An encounter with my shadow persona, an opportunity for redemption
|I met my shadow in the very early hours of one strange day a few years ago. I was transitioning from sleep to consciousness when I was confronted by a dark, writhing, amorphous entity. It was resting on my chest, soundlessly menacing. I could not move and I could not speak. I understood immediately that I was in great danger. From somewhere outside I heard a distant siren. The sound rose to an eerie pitch before stretching, snapping, and dissolving into multiple audio tendrils which slithered back into the night. My grasp of reality began to falter and my mind became an unfamiliar, alien place. The fear I experienced was so pure and total that I felt myself losing my ability to think. I panicked, but when I recognized the panic, I realized that my fear and the shadow entity were somehow manifestations of the same thing. With recognition came instant relief. The shapeless thing suddenly disappeared from the room and I was left alone and breathless on my couch, staring up at the ceiling in a state of shock.
There are hidden mechanisms at work in this universe. There are mysterious functions and secret processes running in the background of our reality. Occasionally we get a glimpse behind the scenes, a rare peek into the heart of the world, where mind and matter are still indistinguishable. I was not prepared for my experience with the shadow that night and it took a long time before I was able to accept the idea that the darkness I encountered was my very own. It was only dark, of course, until the light of perception illuminated what had been hidden. What was there had wanted – needed – to be seen. My soul was yearning and ready for significant change, change that could only be accomplished once I was able to face what I had ignored and refused to acknowledge. There were aspects of my persona working against me, betraying me at a fundamental level, sabotaging my efforts to grow as an individual. Selfish desire, destructive habits, profound insecurities…in the years leading up to the shadow encounter my life had become sad, scary, and strange – a potential tragedy. I often projected what displeased me about myself onto others, which made me suspicious and hostile. Eventually I was entirely isolated. I never gave up hope, though. I was determined to persevere. When I had finally struggled enough, when my subconscious was finally ready for real change, the hidden machinery activated, and I was shown an alternate path. A new life awaited me, if I only had the courage to embrace my real self and do the necessary work.
The most important discovery I made was that it is our relationships with others that matter most. I had long considered myself as the loner type: self-contained, self-sufficient, and not in the least reliant on anyone else. It was a surprise, then, when I realized how unfulfilling a solitary existence is. It was an incredible, life-altering revelation to realize that I was, in fact, lonely. There is little joy in isolation. Success of any sort is meaningless when it cannot be shared with loved ones. Failure, pain, and disappointment are made all the more bearable with the support of the same. I had neglected most of my relationships with friends and family for a long time. It would take humility, acceptance, and much work to re-establish those bonds. It was then that I also began to broadcast my intentions into the universe, subconsciously hoping to attract like-minded people. Little did I know then just how powerful thought can be. In those early days of discovery and recovery I couldn't have imagined what eventually happened. Falling in love, creative fulfillment…having a child – these were above and beyond what I had hoped for.
It takes focus and determination to sustain ground gained after a breakthrough. I could see light beyond the tangled canopy, but without continued effort, it would not take long before the jungle encroached and again darkened the sky. My perception and attitude were beginning to change, but I still had a lifetime of bad habits and selfish behavior to overcome. To this day I struggle to keep this vehicle between the lines, and I am not always successful. I am daily confronted with aspects of my shadow. Today, though, in this moment, I know that true contentment exists. I believe redemption and deliverance from existential pain is available to anyone. I believe in love and forgiveness, and in a world beyond the material. There is a sun behind the sun, a radiant source of all that is seen and unseen. This may all seem abstract, mystical, even foolish to some, but the more I believe, the stronger (and happier) I feel, and belief will always overcome disbelief, as creation always overcomes destruction.