Posts Tagged ‘shadow
Sometimes my quiet time surprises me – like when I observe what arises in the silence and realize that I’m attached to the feelings that are standing before me – up in my face as if to say “What about this Bitch?!”. And then that’s where it ends. No enlightenment. No “letting go”. No “moving on”. No flow. Just “here I am”. Me and my feeling – going nowhere fast.
I like what Sharon writes below about living in a world where we still speak out; we take action – but not without also paying attention to ourselves, listening from a place of acceptance and nonjudgment about our own feelings. Because unless I do this first, how can I ever be in a place to acknowledge someone else with all their varied feelings and perspectives?
If I cannot acknowledge and accept the darker side of myself and am always in a rush to change it “quickly” without listening to it – then I’m doomed to rush others and not accept where they are. I’ll never listen to them.
Kindness and Understanding begin at home. Cultivating a compassionate listening ear begins with the Self. There is no sense in speaking out unless you can also listen to yourself first. Why bother even trying to listen to another without doing this step, cause you’ll never even hear them.
- Sharon Salzberg writes:Mindfulness enables us to cultivate a different quality of attention, one where we relate to what we see before us not just as an echo of the past, or a foreshadowing of the future, but more as it is right now.
Making the effort to truly see someone doesn’t mean we never respond or react or take very strong action. . .
We can and do attempt to restore a failing marriage, protest loud cell phones in public places, or try, with everything in us, to rectify Injustice.
But we can do it from a place that allows people to be as textured as they are, and that admits our feelings to be as varied and flowing as they are. A place open to surprises. A place that listens. . .
Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts.
No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.
~ Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
Thank you for all the well wishes, offers, chants and prayers. I am feeling much better, just a bit fatigued now. Many Blessings, John
Co-dependence – I recognize this quality surprisingly often; it’s one of those qualities that’s easy for me to see. I am thankful that it is less prominent in my own interactions as my personal evolution progresses.
What I tend to come across is a misunderstanding of self love. There is either a selfishness with no humility, no regard for another or a displacement of caring onto another, with little regard for ones own needs. In fact, I come across couples (and have been such a couple) who embody each of these qualities – polarized ends of the spectrum. Void of a middle way and primarily meeting the needs of ego.
When I am practicing mindful awareness there is a self care that addresses more than my egoic needs - It’s a befriending of the “good, the bad and the ugly”. A true self respect
Here is a teaching by Sharon Salzberg with a quote by the Buddha and Walt Whitman.
I hope it continues to foster your own self compassion, as it has mine.
The practice of metta (lovingkindness), uncovering the force of love that can uproot fear, anger, and guilt, begins with befriending ourselves. The foundation of metta practice is to know how to be our own friend. According to the Buddha, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” How few of us embrace ourselves in this way! With metta practice we uncover the possibility of truly respecting ourselves. We discover, as Walt Whitman put it, “I am larger and better than I thought. I did not think I held so much goodness.”
–Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness
Just another reason why I breathe.
It’s an ego check.
AKA – a reality check.
Enlightenment is after all about “Keep’n it Real”.
Enjoy the quotes,
“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.” ~ Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality
As Rumi reminds us, “There is no worse sickness for the soul, o you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.”
With my background as a therapist there are times when I am struck by the similarities between Buddhist Thought and Certain Schools of Psychotherapy. Several authors have made a living integrating the two (two reputable and favorite authors are: Mark Epstein – author of ”Mind Without a Thinker” and “Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart” and John Welwood – author of “Toward a Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation“).
Outside of the fact that certain Zen practices such as sitting and paying attention to the breath, can decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure and relax tense muscles – it can also have a concentrated effect on one’s ability to be with the “uncomfortable” – both during the sitting and afterwards with life in general.
For me, sitting and watching shit reveal itself as though I am watching actors on a stage – engrossed but not over-identified – has allowed me to be mindful in other areas of my life. This way of meditating enables me to be more equipped at being with the shit I step into during the times I’m not meditating. And trust me, my shoes can get pretty messy.
This making friends with my own shadow, outside of being a philosophical or spiritual practice, is also a psychologically therapeutic development - An evolution in my relationship with myself and with others.
A willingness to engage in this observation is perhaps one of the greatest acts of compassion you can give to yourself and therefore, all sentient beings.
The first time you sit with shit as it is thrown in your mind’s face, can be rather frightening. But sticking with the process has remarkable consequences in your personal development and evolution.
John Welwood puts it rather well in this succinct quote below:
If there is one thing I’ve learned in thirty years as a psychotherapist, it is this:
If you can let your experience happen, it will release its knots and unfold, leading to a deeper, more grounded experience of yourself. No matter how painful or scary your feelings appear to be, your willingness to engage with them draws forth your essential strength, leading in a more life-positive direction.
