Monday, March 8, 2010

Ken Wilber on the Shadow

A couple of weeks ago I started studying Ken Wilber's Integral Spirituality.I have been getting up in the morning, reading it and meditating. I am enjoying the process of assimilating the information. Chapter 6 is called the Shadow and the Disowned Self. I am very interested in healing the Shadow. I found this chapter very enlightening.

If you haven't read any Ken Wiber I recommend reading Introducing Ken Wilber: Concepts for an Evolving World By Lew Howard as a great introduction to his work.

I highly recommend reading Integral Spirituality if you want to have a deeper understanding of the integral approach to spirituality. You may want to check and see if your library has a copy.

I also join an Integral study group here in Sedona.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to share an observation regarding shadow work, as I feel it might help to strengthen the process.

    Ken talks here about disowned aspects of the self being dissociated from our consciousness. Anger is an example he uses, and it happens to be a very pertinent one, I believe.

    Something which I have found very useful is to realize that identifying something like anger within oneself (or perhaps I should say rage) can be extremely difficult because, not only is it taboo in our adult-centric culture; it is completely forbidden by most parents in their children. However, many parents openly express their anger at their children, causing a justifiable anger to be provoked in these children! And it's not just anger which begets anger, but any kind of hipocrysy or injustice or cruelty. Children are (and damn well ought to be!) extremely sensitive to these things.

    Now, the reason I believe this is so important is because it is often only when we can understand that our feelings of anger or jealousy or whatever are in fact natural responses to events in our lives for which were unprepared - because we were children - that we can begin to release them by experiencing them. Judging them to be "wrong" is a very adult thing to do, and often gets in the way of the healing process. One of the shortcomings of Jungian Shadow work is that it can presuppose the moral reprehensibility of many of our feelings and reactions, thus focusing on "improving" our adult selves rather than liberating ourselves from self-blame. The term "shadow" - though not used in this way by Jung himself - instantly conjures images of everything "bad" and "wrong" in ourselves.

    Of course, as adults, we DO need to take responsiblity for our reactions and our responses, but if we view the shadow as a storehouse of undesirable and unacceptable feelings, we are implicitly denying the child within its right to understand that his or her anger etc. is justified. Once we have found the real target for these repressed feelings (often our unwitting and oblivious parents of yesteryear), then we can stop acting them out in inappropriate ways with other adults!!! We create an opportunity for ourselves to release these feelings in a safe, non-judgemental and understanding environment (whatever form that may take!).

    I hope this is helpful!