Archive for August, 2009

27
Aug

In Jungian psychoanalysis, the shadow is generally seen as those parts of us which we have pushed into the unconscious. They may be aspects of our psychology which we despise, are embarrassed of, or have been deemed socially unacceptable. Think about being raised in a very religious family where sexuality is equated with sin. Everybody gets sexual urges, and repressing them out of mind takes a lot of energy.

The main issue with shadow is that it takes a lot of energy to keep that stuff hidden away from ourselves. It’s like holding a basketball underwater with your palm - and the stuff tends to pop up and surface when we aren’t looking. Think about clergy sex abuse cases as a prime example of repressed stuff surfacing in insidious ways.

A lot of psychoanalysis deals with bringing that stuff up to the light and recognizing it. This doesn’t mean that you have to act out your impulses, merely that you recognize where some of your issues come from. Integrating the shadow does not mean you lose your common sense, in fact it will heighten your ability to make good choices.

As warriors, it’s important to be on the path of integrating our shadow. Doing so releases a tremendous amount of energy (the energy we used to hold that stuff in our unconscious). it also helps us to be more conscious about the choices we make.

While I am no therapist, I want to give you a quick beginner’s exercise in how to see and recognize your shadow:

continue

Category : spirit | Blog
21
Aug

kundaliniFrom Taoism, we get the concept of Yin and Yang, the idea that everything in the Universe has two sides which are called masculine and feminine. This concept has counterparts in almost every culture - the two pillars of Kabalah, the Ida and Pingala channels in Yoga, Jachin and Boaz, the sacred feminine, etc. This concept should not be confused with people’s physical gender. The idea is related but not a direct analog.

Even in Christianity - a decidedly patriarchal system, there are many hidden references to the sacred feminine. One small example is, in early iconography, the Christ was frequently depicted inside a symbol known as the vesica piscis - which can symbolize (amongst other things) female genitalia.

In these traditions, the masculine is the active side, while the feminine is recptive. In martial arts, external hard arts like karate exemplify masculine energy, while soft or internal arts like tai chi or jujutsu exemplify the feminine energy. In very high levels of even the harder masculine styles, the energy becomes more receptive and feminine. Jujutsu, sometimes called the “gentle art”, is actually better translated (from the perspective of context and meaning) as the art of defeating one’s opponents by receiving and yielding to their energy.

I was recently listening to a lecture on Youtube by Paramahamsa Nithyananda who talked about enlighthenment being the awakening of feminine energy, and how all of Taoism is concerned with this (although it isn’t always spoken). In Yogic circles the vital energy - kundalini- is described as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. By awakening this energy and raising the energy up the spine to the crown - one can gain awakening. This energy is metaphorically linked to shakti - a hindu goddess. The idea of it reaching the crown is the marriage of shakti (feminine) with shiva (masculine).

Again we have the balance of yin and yang. In Western alchemy we have the chemical wedding, in Taoism there is the greater enlightenment of kan and li. All these different cultures and psycho-spiritual teachings are talking about exactly the same thing but choosing different metaphors.

I will include the video here, be forewarned - if you’re a fundamentalist you might have a hard time swallowing some of what he’s saying. If you can listen with an open mind - you just may get something from this.




Category : spirit | Blog