Have you ever asked “What are Shadow States?” and still not really got it. Shadow is hard to understand because it is something we can’t generally see. Our shadow is that which we dis-own or push away onto others as if it is too ugly or too dangerous or even too beautiful for us to own our self. In this way we can see it in others but not in ourselves – therefore it’s often hard to believe it is true about us. As we sit in meditation it is still very hard to see the shadow, but the better you develop your witnessing capacity the better you also develop your ability to objectively self-report – or receive criticism when it’s due. Once you can see that you have dis-owned or pushed away such traits you are able to re-own them. This is vital as we can only truly let something go that we have owned in the first place. Otherwise it is more a case of disassociation or denial.
We must be aware that shadow states will not be liberated on their own through meditation. True insight will listen to another’s perspective so one of the best (and bravest) ways to find out about our shadows is to ask our closest friends, spouses and family. But be prepared for the answers! Ego probably won’t like them as we all have a tendency to project our unwanted shadows out onto others so that we see them only in them – and not in ourselves. And this is another way to know our shadow… look for what triggers you in others.
A vital and essential aspect in transcending our shadow states is to re-embrace/re-own them. It is often essential to get some kind of therapeutic help in this process. Go here to purchase one of my meditation CDs or contact me here to make an appointment if you feel ready to re-own your shadow.