In this article I talk about why spirituality without shadow work is a sham. I start by talking about what darkness really is and what resistance to shadow work looks like and how spiritual comforts can create more blind spots. Shadow work is really important for deeper grounding, stillness and spiritual connection. It supports a true empowerment from within and helps you to meet your own needs rather than projecting them outwards onto other people.
What is shadow work?
Shadow work is a process of identifying, feeling, accepting and integrating aspects of our individual and collective psyche and spirit that we would ordinarily be fearful or rejecting.
It is a process of making the hidden more conscious, making the darkness more light and becoming more self aware. Shadow work is a path of radical self acceptance.
What is darkness?
Darkness is self ignorance. When you constantly turn away from yourself you create more and more blind spots and areas of darkness. Denial of what is within you creates potent pockets of darkness and energies which then become overwhelming to look at, feel or integrate. Because they are not seen or integrated they are projected externally. The projection is a way of seeing it without being overwhelmed by it. This is why it is easier to see the discrimination and destruction and injustice outside in the world around us than within us. This is also why nothing can be changed in your life from the outside, until you are ready to be the change from within.
Common excuses to avoid shadow work
The degree to which you avoid your own shadow work is the degree to which you avoid your own light.
Deep inner work requires time, space and willingness to go within.
Common avoidance statements are:
- I'm too busy
- I don't need to right now
- I've done it and it hurt too much
- I'm reading loads of self help books and that's enough
- I'm in too much pain right now
- I'm happy the way I am
- I'm fine with the way things are, nothing's perfect
- It's all in the past I don't need to bring it up again
- I'm too old for this now
- It is what it is
- I'm doing shadow work but nothing's changing so why bother - I'm really successful (materially) so why would I need to change anything - The problem is not me it's other people
- I'm doing yoga, isn't that enough? - I'm scared of what I might see / feel / learn about myself - I'm scared I might be rejected
Spirituality without shadow work creates more wounds
Spirituality without shadow work creates more wounding because you get your needs met in ways that are entangled, destructive and inherently involve other people.
Spirituality can be built on a phoney identity platform from which nothing real and substantial can be created or achieved and this creates more confusion 'Why can't I progress my life i'm doing all the spiritual things!' < This is common in people who do alot of plant medicine work without integrating it or doing shadow work. Shadow work requires real change, grounded self responsibility.
When spiritual comforts create blind spots
It is also common to find a place of comfort spiritually with a set of beliefs and practices and feel like is safe to stay there, “this works for me and feels good” ie doesn’t not lead you to any discomfort or challenge the paradigm of your reality, and so doesn’t invite u to grow beyond that container. The spiritual path is meant to be uncomfortable -if you are always growing you will recognise discomfort as an invitation to enquire and grow rather than seeking a comfortable position of spiritual safety. The spiritual warrior does not seek safety, but stillness, and there is a difference.
Shadow work shows you that life is an inside job
Life is an inside job miracles and magic are an inside job. Spirituality is the embodiment of
spirit from within, not from a book, a concept or a religion that floats ur boat. U are the path, the light and the way. You are the healer. You are the guru. If you’re not healing, growing and learning, if ur not seeing more feeling more falling more in love with your own creation every day then it’s time to come home. Back inside, back to yourself.
What is getting in the way of you doing the shadow work right now?