I intend to “give up” Social Media for Lent, so I thought I would go ahead and rerun this nine-part series on Shadow Work, which seems apropos for this special time of year:
“As soon as the two houses of the soul [the sensual and the spiritual] are tranquil and confirmed and merged in one by this peace, and their servants the powers, appetites and passions are sunk in deep tranquility, neither troubled by things above nor things below, the Divine Wisdom immediately unites itself to the soul in a new bond of loving possession, and that is fulfilled which is written in the Book of Wisdom: ‘while all things were immersed in quiet silence, and the night was in the midway of her course, Thy omnipotent Word sallied out of heaven from the royal seats’ (Wisdom xviii. 14). The same truth is set before us in the Canticle, where the Bride, after passing by those who took her veil away and wounded her, saith, ‘When I had a little passed by them I found Him who my soul loveth’ (Canticle iii. 4).
~St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul
It is my belief that one cannot truly find union with the Divine unless you have learned, first, to love yourself. And, to truly love yourself, you must be completely self aware. That being said, there are different methods that can be used to learn more about yourself.
Being of a Jungian persuasion, myself, I prefer using Shadow Work in my process toward individuation. I once, somewhat jokingly, introduced myself as a Shadowholic. But, the truth is shadow work is not unlike a 12-step program in that it progresses through stages.
The first stage, like that of any 12-step program, is to admit that you are powerless. In Christian terms, this is experiencing the call to follow Christ.
“If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Once you have surrendered to Christ, you should see that your center shifts from the ego as you begin the second stage of the journey. Not unlike accomplishing the first three steps.
Step four asks us to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves just as the second stage of individuation is centered in shadow work. This simply means integrating the contents of the personal unconscious.
This is a long process and, as we are ever changing, it is never truly finished. But, with a conscious effort, your Shadow can become more integrated within five years.
During this period, the journeyer is gradually shown the more obvious ways in which he or she is off center from his or her true self. For example, a woman will face issues having to do with her feminine reality and will be gradually led toward a more complete and satisfying embodiment of the woman she was born to be while a man is led toward a more conscious embodiment of his masculine reality.
This can bring about fundamental adjustments in relationships, work and social life. While it can be a difficult period in some ways, the end result is a movement toward health and wholeness and a truer life in God.
. . . stay tuned; this will continue next week.