I have written about the Shadow in my article of The Individuation Process, as seen from the point of view of Carl Gustav Jung. All too often people who are interested in spiritual things, esoteric teachings, and the so-called New Age often focus solely on the positive aspects of life, or of one’s being, Yoga, meditation, shamanistic retreats, sweat lodges etc are done to develop positive spiritual energies, characteristics, powers. Enlightenment is seen as the nurturing of the inner light. All this has its value, but very few people are aware that as long as there are shadows lurking in one’s mind or subconscious (and who does not have them?), these shadows will continuously hinder any real progression on the spiritual path, because the subconscious, where the shadows reside, is the main force that drives our daily life and all the decisions and actions we take.
This Shadow (or collection of shadows) has to be made conscious. That implies becoming aware, again, of the pain and suffering of past events that created them in the first place. Most people do not want to re-experience, or to feel again this pain. That was the reason why the painful event had been moved into the subconscious part of our being. And, we have become masters in building walls of fear around this pain. Bringing this Shadow out again into the bright light is an act of courage, and a necessity on the spiritual path.
There are many ways to become conscious of your Shadow, and you can feel for yourself which one is most suitable for you. Dream work is very effective (see my article of Dream World) .
Let me also tell you that working on your shadow parts should be a daily activity. That is, be aware of them throughout the day as you feel them, and bring them into your awareness as fully as possible, in order to transform them. Shadows are merely parts of ourselves that became distorted by painful events. By making them conscious you can transform them again into their original balanced and harmonious states.
Here is an interesting video I found on YouTube about the Shadow; it is an excerpt from an interview with Andrew Harvey. He gives his own point of view about the Shadow in a way that is clear and understandable to everybody.