Saturday, February 25, 2017

Me and My Shadow, Part 2

     Last time we were discussing how the events in the political realm over the last few months, as painful and abhorrent as they may be, are aspects of our shadow self.  Jung described the shadow self as that part in us which we don't recognize until we see that our projections on others are merely manifestations of ourselves.  We see in others what we don't like in ourselves.  As Jung wrote:
A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbor.  ("The Philosophical Tree", 1945).
     I would like to take this a step further and submit the idea that our country has a shadow side.  We value capitalism and business success, don't we?  Isn't that the American dream -- to make it big?  But what is the shadow side of that?  How about:
  • greed
  • competitiveness
  • doing anything (including abandoning a moral code) to win
  • looking at others as winners or losers, not as fellow humans
  • using people, not valuing them
  • measuring one's value by external means (money, possessions, etc.) rather than by one's character 
  • focusing on short-term gains rather than the benefit of future generations
  • seeing Nature as something to be exploited rather than cherished and taken care of
I'm sure you could add to that list as well.  But, the question awaits, what can we do about it?

     More on that next time. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Me and My Shadow

     My reaction to the political events of the last few months has left me with a serious taste of rotten kibble in my mouth.  How about you?  Do you feel like either hiding for the next four years, or wearing black every day until the next election, or moving to another country, or standing in the street and protesting?  Do you feel this internal sense of pushing away what is going on in our world?

     I think that many in our country right now experience these feelings to a greater or lesser extent.  Sadly, the truth is that pushing away is resistance in its purest form and won't make the problem go away.  Remember?  Resistance creates resistance, and both sides become more entrenched and stronger.  Yelling at your enemy only creates a lot of noise.  It won't change any one's mind.

     This brought me to Carl Jung's concept of the shadow.  Here's a quote Jung's Aion (1951):
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 recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real.  This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
 Ouch!  You mean the ego-displays we see in our political realm, with the need to be right, the dominating energy, the intense feeling of competition and so on -- all that is in me

     Well, yes, it is in all of us.  And once we see it displayed in such a public manner, we realize that we have some work to do.

     I know that I certainly do.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you

a very happy

Valentine's Day.

(image courtesy of

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Balancing the Male and Female Energies, Part 3

       We have been discussing how to bring balance to ourselves and to our world, after centuries of male-energy dominance.  Here's a thought to grab onto:
We must embody the change we want to see.
     If we think of male energy as fire, we need to act as water. 

     When we see aggression, we take a stand as peacemakers. 

     When we see control and manipulation, we live for truth and work for equality. 

     When we see callous disregard for our environment or the weakest in our society, we act with justice, compassion and nurturing. 

     When we see exclusion, we include. 

     By living the life we want to see, we become leaders of a better tomorrow.  Hopefully, this latest incarnation of male-energy dominance will prove to be a last gasp of that kind of imbalance. 

     Meanwhile, embody the change you want to see.