27 Dec One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. (Carl Jung)
How does this relate to yoga?
Yoga is self realisation, it brings the unity back into your being. We are born whole and when I say whole, I mean that we do not separate body/mind and heart. We do not confuse ourselves yet because the Ego and the Shadow hasn’t stepped into the spotlight yet. Then we defragment, we split ourselves in halves and get confused in our heads. We treat the physical part as an object, we treat the mind as Truth and the heart we don’t really know what to do with. Best case scenario, we interpret the heart through the mind.
We create ideas of who we are. We identify with this or that trait and we do so depending on many things around us. Anything that would question that trait, will then be pushed aside, pushed into darkness.
When we dedicate ourselves to a practice, when we commit to it by becoming regular, we start to bring the pieces of the puzzle back together.
Creating awareness, first physical, by getting more intimate with the body. Noticing reactions in poses, in practice. With a daily practice we start to develop capacities of understanding. We connect dots that we didn’t see before. Really, what’s going on is that you start to feel yourself.
Simply said, we live in a universe of contrast. To see light, you need to have experienced darkness and vice verse. So a daily practice brings contrast of energetic flow into your experience. Each day that we start our routine, that we step onto the mat, that we place ourselves in our meditation, we notice the changes. We compare to the day before. Already here, we start to connect dots. We notice how our sleep and food habits affect us in the practice. We notice how GOOD we can feel sometimes and its contrast too. We don’t want to feel that tiredness we have gotten used to all the time, the foggy mind and irritated thoughts. We seek to always feel that high vibration and this is when we start to select the habits that makes us feel that way. Because we need to experience in order to access the knowledge, we need to do to understand, only a regular practice can give you this.
When we create that THING, awareness, get that clarity, the physical body is only the beginning. Our idea of who we are is limited to inside of the skin, yet we are aware of the influence that the “inside of the skin” has on other creatures and things we touch. Easily proven; hold an ice cube in your closed hand and both your hand and the ice will be affected.
So after some time, that clarity extends to outside of ourselves. Even more so, the more you get to know the ways of your mind, the more you see the minds of others. You become more sensitive to things like speaking truthfully or lying. You feel better generally and all of a sudden you link that feel good sensation to yourself and less to external things so you become more satisfied with yourself, just as you are.
And so you start to inquire about the thoughts in your head, the actions you take and the way you feel about people. Because when you feel good in the body by creating space inside, strengthening and release tensions, you also create space in your head. The heightened awareness then also concerns your thoughts and feelings. Now this is where we often stop for quite some time. We develop theories about why we think those things and feel what we feel. We might even get quite lost, all of a sudden we don’t understand anymore. We don’t know who we are. We can get anxious about it because it doesn’t seem like an easy ride anymore.
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognising the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.” (CJ)
Everything that we do have a source. Our likes and dislikes, very attached or completely detached, perfect social skills or socially awkward. Everything is developed as a coping (or defence) mechanism from most adaptable, like humour to self destructive patterns like denial and repression. One of the biggest issues of recognising our mechanisms as such is linked to shame. We might say that therapy is not seen as for “crazy people” anymore but we will not accept that we develop behaviours not to show what’s pushed into our shadow.
In religion, the shadow is seen as a foreign entity, the devil and Jung says form a union with the shadow. Become your own exorcist.
The shadow is the door to our personality. There is no access to our inner world without passing by the shadow
Why we project our traits on others: If you can learn to see a trait you repressed within yourself, in someone else then you can learn to love it and therefore reintegrate it for yourself. This is why it can be so clear to us when we are looking at someone else but so hard to see how we are that way. The blind spots we have about ourselves, are due to our shadow. We keep finding ourselves in the same situations, meet the same kind of people and attract the same things and all of it comes from the shadow trying to reintegrate. So learn to perceive everything that happens as another piece to the puzzle, a new knowledge that comes as a blessing (maybe in disguise) because it will clear your understanding. Do the work. Stop pushing away what doesn’t seem convenient. Stop blaming others and own yourself. Flaws and perfections. They go together on the spectrum of life.
By Charlotte Skogsberg