Today has been a full day. Not in the sense that I was constantly busy, although I guess that is true too. But what I really mean is that today was absolutely jam-packed with experiences, both novel and mundane. I could write about any one of them. In fact, I could probably write a whole series of posts based on just one or two of the things I experienced today.
One of the greatest things about the way this wellness quest is changing me is that I am not judging any of the experiences that I had today. They were, none of them, good or bad. They simple were.
That is one of the things I am really working on. I would like to come to a place at some point on this journey where I can simply be, rather than being good, bad, happy, sad, focused, distracted, frustrated, angry….any of those words we use to describe a state where we are not fully in touch with ourselves. My uncle Richard and I were talking in the car the other day…He mentioned the idea of a state of “pure awareness”. The idea that the part of us that is listening but not analyzing, experiencing but not judging…that that part of us is a “pure awareness”.
I want to cultivate this state of pure, unadulterated consciousness.
This morning I practiced meditating while doing my nebulizer treatment again. This morning, however, I had a different experience from yesterday. I was able to clear my mind and approach a state of being aware and alert but not focused on anything. When that happened, I began to get flashes of images and ideas. The theme focused on a silhouette of dark energy that hovered just out of reach. It was roughly shaped like a human being and somehow the thought entered my mind immediately that this being was “my shadow-self”. When I began to analyze it or attempt to pursue it, the image would disappear. But when I pulled back and let myself sink back into a state of non-judging, non-analysis… that shadow-self would appear again.
I spent all day (when I had time to think), thinking about this shadow-self and who he is and how I can connect with him. After thinking about it, I believe that my shadow-self is most likely a manifestation of the part of me the holds angry, destructive, deceitful thoughts. It is the “primal” part of me. That testosterone driven, hyper-competitive, arrogant, manipulative portion of my psyche that would like nothing better than to bend the entire world to his will.
That sounds like a force of evil, doesn’t it? Sounds like I should banish my shadow-self, force him into submission, or even destroy him if possible.
But that is where we’d both be wrong. Yes, my shadow-self is a force that, if out of control, would most likely become destructive. But who would I be without a measure of competitiveness? Who would I be with no sense of self-confidence? Who would I be if I didn’t try to understand people, and, sometimes, to persuade them to do things? There is nothing of substance that does not cast a shadow. I choose to think of this shadow-self as a symbol and an integral part of my humanity.
With that in mind, it makes no sense to ostracize my shadow-self. No, rather than pushing away part of what makes me human, I should find a way to embrace it without letting it run rampant over the rest of my being.
That brings me to the other image that kept arising during my morning meditation today: an image of myself as a being of pure light, no substance, no shadow – I became a shimmering outline of myself, sitting cross-legged but not touching the chair. I was the ethereal me.
I think that this image represents the opposite side of myself. It had no shadow, which leads me to believe that my shadow-self is its opposing half. I think those two parts of me are like the Chinese Yin and Yang. When those two forces are in harmony – when they are balanced – then I will truly be healthy: then, I will reach a state of optimum wellness.
I was encouraged by my experience today. I found myself able to confront two extremes of my being and I think that with some more practice in meditation I can learn to embody or inhabit these parts of my being and find out what each part needs from me in order to remain in balance with one another.
Perhaps once I can truly interact with my shadow-self and my ethereal-self I will be able to get in touch with the energy flow that I believe binds us all together inextricably.
Perhaps then, my Chi will flow unobstructed and I will become something new. As Richard likes to call it, “Nathan 2.0”.
Do you know your shadow-self? What do you think of him/her?
I’d love to hear some comments on this one folks. All of this is speculative and although it is my experience, I am interested in all perspectives, no matter how different from mine.