“INTEGRATE YOUR SHADOW” has become the battle cry of spiritual growth. Shadow integration is now seen as essential to personal development, success, and fulfillment. The centrality of shadow integration in these areas is most certainly a welcome evolution of enormous significance.

The only problem is that people, teachers included, often throw around highly charged words like “darkness” and “shadow” without actually explaining them or having a genuine understanding of what the words actually mean.

The reason the shadow conversation works at all, even without clear understanding, is that people have some natural idea of what “shadow” means. The word “shadow” automatically associates certain images, feelings, and ideas. When Shakespeare talks about “This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine,” you understand he is talking about shadow, even if you can’t fully articulate it.

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Try this little practice:

Write a letter to someone you dislike or are angry at. Then, read the letter to yourself but change their name to your name.

See how this resonates.

How does this address your own issues?

How are you the same as this person?

How are you the exact opposite?

Is there something in what the person is doing that is exactly what you would like to be doing but for whatever reason don’t?

How does this point to an unlived dimension of Your Unique Self?

What is it that keeps you from living it?

What first step could you take today to overcome this obstacle and start living this aspect of Your Unique Self?