Carl Jung coined the term “shadow,” referring to the disclaimed, repressed parts of our personality that we find unacceptable, disturbing, and/or wrong. Literally these parts of ourselves become split off from our sense of self and we lose awareness of them as being a part of us. We then begin to see them as unacceptable parts of the world around us, seeing these traits in other people that we do not like.
Ken Wilber talks of the importance of “shadow work,” where we actively engage uncovering, owning, and embracing these lost pieces of ourselves. Through this, he says, huge amounts of psychic energy are freed up to pursue the development of the other three parts of an integral approach (body, mind, and spirit).
Tool has an amazing song about the powerful transformation that can take place from engaging in this important work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tja6_h4lT6A
So I’d like to test the premise, here, collectively.
1) What is one quality or trait in a person that really annoys, upsets, or irritates you? (If you have a list, for the purposes of this exercise, just pick one.)
2) Can you possibly imagine that this quality or trait is actually a disowned aspect of yourself? Is it possible that at some level this describes you? Do you spend time, energy, and effort proving that this is NOT who you are?
3) What positive outcomes or effects could there be if you embraced this as part of yourself. That is, how could you use this quality or trait to your advantage in your life?
So is this profound inner work, or neo-psycho-babble? What do you think?
merkaba33 is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.