August 4, 2014

How Integrating the Shadow Will Give Energy to Our Lives.


The integral cornerstones to living a fulfilled and happy life is honesty and authenticity in relationship.

All of life is ultimately relationship-based—nothing is essentially separate or independent, we are all inter-related. We are related through many layers:

1) How we relate to ourselves
2) How we relate to the external world
3) How we relate to other human-beings

The level of honest, authenticity and presence that we bring to those relationships will determine our levels of fulfillment, amount of pleasure, energy and a sense of happiness. Unfortunately, our lack of awareness can create a diminished experience of satisfaction in all the areas of our lives that matter. Often times this blind-spot is the result of conditioned thinking that we receive from society, culture, religion and family.

Through training and conditioning we can begin to live a life that is not in alignment with our core-desires or needs, the shadow that this casts becomes fake, dishonest and inauthentic.

When we are not in touch with our inner most feelings and thoughts, we are not living from a place that over-values assumptions and views about the world. These frameworks become rigid and unworkable for our psychic life that wants us to thrive, express our gifts, and continue to be curious about the world.

Modern schooling can reinforce theses patterns, by creating ways of organizing and managing our life, our time, ourselves and other people, that are not fluid and in touch with the way creativity, inspiration, and our generative capacity naturally wants to develop and unfold.

At the core, systems that are not flexible, invalidate us—they tear at the roots of who and what we are, stealing from the natural wholeness that has value. It acts through rules that tell us what we need to do, and be. It promises us that if we act in these very specific ways we will somehow be “okay,” or be loved by another person (family or a spouse). However, if we act in a way that goes against the formula we are somehow wrong, and a failure.

We learn through the educational system that when we regurgitate the right info at the right time, we will “get” the grade, validation and approval that we need.

Over time these patterns of thought begin to erode our natural instincts; they can take us away from what is true to ourselves. The formula only really works in certain institutions and with certain people—it does not answer the complexities of life.

When we are overly reliant on outside approval and not in touch with our inner experience and life, we have no room for the innovation and creativity that our lives and the world needs to shift our culture to health.

This system ultimately sets us up for disease because we begin to stop listening to our biological needs, insights, and intuition. Simple things like fresh air, sun-light, clean water and good food are overlooked when we cover up our basic needs for vibrant health, with motivations that are based on neurosis such as the need for approval, success and money.

In short, it is important to look at our conditioned responses to what we want in our life and ask ourselves where is this really coming from? Is it coming from a place that is creative, fluid, and evolving, or am I living burdened by the expectations of parents, and culture? How can I create my own culture that both nourishes and sustains this evolving process of my life?

Part of engaging in this type of inquiry is the realization that the creative process of our lives is not always an experience of “high” or “buzz.” Sometimes in order to have a clearer, happier life that adds more value to the world, we will have periods of introversion and downtime. Just as the waves in the ocean have their peak, they also have their lows. The lows can be the times when we are genuinely engaged in uncovering that which is not, yet, conscious—what we have taken for granted.

These times are important, they are guiding us to a deeper expression and experience of authenticity in our lives.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Jeff Turner/Flickr

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