The shadow is any aspect of a thing that is not exposed to the light of consciousness. The human shadow therefore, is any aspect of a person that is not exposed to the light of their own consciousness. It is what you don’t know that you don’t know. Shadow work is the process of making the unconscious conscious and the unacceptable, acceptable. It includes any process or practice that makes you aware of the unconscious and which brings about the integration of unconsciousness. And as such, it leads to complete and total awareness. To understand about shadow work in a much more in-depth way, watch my videos titled: What is Shadow Work?, Diving Deep (Shadow Work) and Shadow Work vs. Positive Focus.
The sad reality is that for a lot of people, the term shadow work conjures up all kinds of negative and dark associations. Because of those associations we have with the word shadow, it is easy to think that shadow work is a dark spiritual practice. Or that it is internal work that involves only the more negative or sinister aspects of our personality. Or that it simply gets you stuck in pain and powerlessness. Or that if you focus on the shadow, all you get and create is more shadow. However, none of this is actually the case. For this reason, even though several books would not be enough to cover all of the potential benefits of shadow work, I’m going to explain to you the main benefits of doing shadow work.
- Shadow work is a tool. It is a tool just like focusing on the positive is a tool. You can master that tool, just like one could master any tool. Shadow work isn’t a way of being. It isn’t something that happens to you. It is not something that consumes your life. It isn’t the full picture. It is a tool for becoming aware, stepping out of and changing negative patterns, getting into a more objective reality, moving into free will and conscious choice and thus creating your existence intentionally and consciously.
- Shadow work makes you conscious and perceive things clearly. It is to come to know what you do not know that you do not know. In fact, there is no way to be conscious, aware and to awaken without it. It puts you squarely in the truth. And in reality. Therefore, literally any benefit that could come from seeing the truth or having a more objective perspective or being aware or being in reality can be realized through shadow work.
- It creates empowerment. Your axis of power is in reality and you can’t be in reality unless you are aware. To understand more about this, watch my videos titled: Reality and How To Call Bulls#!t on Denial. But shadow implies lack of awareness. It implies what you don’t know and what you have suppressed, rejected, denied, disowned and pushed out of your awareness. Awareness puts you in a position of choice. This means it puts you in the position of free will instead of determinism. For example, you may not be aware until you do shadow work that you keep ending up in hell in relationships because your early life experiences taught you to believe that love is when someone is suffering and unhappy in the relationship and stays anyway because they care about the other person that much. Once you know that, you can consciously begin to dismantle that belief, so that your new definition of love can be caring so much that you ensure each other wellbeing and pleasure. You are then in the position to choose compatible partners to be in a relationship with. Some people fear that shadow work will lead them to be in more suffering. But this will only happen if you begin to see things as they are, but are either convinced you can’t change them, or are not willing to change them.
- There is tons of gold in the shadow. Many people assume that the shadow is all bad and all painful. Actually, there is plenty that a person doesn’t know that they don’t know that is positive and pleasurable. Also, there is a lot that we suppress, deny, reject, disown and push away from the conscious that is positive and pleasurable. For example, imagine that in your childhood, you were artistic. Imagine that the purpose you came into this life with was to be an artist. But you came into a family that was obsessed with academics and that discouraged art. To gain closeness with your family, you might have suppressed, rejected and denied your artistic talent and your purpose along with it. Doing shadow work will inevitably cause you to recover your artistic talent and your life purpose.
Shadow work causes a re-owning of the self. It causes you to become authentic. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic. It causes you to get to know yourself and your personal truth. Among other things, the process of socialization and trauma that we all inevitably experience causes us to begin to fragment. Our personalities are in essence, fake. Until we become conscious and aware of ourselves, our personalities are merely the parts of ourselves that we identified with so as to stay safe and away from vulnerability in the very specific situations and circumstances that we were raised in.
