what kind of effect will that “effectiveness” have? So do you spend your time trying to learn who/what/why you are, or do you spend it taking action? As I explained to him, my opinion is both.

As with all things, balance is necessary in the quest for self-knowledge and effective action, integration and banishing, Shadow and Light. We don’t have time to get it perfect before we make a move, but that’s no reason to not keep aiming for a little bit better than our current best.

Shadow Work is an important tool in this process. So is ‘Light Work.’ So ask yourself:

  • What am I afraid of? What is that fear trying to protect me from?
  • What am I passionate about? Where will that passion lead me, if I let it?
  • What am I hiding? Who am I hiding it from?
  • What do I have to offer, and am I utilizing that talent?

We each have our specific gifts and our specific challenges. Can we rise to meet them all? Pick one today and see where it leads you!

P.S. It’s soooo late. I hope I was coherent! 😉


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