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.
I am a life long spiritual seeker, exploring the mysteries of man, life, and the universe. I had many mystical experiences during my life. There is nothing spectacular about them. These experiences are often unexpected, and lie outside what we have been told is possible. They served to learn about the Greater Reality, that part of reality that is not talked about in school, government or corporation. Nevertheless it is very real, and a part of being human on this planet. I have studied many different doctrines and teachings, both esoteric and scientific. I have learned to see the common essence in all these disciplines, and the many connections between them.
I have found that many people have spiritual, mystical or just unusual experiences they never talk about because of the many taboos this society has about certain subjects. However when they encounter someone they see they can trust they open up. It is time now for people to talk openly, and not to fear ridicule.
I see it as my task to write about all these subjects and experiences that can enrich a person's life. Exchanging ideas, opinions, beliefs and experiences will bring us together and we will realize that we are not different from each other. It does not matter where you live on the earth, or what your cultural background is. If we pay attention to our humanness, then we can create a better world for all of us.