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The shadow and Healing

What is it like to be completely healed? I have often pondered on this question as it does not seem to be an easy task. What does a completely healed person look like?  Is this person someone like a great spiritual teacher who is isolated from the world? Perhaps if you spend most of your time meditating and isolated you can become healed, or perhaps very lonely and disconnected as you are not in touch with all emotion through experiencing the challenges of daily life.  I have come to the conclusion that to experience real joy and a feeling of becoming connected, we may need to integrate all parts of ourselves and feel all of our emotions. This does not necessarily mean we will feel entirely happy at all times. However, if we look at our lives from the lens of an active observer and become very curious, we may be able to shift the unconscious. 

  According to one of the leading psychologists Carl Jung, we must be aware of our shadow selves in order to feel fully integrated as a human. What does that mean? In therapy, I feel this relates to emotions of  shame, fear, anger, guilt  and more that exists in all of us, and may be related to past hurt or trauma. This can be done through just examining how you feel on a daily basis. Every time you feel a strong emotion, you want to actually feel where the emotion is in your body. Then you can sense into it and a memory may come up. For example, if you feel shame, you may remember a time when a parent felt shame for you when you  behaved in a certain manner. This relates to your unconscious responses which are automatic ways that you react in your life. 

In addition, you may make yourself aware of times when you judge someone or feel jealous of them. You can also analyze what triggered you to feel this way. What happened in your past that you feel this intense jealousy towards another? Over time, the jealousy may begin to shift as you become aware of it. It is important not to judge yourself in these instances as we are all human and have feelings. When you become consciously aware of your emotions, you are more likely to not negatively react to them. However, the more we fear these reactions, the more likely we are to push down the emotions which triggers unconscious reactions. For example, to say something negative to a person you feel jealous of. Once you are aware of the shadow aspects of yourself, you can learn to live with them, acknowledging their presence, but not succumbing to the unconscious triggers provoked by them. If you are interested in the readings of Carl Jung and the shadow self, following is a list of some of his original works. 

Jung, C. G. (1947). On the Nature of the Psyche. London: Ark Paperbacks.

Jung, C. G. (1953). Collected works. Vol. 12. Psychology and alchemy.

Jung, C. G. (1948). The phenomenology of the spirit in fairy tales. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 9(Part 1), 207-254.

The sensing I speak about can also be related to a theory about somatic experiencing, a term coined by Peter Levine- https://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/interview-peter-levine



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