The presence of shadow

Now that I know, what shall I do?

I’ve discovered the nature that lurks in me – a shadow self – one that is starkly present when I shine an inner light on myself. I can tease it out from all angles. Even if the light is directly overhead, the shadow is still there beneath my feet. This shadow side of me is an aspect of self theorized by psychologist Carl Jung and it sleeps, feeds, and grows within my unconscious.

My whole life has been about waking up and becoming fully conscious. I prefer to be consciously wonderful brimming with goodness, salvation, sanity, charity, understanding, and forgiveness.

According to Jung, once I discover the shadow side, I also discover my dark side.

Within my dark side are my monsters, and if I do not acknowledge them as being mine, if I do not discover their nature and the validity of that nature, I will project them out into the world and suddenly the world is a monstrous place. If I keep my shadow in the dark, it hides until the moment is right to burst forth and suddenly what might come from me is a reaction that speaks of fear, uncertainty, anger, and desperation, and I would not have a clue where it truly came from. Instead, I would blame others for evoking that reaction in me.

I play victim to my own beliefs, and am held prisoner by my ideal projection of how the world should be, constantly locking myself away as the world reveals that it is the projection of billions of other souls who have a different agenda. And, I battle with everything that does not meet my ideal. What I do to others, others are doing to me. Thus, the world becomes what Jung called the “collective unconscious.”

The cure, of course, is sociological critical mass consisting of enough souls who have encountered and accepted their shadows. I need to become aware of the root of my reactions and whether those reactions are feeding the monster or if I am truly responding to others as they are.

Now that I know, this is what I shall do: live by the intent of creating a world where life recognizes and promotes itself as One.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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9 Responses to “The presence of shadow”

  1. holessence Says:

    Barbara – I admire your hammer-swinging presence and the way you always manage to hit the nail squarely on the head. For example:

    “I battle with everything that does not meet my ideal.”

    That one sentence; that one simple truth, lies at the crux of the matter. Thank you once again for another thought-provoking post.

  2. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Laurie — sometimes I hit the nail on the head with my hammer . . . other times I whack my thumb. I am just beginning to get a handle on the shadow side of humans. I’ve always called it being unconscious, but there is a slight differentiation. I think we are more aware and conscious of what is in our shadow side than we care to admit.

  3. sandiwhite Says:

    What you have recognized here is something we most often try to hide from ourselves, that there is a Shadow. Just as surely as one side will reflect the Light, the other will recede into the Darkness. It is a mental-emotional and Spiritual state just as it is a physical one, just because you can’t see the back of your head doesn’t mean it is not there. I know I am often surprised to have some unworthy but very true thought spring to the front of my mind while I am being at my most self-righteous and sanctimonious. Why surprised? Because I had seen myself as above those sorry feelings of greed, jealousy, spitefulness, ect…Gee, do I think that by having acknowledged a few home truths I have become Angelic and ready to let my Wonderfulness shine upon all the World? Nope, like everything else in the Universe, I have two sides, Light and Dark, and when one is in Ascension, the other is waiting it’s turn. Without Darkness, the Light would not be as bright. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      It is the contrast that allows us to see the differences, Sandi — you are so right about that. When we came here to earth, we had an agreement with the Master of the Universe that we would have free choice over our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. If we had only one set to choose from, we really would not have a choice.

  4. Gil Says:

    “critical mass consisting of enough souls who have encountered and accepted their shadows. ” One day the trickle will become a flood.

  5. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Gil — people have a tendency to flood over to one side once a belief system hits critical mass; the trick is to have them make the choice out of their own free conscious will, not just because that is what everyone else is doing. But once they become aware of how their unconscious belief system drives what they perceive as reality, then surely we will see a flood.

  6. jeffstroud Says:


    This is my second reading of this post, yesterday I was looking for it, but did not find it, now I am glad that I was drawn back to the presence of shadow. So much of what I struggled with while living in Community was my shadows, my darkness, as well as that of the others that I lived and worked with. In that space it was like having 12 or so people reflecting back at you on a daily basis. It was a challenge and a gift at the same time. Finding the balance, creating the space for the shadow and light to dance, rather than separate was and is the process of awakening…

    Thank you thank you for sharing this observation and journey! I loved everyones responses too!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — I think what you describe above is why I don’t do well in large groups. I dislike parties and to get me with more than two people at one time requires that they be very special people. If the people we are with don’t realize that what they perceive in us is merely their projection, it can get a little tense, especially when most of them are very unhappy. So I try to just hang out with happy people!

  7. jeffstroud Says:


    Understand completely !!! And I seek to place myself in the same situations when I can. As a photographer I find myself as of late in large groups of people, yet as on observer…

    Happy People are the best!

    I am Love, Jeff

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