We can go through our whole lives with an underlying sense that something is missing. Rarely do we realize that what is missing is a part of ourselves.
In the ‘preverbal’ stages of our development the environment impacts us in a profound way. Our parents, or primary caregivers, influence our sense of Self and personality enormously, and, if the environment is a dysfunctional one, very quickly we begin to adapt to the incoming messages in order to survive.
We develop what is psychologically termed an ‘adapted self’. As we grow and reach adulthood, this adapted self becomes our primary identity, and the ‘authentic Self’, who we were born to be, disappears from the conscious mind and everyday experiences of our lives.
It is the adapted self that comes to our rescue as infants, when we first perceive a threat to our survival, and it is in this moment that the ego is born. Whereas the authentic Self is undefended, trusting, surrendered and open, the adapted self is defended, untrusting, suspicious and closed.
To a child whose experience of the world is that it is a hostile place, reinforced through the behavior of parents, caregivers, teachers, authorities and the dysfunctional systems of the wider community, the adapted self serves as a defense against catastrophic emotional, psychological, or actual physical death.
In most cases, as we grow into adults we develop a coping mechanism that keeps us out of sanatoriums or prisons. This coping strategy facilitates our unconscious need to express, (via projection and transference), repressed fear, pain, rage, sadness, anger and hurt. These discordant emotions are met by a systems-wide culture which consciously, or unconsciously represents what we could term the modern seven deadly sins.
We have only to switch on the news, or to tune into any of 200 plus television channels to find that the predominant theme includes at least one of the modern seven deadly sins, namely; murder, theft, rape, death, betrayal, rage, and deception. The media culture in particular, serve as a representation of, and as an outlet for, the repressed human shadow.
Yet, we have a chicken and egg scenario. For, to what degree does the violence depicted in the media, most notably in television and film, exacerbate the psychological shadow, and yet, what might the unexplored, unhealed and un-integrated human shadow inflict upon the world without this capacity to passively act out?
Most people are unaware of what they are caught in, in terms of psychological process, when they engage with mainstream media, again, especially television and film. It is necessary and critical that we now turn our attention inwards, in order to explore, heal and integrate the psychological shadow that is mirrored by unconscious media.
A prime target for the overt, (and considered acceptable, no matter how cruel or violent), acting out of the human shadow is Nature, and her many kingdoms, including, land and ocean creatures, and life forms.
Also, we can observe the scale of global addiction to suppressive aids such as consumerism, drugs, alcohol, sex and pharmaceuticals, to be representative of the further numbing, and therefore repression, of the psychological shadow. Repression, and suppression lead to depression. In the psychological model, depression is a result of unexpressed emotions.
Few, by comparison to the mass, are driven to fully act out their psychological shadow in the world. There is a fine balance between non-catastrophic and the catastrophic acting out of the shadow. Most people have a psychological profile which enables non-catastrophic shadow expression, however, we need only look around the world to see evidence of those whose psychological profile is such that its impact is catastrophic.
The evolution of the masses now needs to shift. We need to become conscious of, and responsible for, how we project our shadow-selves onto others and out into the world. For the majority, shadow projection is a way of life, and although mostly unconscious, the behavior that accompanies such is considered normal by the culture.
The psychological evolution of the masses now needs to shift. We need to become conscious of, and responsible for, how we project our psychological shadow onto others, and out into the world. For the majority, shadow projection is a way of life, and although mostly unconscious, the behavior that accompanies such is considered acceptable by the culture.
All the while our focus is fixed on what is outside of us, all the while we lament the harrowing stories reported on the news, and then, paradoxically, be entertained by the same subject matter as portrayed and glamorized on television and in films, we will continue to remain numb and blind to the true cause of the lack of peace in the world.
Lama Surya Das offered his wisdom to those who would listen when he asked the question,
“What then is most truly transformative? Is it merely a matter of changing one’s clothes or hairstyle, or joining up with some group that hopes its message will change the world? Could it be simply a matter of receiving the ultimate mantra or initiation; learning to perform the proper rite or ritual; finding out how to meditate; doing yoga, praying, breathing, chanting, having cosmic sex; going to the Himalayas, Jerusalem, Mecca, Machu Picchu, Mount Kailash, Mount Shasta; or meeting the right guru? I don’t think so. Or, is it not most transformative, most earthshaking, to pierce the veils of self-deception and illusion, and crack the eggshell of ignorance, to most intimately encounter oneself? Through honest self-inquiry and no-holds-barred meditative introspection over a sustained period of time, one can take apart and deconstruct the hut that ego built, thus entering the mansion of Authentic Being.”
(The Buddha Within).
Without psychological exploration with its accompanying healing and integration of the human shadow, humanity will continue to project both individual and collective shadow onto others, and into the environment, thus reinforcing the turmoil and crisis state that the world is in.
The global shadow is our shadow – it is representative of anyone who has not looked within for the purpose of psychological healing and integration.
For a positive and sustainable world shift to occur, we must attain a positive and significant inner-world shift. This is the only way to establish lasting world peace. Inner peace equates to world peace.