Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


           There has been a lot written lately about conquering or defeating the “Shadow.” Most people define “Shadow” as negative energy that causes painful feelings that result from circumstances that we don’t like. Lots of workshops advertise wonderful results if and when the Shadow is overcome. Spiritual teachers claim that Shadow blocks us from getting what we want, such as being financially successful or finding a relationship. Most workshops promise secret teachings that will empower us to overcome the Shadow and promise us the life we want.

When we feel traumatized or victimized by our circumstances, our ego wants to blame something or someone for our pain. Spiritual teachers have taken to creating “the Shadow” as the culprit for these unpleasant results. This is totally incorrect. Claiming that “Shadow” is the cause for unpleasant results is like blaming a doctor for getting sick.

The Shadow is simply a warning system that tells us when we are off the spiritual path. When we suffer because we are not getting what we want, that is the Shadow telling us that we are battling an issue that needs healing. When we are unhappy and suffering we are focused on ourselves, which is an unnatural and inhuman state of being. We are created and wired to focus on others.  One of our important and natural purposes as a human being is to serve others. When we are focused only on ourselves, we are in opposition to our natural state of being. Then our warning systems set off like a red flag going up the flagpole.

When we don’t get what we want, we are trained to be unhappy. From birth our society and culture teaches us that we have to suffer if we don’t get what we want when we want it. Patience and acceptance are not as important in our society as success and reward.  When issues concerning self-worth and self-esteem are instilled early in our formative years, we automatically believe that if we are not getting what we want then it is our fault. Our defense mechanisms (also instilled early in our lives) kick in, and we avoid responsibility for the events in our lives by projecting blame on anyone or anything in sight. Thus, clever metaphysicians have created a target for this blame, the Shadow.

By casting “Shadow” as something it isn’t, we create an illusory target to blame for our misfortunes. If we recognize that the “Shadow” is not the enemy, rather a valid natural warning system, we begin to recognize one of the most basic spiritual teachings, which is we are the creator of our lives. We create each and every event in our life for our enlightenment. There is no “Shadow” out there scheming to sabotage our lives. We don’t have to conquer “Shadow”, we simply have to take responsibility for our lives.

When we come to understand that we are the creators of our reality, the illusions that life is hostile or unfair evaporate. When we focus on these truths, we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and can start focusing on our purpose, which is to serve others. When we serve others, the illusion of “Shadow” naturally disappears. We do not need expensive seminars to defeat something that does not exist. Simply focus on others.

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