for the New Millennium
Befriending our Ego & our Shadow
by Lelia Griswold
Are you willing to consider the possibility that when you are fighting with a loved one, a partner, child, parent, friend or business associate, that what you are truly fighting with is your own shadow side, hidden away from your awareness and projected onto this person by your ego? Are you willing to entertain the possibility that true, lasting conflict resolution is an inside job, one that each of us does continually inside ourself ? If your answer to these two questions is yes, please read on.In truth, we need to transform our antagonistic ego into our best friend and get to know and integrate our unconscious, shadow parts lurking inside of us that take over and make us feel "out of control". When the ego and the shadow "take over", we (our true self) are out of control! We are living in an illusion.
Virtually all Spiritual traditions agree that peace begins inside each one of us. The Christ was known as The Prince of Peace and remains one of the greatest teachers of peace on the planet today. Christ-centered peace and harmony is available inside each one of us in all our relationships when we are willing to live from our true self, bring our dark side into conscious awareness and train our ego to follow our true self, rather than lead it.
For five thousand years Indian Yogis have known that every relationship we have with another human being mirrors aspects of ourself. According to the Yogis, all we truly see in the "other" is a projection of our own self. Relationships that are conscious and evolved mirror our true self . Addictive, unconscious relationships reveal to us our personal shadows, aspects of ourself locked in illusion and obscurity by our ego. Every relationship teaches us either about our true self or our false self --the illusion-based persona we develop to cope in the world. All we relate to "out there" is a reflection of various aspects of who we are "in here".
Have you noticed how someone will say about a partner or an associate at work: " I want to kill him when he does that". What we hate and could easily kill in another is actually an unconscious, shadow side of ourself, normally repressed by our ego, being activated. The clue here is our intense emotional reactivity to this person's behavior. Whenever "our buttons get pushed", a shadow part of ourself is being stimulated -- someone close to us is mirroring us. And usually we don't want to see it!
What makes this so difficult to handle is our total unconsciousness about the disowned aspect of ourself that is being mirrored to us! Because " our buttons are pushed", we lose touch with our real self and our inner peace. Our ego's illusions temporarily take over and we "lose it". Sound familiar? What can we do about it?
Step 1 Nonreactivity: is to become non reactive to the stimulus. Even though we may want to kill the person, we take a step back and observe what we are feeling. Rather than losing ourself in our "out of control" feelings, being at effect of them and acting them out, we can consciously choose to "witness" them. Slowly we can calm ourselves down and come back into balance. Playing a favorite piece of music can help us relax and "de intensify" our reactive emotions.
Step 2.Witness:we choose to go to the place of peace
in our consciousness where we can watch our feelings and release them into
the natural flow of energy that circulates through our body, mind, emotional
and energy bodies.
We let go , let God have our disturbed feelings and thoughts, and we move on freely "in the flow".
Step3. Inner Dialogue whenever you are ready, is to open up a conversation with, and get to know, the parts of yourself that you see mirrored in others and that evoke intense reactivity in you. Engaging your shadow and .bringing these long-repressed aspects of yourself into the light of conscious awareness is both a science and an art. At this stage it is wise to find an experienced, professional Spiritual Therapist, Counselor or Healer to help you contact, accept, domesticate and love these hidden aspects of yourself.
Step 4.Softening your ego mind is to soften with firm, Spiritual love and power the hardened, controlling ego that has kept your shadow imprisoned in unconsciousness. Since one of the ego's functions is to maintain its control over your shadow, it will power struggle with you as you begin to accept and work with your shadow. One of the ways in which the ego struggles with you is to jam up and block the natural flow of energy in your body and mind. These energy blocks can become habitual and eventually lead to imbalances and disease if not dealt with.
Once again the assistance of an experienced Spiritual
Therapist, Counselor or Healer helps guide you when faced with a warring
ego! The only power that can win these wars with the ego is Spiritual Power,
Authority and Love. Spirit alone can transform the ego and allow you to
reclaim your shadow as a friend rather than an "ego-dominated enemy" that
you fear, hate and feel separate from.
The power to be whole lies inside of us. This power is the love and wisdom that emanates from our true self. A dedicated helping professional can partner with this power in you and together you can bring your shadow into the light, liberate it from illusion and give it a respectable place in your life. You then naturally discover the gifts this aspect of yourself has to give you to live a richer, happier, more balanced life.
Copyright by Lelia Griswold, February, 1998. All Rights Reserved.