Recently, the subject of being shadowed, veiled or overshadowed has come up a few times. We all have places we avoid going that will become more conscious. This is a wonderful opportunity to heal and to put down old baggage. Until we put it down, sometimes we don’t realize how much we carry and how much energy we waste keeping a cap on it.
A shadowed experience can be due to a number of things. But key in this is recognizing what is ours and what is not. One way we deflect is to blame or place the cause outside of ourselves. But if we’re reacting, that is coming from inside.
1 – Attention shifts and we become conscious of a shadow already present. This isn’t something new but is newly conscious. This gives us the opportunity to resolve the shadow by bringing the light of attention to it and resolve it by seeing and allowing. If we notice strong sensations come up during this process, allow the attention to go to that part of the body. This can help process the release. Afterwards, we may want to rest to complete the process.
If emotions come up, allow them to flower and complete. If we’re open, this can take just a few seconds. There can be the habit to repress this but with practice, we become experts at feeling and release. Then the old baggage of incomplete experiences winds down.
All of this is much easier if we’ve cultured the space of presence or witness. Then the process is less personal.
2 – A life event triggers an old pattern, an old reactive response arises and we get re-caught. This may be something we see a lot. At first, we’ll notice after the fact. Doh! I did it again.
Then we recognize during the reaction. Sometimes, there may be the opportunity to redirect it or change our response. But not always.
Finally, we’ll notice the impulse as it comes up. Then we can choose how to act. More importantly, we can use a process like in #1 and help clear the Samskara or impression pattern arising. With many of these things, the perceiving is the essence of the healing if we can be fully OK with what is arising in ourselves. Once full experienced, it is done. Over.
Different areas of our life will have different degrees of baggage. Some of it will be multi-layered. We unpack the first part, then later come back for more. This can get subtler and less clear until more purification or refinement takes place.
3 – A big nut pops and lots of “dust” comes up. While in #2, the reaction is the event, in this case the purification process is the event. Just as in the reaction of #2, this may take the form of strong emotions, craving, irrational desires, sensations, or finding our feeling state darker than usual. But here, we’re experiencing purification of those responses rather than the responses themselves. We’re already in a healing mode. But we want to allow that healing rather than reacting to it. Otherwise, we can turn it into a more convoluted mess and another layer.
In any case, don’t sweat trying to figure out what’s what or what was caused by what. This isn’t a mental process, it’s a feeling one. Just allow what arises to be processed and the healing will happen. Then that baggage is no more.
Remember: the object here is letting go. It is not in reinvesting in the emotions or thoughts that come up. We’re taking out the garbage so we need not open the bag to see what smells we can find.
Many describe it like peeling an onion. There can be tears and it may seem like layer after layer of it. But there’s an end. Sometimes subtler layers take time to be seen, as noted above.
4 – The cycles of time can sometimes bring you more of an outward stroke or more of an inward time. Some, like sadi sati may be like a shadow, depending on your own laws of nature. In such a case, the key is right use of attention rather than fighting it. Know the shadow will pass and growth will happen if we work with it rather than struggle.
5 – If we’re Empaths, shadows arising in those around us may overshadow us. Here, we can’t do their healing for them so it’s best we learn to become skilled and not take on other’s baggage. Then we can be more successful at supporting them in practical ways and dealing with our own load ourselves.
If the shadow is “thick” enough that you’re not seeing clearly enough to do as described, then you may find the help of a skilled energy healer valuable.
Through some of this process we may become more sensitive. That may be a call for more life balance – be it some activity or less stress or better diet and routine. By better diet, I don’t mean more extreme. Some get a little caught in food concepts like “purity” to the detriment of their body. Balance comes from moderation.
Once or twice, the shadow may get deep enough that we have what some have called a “dark night of the soul”, a very dark patch where we break through a whopper to prepare for a big shift. (Depression itself is not technically a “dark night” in this context) The above options still hold true but it may be useful to explore how others have discussed it. What is opening may be bigger than described. Notice how in this article, Adyashanti mentions it as unnecessary but possible if we’re well invested in what we are being called to let go of.
