In Shamanism, the ‘underworld’ is a place where our shadow self resides. They say that the underworld is personal hell: a place where our inner monsters reside. The shadow self is a part of us that contains everything that we suppress and repress because of shame, fear, judgement etc. In other words, there is always a gap between ‘WHO WE WANT TO BE’ and ‘WHO WE ARE.’ This gap is the shadow self. We try to deny the existence of this gap because our egos are at stake. We often project this shadow onto others and are completely unaware that this shadow actually exists in ourselves!
The psychologist, Carl Jung, had written a lot on this concept of shadow self. He was one of those few psychologists who were open minded about areas like Mythology, Occult Science, synchronicity etc which were ridiculed by those who thought rationally.
While growing up, we are taught that certain things are desirable and certain things are simply not acceptable. This conditioning is important because if we don’t learn this, we will end up harming others. However, the irony here is that sometimes, this suppression is the reason why we harm others! Moreover, when we don’t acknowledge this dark side inside us, we end up creating a split. We wage a war against our own selves and in turn, lose our inner peace. This disturbance affects other people as well.
I want to give an example from my own life: Like everybody else, I was taught that anger is not a good thing and that compassion was superior to anger. But the truth is, I’m pretty short tempered when it comes to certain issues. Once, I decided to not get angry. I successfully ‘controlled’ it for months. However, one day, I burst out like a volcano. The pain that I inflicted on others was much more! I’m not saying that anger is good. I’m just saying that when you try to repress things too much, it is dangerous. But at the same time, harming others and saying that “it’s just my nature” is not acceptable as well!
It’s not just with anger. We pick what is ‘nice’ and construct an image. We want to be that image but deep down, we know that the reality is not so rosy. Being courageous is a good trait. So, if we are afraid, we feel ashamed because fear is inferior to courage.
I am going to explore this dark side inside me. I’m trying to be honest with myself as I have realized that I often lie to myself. It’s tough because the ego doesn’t want you to go to this mysterious place. But don’t we always feel that there is something hidden underneath the masks that we wear? I’m afraid of going to this place but at the moment, my curiosity is more than my fear.
For starters here’s a truth that I have just observed while writing this: I’m feeling superior to those who do not explore their dark side :P. Yes, this is the truth! Somewhere, my ego gets a boost when I’m honest. You might start hating me for all these qualities that I have but my blog name is ‘my experiments with truths’ so I better live upto its name!
What are the lies that you tell yourself? Do you become defensive when somebody says something negative about you or something that is against your beliefs? If so, are you afraid that they might have a point? Why are you afraid of going to this place? Do you know the celebrities whom you judge everyday? Are you judging them or projecting your shadow onto them? I hope that you will ask yourself the same questions that I will in the coming days and hopefully, we will come closer to truth and inner peace.
Update: Read about my journey to the dark side here (Click).