Embracing Shadows: Unveiling the True Light Within

Embracing Shadows: Unveiling the True Light Within December 21, 2023

Man in Tux seeming confident on the outside but there is a shadow self behind him that is screaming to show what's really going on inside.
Our shadow parts want to be expressed / Photo courtesy of Canva

Have you ever wondered if our shadow self, the repository of our deepest secrets and suppressed emotions, could actually hold the key to our truest light? This is a concept popularized by psychologist Carl Jung, where we stash away aspects of ourselves deemed unacceptable, ranging from our darkest emotions to traits society deems unfit. It’s a journey into the depths of self-discovery, where hidden facets may hold the very brilliance we’ve been yearning for.

Unveiling the Shadows

Jung proposed that our subconscious plays host to these shadowy fragments, largely collected during our formative years between ages 2 and 7. Picture this as the theta brainwave, akin to the REM state of sleep, where we absorb experiences without the interference of logic. These buried traits, once deemed unacceptable, create a covert refuge in our subconscious, forming a protective barrier against societal (and self) judgment. However, as we strive to keep these shadows at bay, we may inadvertently lose touch with our true selves, leaving our soul contracts and purpose obscured. The challenge lies in navigating the emergence of these shadows during times of extreme stress or pleasure, leading to moments of regret and the need for forgiveness.

Journey into the Shadows

Carl Jung’s solution? Confront and make peace with our shadow selves. I stumbled upon this truth when preparing a spiritual course two years ago. A message in meditation urged me to reconcile with my shadows for the effectiveness of my programs. However, the journey was not without obstacles. I encountered a seemingly impenetrable floor, a subconscious fortress safeguarding my core shadows. Unable to breach this barrier on my own, I sought guidance from a trained professional in shadow work, embarking on a transformative six-month exploration of my hidden parts. The process allowed me to not only confront, but integrate, these fragments into my adult self, expanding into a fuller expression of who I am.

Confronting the Unseen

The final frontier awaited—an angry, aggressive, and violent shadow part I had long restrained. Fearing I’d echo my father’s explosive anger, I cautiously unleashed this energy in a controlled setting. The unexpected transformation that followed was profound—a metallic, grey-green dragon emerged, symbolizing untapped power and capabilities I had confined within. I felt it rise up behind me, towering over me by several feet. It glanced to the left and then slowly moved its gaze to the right. When it had conducted this “scan” he faced center and I heard him say, “Is this all we’ve accomplished,” admonishing me for not reaching my full potential. It was a revelation challenging preconceived notions, reminding me that confronting the seemingly dark aspects could lead to unexpected sources of strength and resilience that I’d kept from being expressed.

A Journey Within

A year later I was at a sacred retreat at Teotihuacan, Mexico. During a Shamanic Breathwork session, four goddesses asked me to descend through a shaft in the floor. I expected it to be like an elevator, but it was more like a thick energy that surrounded me and allowed me to sink slowly until I arrived at the bottom.

It was completely dark, but I felt gently wrapped in divine source and was at ease. I was asked to turn around until I saw a glowing light, gather it up, and lift it through the shaft. The light was cloud like, so I had to be very gentle and slow as I gathered some and carefully raised it through the hole. I was asked to continue raising it up and up so that its light was shining upon the earth and illuminating all with its healing energy.

From this vantage point, I looked down at myself and realized the shaft was actually a journey from my mind to my heart and the light particles were not shadows, but the brilliant dimensions of me I had walled off many years prior.

Embracing the Light Within

As I excavated these light dimensions, I discovered that the parts we wall off aren’t inherently bad; they’re crucial components of our truest selves. Embracing my shadows made all the difference, allowing me to become the authentic expression of myself. So, next time you ponder the depths of your shadow self, remember, it might just be the path to unveiling your truest light.


About Mark J. Platten
Mark J. Platten is the founder of Integral Human Initiative where he helps people find their passion, purpose, and path by integrates brain science, indigenous wisdom, rites/rituals/ceremonies, connection with nature, and current research to help others become the best version of themselves so they can give their gifts to the world. Mark's Amazon bestseller, "The Art of Connecting With Nature," is an anthology exploring how the contributors connect to nature through various rites, rituals, ceremonies, and practices. He is also a contributing author on four other Amazon #1 bestselling books, has presented three times at the Parliament of the Worlds Religions, is ordained in two traditions, and a high priest in a pagan tradition. On the academic/professional side, Mark has an MBA in Organizational Management, served seven years as an Air Force officer, worked internationally for 15 years, and since 2008 has been faculty at Colorado State University where he's received over 30 state and 20 national awards for his programs. You can read more about the author here.

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