We've all experienced the resistance that drives us from pursuing beyond the norm, the comfortable. When a person becomes uncomfortable with avoiding confrontation and self-evaluation, they begin to give themselves the opportunity of knowing their greatest strengths. The force behind this resistance I mention is identified as the shadow self. In some form or another, we all have this variation of self; always disguised as part of our own identity. The shadow self seeks to remain as is; self-serving and always unwilling to change for it craves power and influence over the mind. As if it were a hidden mechanism, the shadow self entwines with one's personality through the unconscious. Foolishly, from a young age we often learn to consciously believe that it is part of the true nature of self, and that we can control its influences by avoiding it; this is a mistake.
For me, the shadow self is defined as the accumulation of all I have thought, felt, and done outside of my own dharma. Through time, this accumulation becomes fused with one's own identity, and therefore, its demands grow and continue to be perpetuated through one's own habits. Let me be clear, the shadow self is not an external influence, but rather, one we have unconsciously developed over time and identified as part of who we are. Its power arises when we deny its existence and avoid the responsibility for its influence over one's own life.
Fear for example, is part of the toolkit in the modus operandi of the shadow self. Fear being the opposite of courageous joy, is always triggered to affect and influence a person's response to external experience; yet, it is only alive within. Fear becomes 'real' when it's charged with a person's emotional and mental energy. Without this associative process, fear becomes a word, an external concept. Repetition (habit) and psychological conditioning perpetuate the experience of fear, consuming opportunity as if it were a forest fire. Being in the middle of that fire is a strong symbolism to how one can experience the binding effects of the shadow self. When a person acknowledges the existence of fear, the transmutative process of self can occur. We, then, must observe how the shadow self operates through the mental and emotional patterns that systematically deter us from joy, peace, and fulfillment.
A person must wake up and realize that it's their subconscious mechanisms which dictate their own tendencies and reactions to external stimuli. This is how all sort of destructive habits such as fear, doubt, and even melancholy permeate the mind and emotions with a continuous interplay of imagery and feelings that reinforce our strengths or our weaknesses. How to eliminate the grip of the shadow self over my life-experience has been my passion for the last 25 years? This question can be answered by understanding what associations you uphold when you define your own identity. Thinking you are, makes it so. Well, this becomes reality once your identity assimilates the condition as permanent and essential; auto-suggestion is a powerful tool that can lift us or put us down. In this manner, eliminating the influence of the shadow self becomes an experiment in reverse engineering. Attention is the medium through which transformation becomes a conscious choice.
Knowing what you want to do, and who you want to be, creates a set of new possibilities for the future. The shadow self is the antithesis to the highest version of your future/life; for it works only to perpetuate your mistakes of the past. As you persist in this experiment in mastering Attention, you'll observe that tension will develop when these two forces (remain or transform) arise in your mind, which is the spark that ignites the rise of transformation. Within you, the shadow self is the contender of your creative soul, and your higher self ideals. These two forces will come to contact when a true desire for expansion develops in you. These forces are continuously bound to meet, for one holds the status quo, and the other, brings forth the future of a potential life not lived.
This is your moment to recognize the shadow self within the sphere of your own consciousness, and its influence upon your own identity. You'll begin to discover that you are potential and truly more than what you previously believed. You are a spark. As your attention strengthens the clarity of your highest ideals, transmutation will take its course upon your mental, emotional, and physical bodies. You'll begin to sustain and attract new opportunities, which will further your understand to how you are transforming your own perception of self and your identity.
As the Earth transforms and continually moves with every breath of wind and every falling leaf upon the ground. An individual's identity and willing Spirit is also meant to transform and renew in the same way. So, seek transformation through patience and profound honesty; this will bring you ever closer to your point of equilibrium and conscious peace. From this mindfulness, you will know what, when, and how to move towards your true fulfillment. Every aspect of your life will gradually desensitize from the shadow self, its influence, and its demands upon your attention. Today, render yourself ready for the profound opportunity to consistently stroke upon the canvas of your life, a masterpiece of your own making.