Uncovering hidden aspects of the psyche
Online & Private Sessions, Windhoek, Namibia
Finding treasure in the shadow:
Assertions about God are antinomies:
God is immutable, & instigator of all motion, eternal source & goal, Creator uniting in himself genesis & decay, supreme light & gloomiest abyss, infinite God, finite as personality, singular & plural, the unfolding & union of all opposites.
Letter to Corti
2 May 1955
The unconscious mind, of which the "shadow" forms part of, constitutes roughly 90% of the psyche and consists of processes which occur automatically (thoughts, repressed memories and feelings, everything you feel ashamed of, perversions, interests, fears and desires, intuition and motivations). It also includes everything you have locked away, for whatever reason, but especially during childhood, when you have started moulding yourself to what your parents, culture and society dictated. However, any part we disown within us, turns against us, ultimately influencing our behaviour in destructive ways: your unconscious mind creates both your inner and outer reality. So if you have been triggered by a person, an event, or a situation, with a disproportionate response, it is most likely a form of projection, stemming from the contents of your shadow. Research has revealed that more than 95% of what the brain does is below the threshold of consciousness and shapes conscious thought. With decision-making, the primitive (unconscious) parts of the brain are activated before the neocortex, which then registers, consciously, the decision which has already been made. You then rationalise why you made the decision, even though it was derived unconsciously.
Shadow work involves uncovering these hidden aspects of the psyche that give clues as to what needs to be healed and integrated with the personality. This introspective process is essential for reaching mature adulthood and your full potential. By doing shadow work, it increases the number of available choices and the range of behaviours we can employ in every moment, especially under emotionally charged circumstances. However, it is a hero’s journey to the underworld, not for the faint hearted, as it requires a process of ‘sitting with’ uncomfortable, difficult and painful emotions when you have been triggered.
Because one cannot tap into the unconscious mind using reasoning, and because the language of the unconscious mind is symbolism, we can use the people and events in our lives to mirror our shadow to us. For example, if we keep attracting the same type of romantic partner or relationship style, or if we are being triggered by another, this highlights that there is something lurking in the shadow that needs to be shed light upon and integrated. Instead of playing victim and viewing these scenarios to be a curse, these circumstances provide golden opportunities to discover hidden aspects (both healthy and unhealthy) of ourselves as well as rewriting dysfunctional mental patterns. An added bonus is that once we have made the unconscious conscious, the very people who triggered us, change their behaviour in favourable ways, in effect matching our new-found and integrated self. However, the problem with the unconscious is that it is unconscious. To make unconscious content conscious, mythology, and specifically archetypes, can be used to provide insight into unconscious pattern-recognition, with understanding on an instinctive level.
An archetype refers to an inherited, unconscious pattern of thought/behaviour, a symbol or a prototype image, that represents a meaning that is the same across all cultures, universally present in individual psyches. Many parallels run between mythology, fairy tales and gods and goddesses of for example, Greek, Roman, Vedic, Egyptian and African origin. This is because an individual’s unconscious mind is connected to the collective unconscious, which is said to be inherited, containing symbolic material of an entire species, therefore, archetypes are universal. We can then identify with the archetypes of gods and goddesses, superheroes and role models, where they become personified inner forces that shape our behaviour and influence emotions.