In the Shadow of the Sun
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ Carl Jung
Drawn into the Middle Way…
I almost got a tattoo in Scotland, back in high school. This was on a tour with the choir, singing in cathedrals and getting into plenty of trouble.
As I looked up at the classic images on the wall of roses and anchors, I gravitated toward the modern image of the Taiji, the great polarity, commonly known as the Yin-Yang symbol. Although I knew nothing about Chinese medicine or Taoism, it made sense to me, even then.
I didn’t get the tattoo, but I would be drawn to that philosophy for the rest of my days. One takeaway I’ve come to find in the philosophy is this:
There’s an inherent balance of light and dark qualities in our experience of life, and extremes always lean toward a rebalancing.
Like a sunny and shady side of the same mountain, these are two sides of the same coin. So if I AM that mountain, I must possess both a shadow and a brightness.
But why are we afraid of the dark?
It seems when the term shadow comes up in healing circles, folks can get a little nervous. Of course, avoiding the discomfort of that discussion is understandable.
As a caveat, I want to be clear that trauma-informed care is essential in severe physical or mental health situations. Diving into the shadow of our cultivated beliefs can be difficult and delicate and should be addressed safely.
Yet for many of us, our shadow is ready to be seen and listened to. I believe it shows us what we are really looking for to feel whole and at ease. Not to be shunned or hated.
Have you SEEN your shadow?
Have you had your unresolved stuff show up as a troublesome Mr. Hyde, snapping at a loved one over a small slight? This is the REACTIVE shadow: Punch first — think later.
Then there is the REPRESSIVE type of shadow; slinking away from anyone who wants to help. It says, Hide now, at all cost!
Either way, reacting or repressing, we are led into difficulty. The key to healing here is deep, gentle listening.
Because when I realized my shadow holds a map to what my soul is asking for, it changed the whole story.
What should I ask my shadow?
When these behaviors and feelings peak out for me, I take it as an opportunity to ask good questions like:
- What is it you really need? Can you make arrangements to create that environment?
- Is there something you are afraid to say? What would happen if you did, and are you sure that’s true?
Then I listen for the sometimes embarrassing, but always enlightening answers that arise.
Since I began studying The Gene Keys, I’ve discovered a way to contemplate the presence of these shadow manifestations in this tangible and non-judgemental framework. Exploring this with small groups and individuals as a gentle way to transformation is a great Joy for me.
I’m writing this today under the lingering rays of the Summer Solstice. Peaking over the apex of the sun’s time, my shadow is here and ready to point me toward wholeness. All I need is to have a willingness to listen and to show myself compassion.