Don’t be afraid of your shadow self. We all have this shadow—there is the light and the shadow of who we are. The “shadow” was named by psychiatrist Carl Jung to metaphorically reflect the baser yet often unconscious aspects of our nature, such as greed, anger and lust of power. Fear is often the root cause of the shadow. St. Thomas said: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” If Darth Vader represents your shadow side send love to him, and it will set you free. This act of love requires that we first acknowledge our dark shadow, embrace it, and then work to transform our inner Darth Vader into a white knight. Sending love can transform the shadow instantly, but when it doesn’t deep inner work must follow.
There are people in society who represent our collective shadows. They often act out of fear, preying on the fears of others. We have a choice to join them in acting defensively against all the external causes of our fear or we can see them as shining a light on our own fears. We can see them as an exaggerated fun house mirror reflecting back to us the dire need to address our own inner shadow. In essence, we elected them to do this job. It is an opportunity to have compassion for, instead of blaming, ourselves and others. Energetically own your own fears. It’s okay to have them until you don’t—until you understand there is nothing to fear. When you have no fear you have the white knight at your side.
Fear is not rational. It’s the absence of love and trust. And yes it’s true, in absolutely any situation you can think of, if you have enough love and trust, you can walk through it unscathed. It’s a level of love and trust that far exceeds what most people would have. It is possible that there would never be anything to fear. Paradoxically, the love starts not just with the good parts of you, but even loving your fears. Love your fears with the knowledge that each one of them will disappear. It’s never enough until love is unconditional. That’s when love is enough.
Love yourself right now, love your fear, love your anger. Not the ego’s love but the heart’s love—with compassion and undying sympathy. If anger looks like a dark cloud, then the love you surround it with and that infiltrates into the cloud expands the molecules of the cloud until it gets so spread out that there is no cloud anymore—there is just space between the molecules. The distance between each molecule that makes up anger becomes so vast that they cannot reform to be anger again.
Embrace your guilt, have compassion for your guilt and love your guilt. And then watch the cloud of guilt dissipate as love infiltrates and disperses the cloud until no more guilt is left. And to each cloud of fear, send the same love until each cloud of fear dissipates. And do this work over and over with each of your shadow aspects. Don’t run from the anger, the fear or the guilt. Love it away and others will learn by your example. Recognize your own light. Let others see that your light of love burned off the clouds of anger, guilt and fear. When they are ready to do the work, they’ll ask. If they’re not ready, they won’t ask. It’s not your job to save everyone from themselves. Your job is to save yourself, and that is how you help save the world.
Dispersing the dark clouds of our shadows can be a lifelong pursuit. Continuing the above practice is one way to transform our inner Darth Vader into the white knight that lies within.