What happens when shadow emerges? Why does it happen in our closest relationships?
As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d stay away
- Hughes Merns
That man is our shadow, and our ego instinctively looks away because shadow holds our limited portions of personality and habits developed in the past that no longer serve and are not part of conscious awareness. Our dark shadow holds repressed negativity while our golden shadow holds our repressed potentiality.
The shadow can also be comprised of portions of our collective psyche. This comes up as circumstances or emotions that separate us as a group. It can also present as external fascination or spectacle that holds our attention, and thus keeps us from accessing internal resources and connecting with the group in spirit.
We usually project our shadow into places where it is “safe” to show this side of us, like our closest relationships. We instinctively know that the people we love the most give us the best chance to transform our shadow aspect by recognizing it, and then initiating and sustaining expanded awareness. This transformation process removes limitation and allows us to release what no longer serves, having recognized that it does not fit the “big picture” of integration and unity.