We suppress, reject, deny and disown the aspects that make us vulnerable or get us disapproved of in the world. By doing this, they become subconscious. They are buried outside of our awareness and we don’t know they even exist, even though they tend to be visible to other people around us. This means, we are not who we think we are. Shadow work shows you who you really are and what you really want. It makes you self-aware. There is no way to have a happy life unless you are self-aware. You have to know your actual truth and own it in order to choose what is right for you. Choosing what is personally right for you is the only way to experience life satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment.
- Shadow work gets you un-stuck. You are only truly stuck if you don’t know what is actually happening. You have to know what is happening to begin to problem solve so as to do something about it. Shadow work does that. Many people think that shadow work makes them powerless. It doesn’t… it simply makes them face their powerlessness. By facing it, you are observing it and therefore not it. You are disidentified from it. If you choose to introduce consciousness to powerlessness by choice, it is by definition not powerlessness anymore because you have introduced the frequency of free will to it.
- It makes you aware of and therefore causes you to disidentify from and change patterns and cycles so they don’t repeat and can be changed. People repeat patterns personally and intergenerationally. Because of this, most people live in a deterministic way. They keep ending up with unavailable partners over and over again. Patterns of addiction and abuse and negative core beliefs keep going from one generation to the next and to the next. Humanity itself repeats the same pattern over and over again. Shadow work stops the cycle, breaks the chain and offers the ability to change these patterns so that you can consciously choose your beliefs, your actions and your life experiences.
- Shadow work causes integration. Integration is what causes peace. It causes integration internally, which leads to internal peace and externally, which leads to peace in your life and world peace. It reverses the process of fragmentation, which is the cause of so much suffering in your life and suffering in the world. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The World Wide Disease.
It brings you closer to your desires so you can actually attain them. First of all, most people think they know what they want. But they don’t. For example, if you have been raised in a conservative family that is all about marriage, you may think that what you really want is marriage, when in fact the only reason you think you want that is because you want approval from your family. Or for example, we may think we want to be a lawyer. But really, we just want money and social status and we have a limited perspective about HOW we could go about getting it. Shadow work shows you what you truly want and why. It also expands what is possible.
On top of that, shadow work shows you what is in the way of what you want. It reveals resistance. Resolving those things is the key to getting what you want. For example, imagine that you have no idea why no matter how hard you try, you can’t lose weight. Shadow work may reveal that the part of your consciousness that has control over your body has no intention of losing weight. It wants to be fat because it uses that fat as a buffer against the unsafety in the world and uses it as a substitute boundary because you can’t keep your own boundaries. Working with this part to find resolve will be critical to losing weight. In fact, unless you do, every diet and exercise program will fail. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Urgent, Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else!
Shadow work causes you to become aware of and to resolve your trauma, which is the underlying issue that causes the current patterns in your life that are hurting you and harming your life. This is perhaps the most serious item on my list. Trauma is a state of emotional and mental distress caused by an experience that is not resolved. You don’t have to be abused or experience what a person would consider to be a tragedy (like war or sexual abuse or loss of a loved one) to experience trauma. It is traumatic to experience birth in today’s mainstream medical facilities. It is traumatic to a baby to be weaned. It is traumatic to a three-year-old to lose track of his mother in a grocery store. Even the best parents on earth cannot manage to raise a child in a way that the child will experience no trauma. The problem is that if we do not have a way to resolve and thus integrate that trauma we experience when we are young, then we shape our lives and make choices according to trauma. We also have the tendency to normalize or even forget about it. And worse than this, because this is a mirror based universe, managed by what many call ‘the law of attraction’, and in order to try to cause us to heal these traumas, this universe will continue to offer us more opportunities to heal them in the form of putting us in similar situations again and again. And they tend to amplify or get worse over time.
