We are a species skilled in the art of self-deception. In the interest of a glowing self-image and high self-esteem, we have sacrificed something much more important: truth. If we venture into the arena of self-reflection, we might discover that our reality does not match the image we hold of ourselves. Then we will have to give up one or the other. Conducting a sincere and honest examination of our lives is a challenging task. It is particularly challenging when we must face incidents and events of our past in which our behavior was hurtful to others. The discovery and examination of our innate selfishness transforms love from that which is deserved to that which is a gift. As long as we deny and dismiss this aspect our nature, we cannot come to this realization. We are frightened of giving up our illusions about ourselves, yet, in reality, it is not a dangerous journey. It is the safest method of travel. The trip itself gives us direction and purpose. The further we go, the stronger our faith. “With each step, shoes, crafted by others, protect and comfort my feet.”……Gregg Krech
this tricky territory of the shadowed heart is vulnerable and fragile….here is where we learn about fierce compassion and gracious intent….may our truth be wide open and healing….
The eye, when it opens, is like the dawn breaking in the night. When it opens a new world is there. The eye is also the mother of distance. When the eye opens, it shows that the world and others are outside us, distant from us. Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature and destiny. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility and depth….John O’Donohue
As contemplatives, we are invited to peel away the blindfolds that prevent us from seeing ourselves clearly as well. In psychological terms, the aspect of ourselves that is opaque or hidden from our awareness is called the shadow. The shadow contains all of the elements we disown, both the negative aspects as well as the positive. We discover these aspects by paying attention to our projections. Those people in our lives to whom we respond with a strong energetic charge generally carry a disowned part of ourselves within them. Psychotherapist David Richo writes, “Our dark shadow can be called the cellar of our unexamined shame. Our positive shadow is an attic of our unclaimed valuables. Every person to whom we react with strong fear, desire, repulsion, or admiration is a twin of our own inner unacknowledged life. We have qualities, both positive and negative, that appear visibly in others, but are invisible in us and to us.”…..Christine Valters Paintner