Shadow

You have to patiently learn to live together with your shadow. And carefully observe the darkness that resides within you. Sometimes in a dark tunnel you have to confront your own dark side…

If you don’t, before long your shadow will grow ever stronger and will return, some night, to knock at the door of your house. ‘I’m back,’ it’ll whisper to you.

Haruki Murakami

1

I don’t think I know my shadow well. It’s all these stray thoughts that stand between me and him (her?). Stray thoughts that I don’t dismiss because I feel they are part of me. Persistent bugs. Think of them as symptoms: things the shadow throws at me, and I see them, and struggle with them, but they are not the Shadow, they are between me and the Shadow. The Shadow is not a devil, a demon. The Shadow is just a part of myself, that isn’t visible to my mind’s eye unless I observe and introspect carefully. Think of the Shadow as the unconscious. Think of it as a negation of life – but then, don’t think of it that way. It isn’t evil or good, it just is. It’s a bundle of the things that I carry through life – baggage – that it’s hard to articulate consciously, hard to even see that they exist. Only in conversation with the shadow – sit down in the quiet, or stormy forest – forgetting the rest of the world exists – can I understand the shadow, and better, myself.

I feel like I have a shaky hand. I want the marble of my soul to find the valley, the natural point of rest*, but my hand keeps shaking, and the marble’s moving, but it goes around and around, it doesn’t find the bottom.

2

In a way, the Shadow is bedrock. Or it is the deep water. Consciousness and rational thought exists on top of it, tries to be separate from the Shadow – but its attention, its willpower is limited. It draws from the deep water, even if it may deny that it does. The convictions: they are in the Shadow. The Shadow is solid. The conscious mind may want, may try to change its convictions – but it must reach into the Shadow. A journal entry is like time spent with the Shadow, funneling its deepness into words, a whirlpool allowed in the conscious.

(from 11/5/16)

*Just today I saw the resting point of personality referred to as “settledom“. I like the word.

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