If we’re on an effortless-based path, we’ll usually have the time to process and clear whatever arises, making rough spots much less common. Raja Yoga is the Royal Road.
Last Updated on December 13, 2019 by Davidya
WRT step 1, even experts in the area of PTSD warn against retraumatizing during moments of revisiting something upsetting. For example, Peter Levine studied how animals in the wild deal with trauma. He, and others, teach methods of being with the discomfort and alternating that with having attention on something physical and comforting, such as how our body is being supported by the chair. This kind of alternation of attention also helps cultivate an embodied witnessing or presence. Very healing on all levels.
You raise a good point I’ve discussed elsewhere. I’m talking about allowing sensations and emotions that arise to heal. I’m not talking about going back into old memories and traumas. Revisiting that can make them more solid and real, reinforcing rather than resolving them. It can even re-traumatize.
There’s a passing remark about this in #3 “Remember:”
And yes, that witnessing mode can really help with pretty much anything we’re wanting to let go of.
I’ve certainly seen healing modalities and therapies that do more directly engage traumas but that requires a distinct approach such as you mention. Not all of them are a good idea. Who wants their identity tied to a nasty experience?
Then it’s unclear what is meant by its being a “shadow already present…isn’t something new.”
Plus, if what arises is strong enough to need “healing” then more likely it is something that originated in the past. We might not remember it, but it is nonetheless an activation of something that occurred in the past. Thus caution about retraumatizing is good.
Yes, a shadow arising like this may well be related to a past trauma. But the shadow is from the unresolved energy left over from an unresolved trauma – it is not the trauma itself.
If we think of the trauma as a bull, the unresolved energy is a cowpie left behind. We can clean up the cowpies without engaging the bull.
Then the charge is removed and when the memory comes up later, we’ll discover it no longer has a charge. The bull has become a placid cow. (laughs)
The key here is just noticing and resolving the energy and not getting into stories about it. That release may express as sensations or brief emotions. If memories come up, we just treat them like any other thought in meditation.
I’m just describing my experiences here. I don’t have the background in psychology or healing you do.
This kind of approach isn’t going to work if we’re not energy-aware. That’s why I mention getting help if you’re not seeing this.
Me too, sharing from my experience. I’m mainly encouraging people to deal gently with discomfort whether it be physical or emotional. It’s good to alternate attention to the discomfort with attention to what’s comforting and physically real, such as the chair supporting our torso, the earth supporting our feet. Plus, as a bonus, Earth Mother Gaia is also supporting the bull, the cow and even the cowpie! (-:
Dissolving the Link Between Trauma & Addiction Through Presence, Scott Kiloby (26 min.)
Thank, Michael. Enjoyed that.
He raises a number of good points. But again, the focus of their work is healing deep traumas. This article is mainly about unloading general baggage.
That said, this process doesn’t differentiate degree of charge so you can run into very strong charges that lead to physical release and so on. In that sense, we can sometimes bypass the trauma triggers he describes and simply deal with it somatically.
Cleaning out the energy closet rather than the memory.
But that takes sufficiently developed presence and clarity for us to simply notice feelings and sensations without getting into a story and mental analysis (which blocks the process).
After, when a trauma trigger arises, the charge will be much reduced and can more easily be faced. With practice at allowing what arises to be there, it also makes it much easier.
A big one for me before the shift was culturing gratitude. Not making a mood of it but just noticing what I had to be grateful for here and there. This raised the general energetic tone (sattva) and made some big releases much easier.
But I can fully appreciate that some people have traumas that have lead to behavioral issues that need a more direct approach though. I would not recommend confronting traumas directly without support and appropriate means that don’t reinforce them.
Only posted this clip in response to the discussion between you and Share. Not in response to your article.
Generally agree with all you said.
Thanks. My points where mainly to the larger audience who might watch it.