Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Shadow

In Ancient Egypt the concept of Soul was broken into many parts:

  • Khat was the body which decayed in death.
  • Ka was "life force" the spark or breath which made the khat come alive.
  • Ib was our motivations, thoughts, all emotion, intelligence, and morals came from here.
  • Ren was the name, given at birth and for as long as that name was spoken in our memory that being would live.
  • Sheut is the Shadow, the least understood of all. It can not exist without the person, nor the person without it. Even when we don't see it, it is there, it's travel is limitless.
  • Ba is the Psyche or soul, to each person a soul was unique, it was the personality, to which all things animate or inanimate had. (Ego)
  • Akh = Ba+Ka (ghost), the transformations of the dead into the living by combining two parts of the soul.
In Egypt Khat decayed but Ka lived and stayed near it's place of death. The heart (our thoughts and desires) could be weighed and judged in the afterlife by Ma'at. There were many ways to destroy or harm a soul, if Ammut devoured the Shadow, or if someone crossed out a name and ceased to speak it--the person no longer lived, improper burials, etc. 

In Buddhism the concept of "Soul"/"Ego"  is called Atman, and it too is broken into many parts:

  • Form (Rupa) it is the material body. (Khat)
  • Consciousness (Vijnana) it is the mind, intellect, mentality.
  • Sensory Feeling (Vedana), the Perceptions, touch, taste, smell, sound, sight etc. 
  • Will (Samskara)-acts of intent verbally, physically, mentally which translate into acts.
  • Conceptualization (Samjna)-the part of the mind that rationalizes and makes sense of the world.
These together create the Atman. Clinging to the Atman causes suffering (dukkha) the individual self is considered to be a hinderance, and at the core all beings are Anatta this translates into "No Soul" but can be more accurately verbalized as "One Essence", it is the belief that we are all connected and not separate, and constantly changing. It is our attachment to that which will change, and our desire to keep things the same that causes us suffering rather than accepting, adapting, and moving with the flow.

In Psychology the concept of Shadow as described my Carl Jung is the shadow of our Ego. It is the darker part that exists within our subconscious, the part that we reject. Nefarious in it's perceived nature, primal, where our instincts and projects lay, it is most dangerous because we have separated ourselves from it or embraced it into our entire being. The shadow is our dark side in psychology. It is important then to become aware of the darker parts inside of us, to know that to each of us there is a darker side, that to every "demon" we see in the world, is just another projection of us. To see the dark side within us without identifying with it, to accept ourselves in our whole form.

Another concept is Persona it is the root which creates Personality, and means mask. The mask was used in theater to exemplify what the character stood for rather than to conceal the character. The Persona is the face we represent to the world and to ourselves. It differs from Shadow in that, the Shadow in psychology is part of the subconscious the dark side of ourselves that we reject.

In Jung's perception the world is built by universal symbols called Archetypes, these archetypes represent the human journey and which role each of us may choose to take. There are many archetypes which exist, but in essence Archetypes are manifestations of nature embodied in the form of a person, personality, or behaviour.

In New Age Spirituality The Higher Self is the part of ourselves that is wise and all knowing, a guide in our life. The Higher Self is by some definitions our cosmic self, it is the part of us that are one with all. It does not differentiate between separate, it is vast and expansive and all knowing. It is wise and infinite, it is God, Allah, and whatever higher being. It is beyond nature and Ego and transcends into a world that can not be told only felt and experienced.

Here on Lake Chala the Shadow is neither bad nor good, it is the persona, the mask to which we wear, to our eyes it appears as colourful, it is a servant to our true self, higher self, or core, it functions independently and with various purposes critical to our survival. Like a child it must process and learn, to refine it's tools and transmute what it knows. When the Shadow is unconscious of it's being, and sees itself as separate and identifies solely with it's Ego self, it becomes dangerous. When the Shadow or Ego is used as a tool for good, it begins to resonate on a higher frequency closer to our Oneness. Here on Lake Chala the Shadow is our mask we identify with in this form, what we are aware of. We use it to interact with other brothers and sisters, because we have forgotten how to communicate without words, and have lost touch with our One Soul, without the mask we just are and need no communication. The mask allows us to function, and as such in this time and place the Shadow is arguably necessary in order to get to the next stage of our life. To reject our brothers and sisters is in essence to reject a part of ourselves. Here the Shadow is the Persona, the mask, it's dark shadows perceived as colourful on a grand scale. The Shadow is not to be shunned or rejected, but accepted, to see it for what it is and not for what it is not.

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