For example, if we never actually resolved the fact that our father left us at age four, we may simply decide that to save ourselves from the pain of loss, we will be super independent and never get attached to anyone ever again. Not only will we experience intimacy issues in our adulthood because of this experience, we will experience people abandoning us. This pattern will become worse because when we are abandoned, we will use that to justify our original decision to push people away before they ever get a chance to push us away, thus increasing the chance that they will abandon us. It becomes an ever-worsening vicious spiral. If we are able to become aware of and resolve this original trauma, as well as the alterations we made to ourselves because of it, we have the ability to actually create a stable, reliable connection with others in our life. Shadow work may also reveal that things we thought were resolved, are not actually resolved and that is why situations like it are repeating in our lives.
- Shadow work causes you to go way below and above the surface of things. It puts you in touch with the blue print or the fundamental level of existence below the limits of the surface of existence. This enhances your knowledge, depth, capabilities, scope and expanse. You can think of it like a two-dimensional person becoming third dimensional. This makes you capable of seeing things others can’t and doing things others don’t know are possible. It makes you more powerful. This is the reason that awakened people seem to be so much… more.
It gives you conscious control over what you create and manifest. Many people who teach law of attraction and manifestation are over simplifying it to the point of ignorance. Focus and intention and thought is powerful. As are the actions that one takes to create. But in the effort and time it takes you to focus on one thing, your subconscious mind can focus effortlessly on several and without you even knowing it. This is why it isn’t hard for an Olympic swimmer to swim while planning dinner. The entire process of swimming is subconscious.
Your conscious mind is not responsible for the bulk of your overall personal vibration. Your subconscious mind is. And it is your overall personal vibration that is your point of attraction. This is a big deal in a universe managed by the law of attraction. It means for example that if you sit down to do the affirmation “I am good enough”, that thought is competing with several, much more engrained and strong frequencies such as “I’m too fat. “No one really wants me”. And “people who think they are good enough are always the worst kinds of people”.
Your point of attraction is more complicated than “whatever you consciously focus on and do”. Because of this, until you do shadow work, you have very little control over what happens in your life. It feels like everything happens TO you and you don’t know why. By becoming aware of the contents of your subconscious and well as what you don’t know about the world and the universe, this naturally allows you to consciously change and improve your point of attraction. And the more conscious you are, the more you are consciously creating when you are thinking, saying, choosing and doing things. It will feel like you have control over your life and you will know why things happen in your life. This pulls you out of the experience of victimhood.
In the same vein of creation, blocked energy and inauthenticity inhibits creativity. Shadow work resolves those blockages and that resistance and as the energy of conscious awareness courses through you, your creative potential comes flooding through. You become a much more creative person.
Shadow work helps you to have successful, healthy, enjoyable and conscious relationships. Relationships are life. You have a relationship with other people. You have a relationship with every element of your life such as your career, your food, your hobbies, your body etc. Therefore, your quality of life boils down to the quality of your relationships.
Doing shadow work will make it so people don’t trigger you as easily. You will become more mature and healthier and more functional in your relationship dynamics. For example, you may have a terrible relationship with your child. Doing shadow work may reveal that you hate the qualities in your child that you suppressed, denied and disowned in yourself, such as selfishness. Perhaps you rejected your own selfishness and in turn self-sacrificed your life for your husband and children. But you resent it. So, every time your child acts in his or her best interests, you feel that resentment towards them. This awareness may cause you to re-think that decision and start to do things for yourself. This might then cause you to stop criticizing your child and for there to be no more resentment towards him or her.
- It enhances your mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing. It is painful and exhausting to not be aware. It is draining and painful to keep denying, suppressing, rejecting, disowning and pushing things away or trying to keep a closet door closed when its contents are overflowing. Suppression causes fatigue and disease, plain and simple. As you liberate the suppressed energy and more of the energy of consciousness is allowed to flow through all the different aspects of you, the health of all of those levels of you will dramatically improve. You will have more energy. Shadow work also creates a sense of stability and strength, which makes you feel equal to life and very much alive.
Those are just some of the benefits of doing shadow work. The more aware you are of your shadow, the more embodied you are as a conscious being. No one ever reached enlightenment without confronting their shadow and exposing it to the light of consciousness. The time has come for people to master this tool, the tool which will lead to their liberation.