Shadow Dancing

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The biblical revelation is about awakening, not accomplishing. It is a realization, and not any kind of performance principle whatsoever.The ego is that part of the self that wants to be significant, central, and important. It is very defended and self-protective by its very nature. It must eliminate the negative to succeed.

The shadow is that part of the self that we don’t want to see, that we’re always afraid of and don’t want others to see either. Jesus, quoting Isaiah, describes it as “listening but not understanding, seeing, but not perceiving” (Matthew 13:14-15). Addicts today just call it “denial.” When we do our “shadow work” we stop eliminating the negative, and actually start learning from it. It is very often the best of teachers.

- Richard Rohr

This is so true. And the most difficult work of all. Terrifying work. Unpaid to boot. And fit in around life and work and doing the dishes and raising your kids and cleaning the windows and cooking food and helping little old ladies across the road. Holding all the cognitive dissonance that comes with this space, feels like you are stretching yourself out beyond all perception.

But maybe that just makes room for what is to come afterwards :)

If we do not do this work and we let our shadows take precedence, then we see how easily it is for any of us to be monsters, to treat each other as objects. It's what goes on out there every day, in the cold world, clenching our souls and sending us home to curl up in our safe spaces. But we must be honest and admit that it goes on in here as well. We are responsible for the care of ourselves, regardless of what the age of entitlement tells us and what others have foisted upon us. There is no escaping it. The cross screams it. We do well to hang there.

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