Shadow Play

by Fionn Zarubica

The ego’s need to feel superior.  That is the terminology that Eckhart Tolle uses to describe the motive for gossip, among other things.

I was going to talk about gossip today, but my thoughts kept taking a left turn; a turn to something that has been surfacing in my consciousness for a while, but which I have, for the time being, put off analyzing.  

What has been begging my attention is much darker than gossip and far more difficult to look at.

It moves in our shadow.  It is our compulsion to elevate people, ideas and situations beyond what they really are and then destroy them when they fail to live up to our projections; when they fail to alleviate our suffering.

The concept itself is not difficult to grasp, but owning our part in it is.

When new promising elements, people, places or things, enter our lives we are inclined to fall in love with them, ascribing to them all the qualities and attributes that we hold as ideal and that we feel we lack.  We congratulate ourselves for finally figuring it all out and sate ourselves with hopefulness; and for a spell we feel so much better.

But then comes the disappointment when inevitably our shadow re-emerges.

The cycle goes on and on, and in its wake are the people and relationships we once elevated, the dwelling places that we thought would be perfect, the philosophies that were going to answer all the questions.

Peace remaining elusive and mocking us for our foolish optimism.

We want so badly to see our shadow as a mistake, to find someone who will say it is so, and an elixir that will banish it.  We want it so badly we will cruelly destroy anyone and anything that we thought would relieve us but failed.

As much as we might wish for it, no one is going to come along and say or provide just the right thing to fix it all.  None of the great teachers ever managed that.  They were only able to find peace within themselves and live as examples for us.

Because, as each taught us, the only way out is through.

We all entered this world equally loved, equally cherished and equally powerful.  It is not for others to keep and invest our prana* for us; and not for us to judge them for their lack of cooperation in our spiritual fantasy lives.

There are no external solutions, only distractions.

We all have the perfect right to select the time and manner of our assignation with our shadow, but it is futile to look to others to provide us with an escape route, and reprehensible to destroy them for declining to do so.

The shadow loves us and serves us faithfully; it will never abandon us until its lessons have been learned.

Even when it comes to the shadow, to the sacrifice of the shadow…

Love is all that matters!

*Prana – Sanskrit for “life force”

Image: Bengt Ekerot and Max von Sydow, The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet), Ingmar Bergman (1957) 

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