Shadows Don’t Lie
There could not be light without darkness, nor sound without silence, nor good without bad.
– John Bradshaw
The Christian Jungian analyst Fritz Kunkel once said, “In a showdown, God is always on the side of the shadow, not the righteous self.” Shadow don’t lie. It tells it like it is. It is the false self that lies, trying to impress others to be accepted.
Integrating our polarities (good and bad) leads us to self-compassion, the ability to accept ourselves completely without any reservations, denials, delusions, or excuses. We are fallible and full of ambiguity (uncertainty: rrau el beluu). Without wholeness and self-compassion, our choices will always be tainted by our personal lies, unconscious dishonesty, and self-aversion (kede medengei el kmo ngmekngit engdi ngsoad LOL). I remember how satisfying it felt sel K’suched el msa tara rechad like I conquered something. The truth is it conquered me. But once we are willing to embrace our shame – to walk into the dark cave we have the opportunity to begin our quest for wholeness (inner peace). The path to wholeness is not easy. I identify with St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (Romans 7:18-19): I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Goodness and wholeness is a journey with smooth moments of joy and other times when things come apart. Yet it is worth it, because the journey to achieve wholeness is itself virtuous. In other words, the process is virtuously prudent – wise. While a fully developed conscience embodies the integration of our polarities, such a conscience would still be a human conscience and subject to imperfection. I’ve always thought I was acting virtuously, yet what I did turned out badly.
Carl Jung also said, “I’d rather be whole than good.” which compels me to pursue wholeness.
To enter into the dark cave of our soul is an act of courage and honesty. We cannot fully develop our inborn capacity for moral intelligence without taking the scary journey of self-confrontation. The lies of a righteous false self are very comforting. But a righteous false self is dangerous – like the beach balls held underwater that can pop up anytime. Someone pointed out that we can be no more honest with others than we are with ourselves. Our inner-work is always private, and can never be fully displayed. We cannot show others exactly how we faced and killed the monster within so we can’t tell others how to do it. There’s affinity in stories so I tell you my story and perhaps you can reflect in bits and pieces. Each of us has his own calling, hears the beat of his own drummer, and has his own sense of destiny.
We are the most complex thing in the universe.
In the Lord of the Ring, Frodo’s ring (evil) was getting too heavy for him. Sam said to Frodo, “I can’t carry your ring for you but I can carry you.” That’s what the Holy Spirit does – He carries us as we go through the dark alleys of our minds – face our shadows and destroy the monster.