The psychologist, Carl Jung, described hidden part of our psyche as “the shadow”. It’s the part that sometimes scares us with the things we don’t know, or don’t want to know about ourselves.
It is essentially our unconscious mind telling us what it wants. Sometimes it comes in dreams, other times and an inundation of emotion.
What of this so-called “dark” side and how it applies to learning mental discipline? Some people are so scared that showing any interest in this shadow side creates internal emotional chaos for us if for no better reason than it’s what we were told not to do. We all are likely to remember the voice of Darth Vader saying “Come to the Dark Side, Luke!”
That shadow side exists and many, many, MANY people will tell us we needto destroy it. We are told we should destroy your passions, wants, needs and desires. They will plead with us to connect with anything but that. They offer us something greater without really being clear on what it is. It can be through constant positive affirmations etc.., in a sense denying the existence of anything negative etc…The hope is that if we give up everything that makes us anything less than perfect light we will become more Holy. If we ignore any and all aspects of the Shadow self we can reach Holy Perfection. It’s a beautiful aspiration and utopia, but is it realistic, or even healthy to have over zealous positivity and ignore even the Shadow Self?
Attempting to control, repress, ignore that Shadow Self, negative emotions another is perhaps not the most healthy. A better approach is to , acknowledge our Shadow Self, see how the negative can be turned into a healthy positive for self and society. To ignore it, push it aside, try to completely destroy it, rather than acknowledge it and seek proper help to help us channel that in ways that is positive and healthy is not the wisest approach
By embracing the fact that we are mute-faceted, have a Shadow Self perhaps shaped by not so great things in life and still reaching upwards perhaps we can come to a middle and sensible ground.
See it as part of the Big Picture, of the totality of life’s experiences positive, as well as negative, find ways to turn it into a healthy positive for self and society, and one can walk Wide Awake with feet firmly planted on the ground and still reaching upwards.