Of all therapeutic questions the one of the shadow»is probably the most interesting, intriguing and no less than the most decisive for the final outcome of the growth process. The reason why I consider the shadow so central lies in the fact that every issue that is faced in the terapeuticed process (and hopefully worked with) in essence is a reflection of the clients shadow (and to a degree the therapist´s- but following that lead would doubtlessly take us too far out of the discussion at hand). Every therapeutic issue that emerges from the shadow IS (of course) a shadow issue. If it wasn´t a shadow - per definition s.th. the client does not see about him/herself- then it wouldn´t BE a shadow. Everything one see and is aware of is not anymore a shadow.
Another aspect that is often forgotten in the discussion of the psychological shdow is the fact that the shadow always necessarily is the «negativum», i.e. the other side of the «positivum».
There is no judgment (like in: « I had a positive experience « or « I have a negative impression» ) attached to those terms. Positivum and negativum are strictly neutral terms, and thus is their meaning.
Everything in this world of polarities has a «negativum». As soon as the soul (and body and mind) descends from unity into the world, it is faced with the dilemma (and joys) of polarity.Our minds that have been trained through many centuries to polarise can be tempted to quickly conclude that the negative is always the «bad», or « dark». Looking at the fenomena from a larger perspective one realizes that for instance that light is the negativum of dark. In Norway in the darkest part of winter, (sun-)light becomes the the shadow ! This fenomena is sometimes called «the light shadow». We human beings often need to have things spelled out until we really see them, it might help to use this term.
An example to show how neutral positive and negative really are, is the magnet: nobody in his «right» mind would say that the pluss pole is «better» than the minus. Or suggest that we cut out the minus pole and only keep the plus (the world would collapse in a nano second). Even more obvious: breathing in and out. You try to cut out one, and you get a real problem, relatively quick.
And yet, that is how human beings tend to relate to the subjective experience: always strive towards the positive and try to avoid the negative. It is a battle that is impossible to win. At best: «won A battle, lost the war. «.
SO: What to do, how to handle this eternal dilemma ? The only way back into unity (Tao, one-ness, enlightenment, Buddha-mind, whatever what one would like to call the un-namable) will thus be a way out of polarity- which finds its starting point stopping to polarise the world («this was a bad day», «he is a good boy» etc) and goes via realizing and embracing one´s own shadows (everything one does not yet see about one´s whole Self) towards integrated LIVING of all pairs of polarity, a YES to a conscious equilibrium, where one chooses to live both sides without judgement.