Source: Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart, Page: 106
I love Stuart Davis’ way of zen and his embrace of the 3 selves – especially the shadow (I had to post this after all the chats with Frizz). This is a classic for me.
PS – not for the faint of heart, this is a stick upside the head kinda zen
SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH . . .
The more I take time to sit, the more I make time to do my QiGong, the more I take time to pay attention to the activties in everyday moments – like when I am eating a piece of food and turn my attention to this activity, rather than wander off in my head or in front of the TV as I shovel food in my mouth - the more I relax into who I am beyond my ego.
Slowing down, emptying out and paying attention have some wonderful side effects (lowering blood pressure, destressing, muscles becoming less tense, etc.). An often overlooked benefit however, is a wide-openness in relationship with the self. Sounds great, huh? (ok, now I’m chuckling – or is it snickering?)
You see, I do not subscribe to a romantasized view of enlightment (or love) so at first this openness may not exactly seem like a benefit. Because just as with any relationship we have that grows deeper, the relationship with the self as it opens, brings to the surface all the dark stuff, all the shit, all the obstacles – anxieties, triggers, the raw-ness, the mistrust that comes from being in love and getting closer. It’s honesty – a being honest with who you are in an integrated wholeness. I take me as I am, not just the enlightened stuff, warts and all (or is it “ego” and all?)
Sticking with it – like a committment I’d have with any other love relationship – and being sure to treat myself with kindness, compassion and honesty allows me to be the container that can hold these areas as they arise.
So while we may all believe we need to love ourselves more, I am reminded what real love entails. It means being with the shit. Not ignoring it or reacting to it. This is true with the others I love as well as myself. And lets face it, if that type of development were easy we’d all be in enlightened relationships . . .
So I continue to sit
(and watch the Stuart Davis show on the web – I like how he integrates the shadow and I usually always laugh – especially the show on “The Secret”)
Have you ever witnessed a toddler fall?
Often you’ll notice that they do not cry until they look around and find their mother. It is only when they see their mother (or guardian) that they go running into safe arms and let out their cry. Why?
An evolved parent is a a sturdy and safe container for the child’s unpleasant emotions.
As we evolve in our practice, we too become better containers for the unpleasant things that arise.
To parent oneself can mean facing and confronting the disowned self and embracing it.
I came across this quote by Jack Kornfield from “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book” that made me think about this developmental process:
Even our anger can be held in a heart of kindness
Thanks to “Breathe” for posting a comment on my last blog, which has me remembering what a wonderful shadow expression this film was:
Owning up to your “shadow” – not a bad idea, can be a difficult process though. It’s the Holiday Season so get ready to face it, cause it is going to be in your face screaming a big “Fuck You”, which for me can easily mean, turning around and projecting it onto someone else (I mean wtf, this is the shadow – I ain’t gonna own it – that’s its point).
Tis the season to be with “family” and there’s nothing like family to bring out a little bit of my repressed features. The bigger the jerk, the more likely I’ll project my disowned self (hell, you should see me at work recently – it’s all – “I’m rubber, you’re glue”). But family D-r-a-m-a makes the stunts pulled at drag shows seem tame (and trust me, those queens know drama).
If you head over to http://www.IntegralLife.com, Kelly Sosan Bearer has written some great 101 articles on the Shadow. Really worth taking a look – even if you’re like me and spent quite a bit of time examining this issue over the years. ”Hot on the Shadow’s Trail” also includes an informative 10 minute video by Diane Musho Hamilton. Here is an excerpt:
“There are several benefits to recognizing and working with our shadow qualities. For one, we are usually more effective when we are not projecting all over everyone and everything we encounter. By reclaiming our projections, we unburden others from our projections about them, and allow them to just be themselves, rather than as how we see them. In that way we gain more objectivity.
But possibly the most important reason to work with our shadow is that hiding our shadow from ourselves requires an extraordinary amount of energy. What could we do with all that liberated energy? Enjoy life more? Enjoy others more? Accomplish more because we aren’t being constantly triggered into a familiar drama? Maybe even make a developmental stage transition?”
I think one of the greatest benefits of examining and owning the shadow for me is that I have a great desire to open – and part of what the above excerpt points to - is that we are able to be more objective when we own our shadow. Wouldn’t it be great to say, “I don’t ALREADY know how you’re gonna act”, because you’re making it about yourself (your shadow) rather than them?
So in the end whether they are a jerk or not doesn’t really matter.
(sure, easier said than done – but you gotta start somewhere. And you have to have a bit of healthy ego development and sense of self to begin to even look at your dark side, otherwise you’re gonna go neurotic or even psychotic – which probably explains why some of those family members will never try this process.)