-I thought i posted this yesterday along with a photo neither of which actually posted. I’m still learning here.
Posting now follows.
This ‘Shadow’ blog post was started awhile ago, A recent email finally motivate finishing it.
(Some names of places are not just my bad spelling but have are abbreviated or have an intentional strange spellings to diminish unintentional views of this blog site. I’m probably just paranoid, yes and, as someone emailed me writing that “internet privacy is almost an oxymoron:)
There was a mention from a Prescat AZ after-dinner-talk, where someone requested that the local sangha stop our pettiness. I wondered at this request as certainly no one wants to be petty, or believes they are being petty. If we saw such behavior in ourselves we certainly would stop it. So clearly either we are not aware of it, pettiness, (let me broaden ‘it’ from ‘petty’ to unkind or self-serving behaviors.) or we are unable to do differently. If a request were enough to effect behavior we’d have a different world instead of the more interesting one we now have. So something(s) more is at play here than can be handled by a request.
One of the occupational hazards of the spiritual process is the need to demonstrate our spirituality somehow, at least to our own minds. And this sometimes translates to “looking good” by acting nice, this as opposed to being however we show up, not an easy thing to be, authentic, given the extent of our conditioning and mechanicality. If the assumption that our essential nature is good, organically innocent, then it may be that our efforts to be spiritual by doing ‘good’ via external behaviors is covering over our essential goodness. So there is an X factor here, ‘the shadow’, in the Gurdieff work language it was called “kunderbuffer”; the organ that keeps the fragmented inner selves from becoming aware of one another. Supposedly if we became aware of all these fragments at once we’d implode or something terrible. So this shadow is no small puppy to play with as we shall see.
Gurdjieff said of himself – “All my sins are on the surface”, -a man without a shadow perhaps.
I believe I see shadow presences a bit more where I live in Tamil Nadu. at the various ashrams, with all the white clad seekers swarming the halls. I don’t know maybe they are all sincere devotees and I’m just projecting? Maybe wearing white is respectful? Lee dressed similarly when he visited here. It would be uncomfortable, like pretentious, for me to do so.
When you’re trying to be spiritual -extra good, there is then more stuff needing to swept under the rug, -our ego image- than the usual happy-hedonist who is more accepting of their wants and desires.
I’m trying to keep it light here, dharma-lite, but it, shadow content, for me has been by far my big ongoing work. Though in a way shadow is unreal, it is an almost ever present, adversary/friend I wrestle with.
I’ve seen how I convince myself that whatever it is I want is really for the greater good, as indeed it may well be, this then has allowed me to push and distort situations to get my way.
I think I’m belaboring the point as everyone is familiar with the concept of shadow. Self-observation and/or self-remembering and inquiry, or is it enquiry, should handle it, but it doesn’t look like it has form many of us. Witness the recent request to end pettiness. Either this is a very long term work, yes it is, or because we can speak and use the term ‘self-observation’ we then imagine that we are doing it. Isn’t this what we’ve done with so many work ideas? This is the reason we can’t use words like love and god anymore, they’ve become contaminated with immense cultural and personal assumptions and projections.
BTW (By the way) sometimes for some people ‘shadow’ is light-side content. Our strengths which we don’t want to acknowledge perhaps so that we can play it small not having to take responsibility for the Work, or as you might say, for the fullness of Lee’s relationship to you and your relationship to him.
The quotes below from well know wise men can add perspective to what we are attempting. -“sorcerers stalk themselves in order to break the power of their obsessions. There are many ways of stalking oneself. … you can use poems to stalk yourself.”
“A warrior is on permanent guard against the roughness of human behavior. A warrior is magical and ruthless, a maverick with the most refined taste and manners, …
“sorcerers constantly stalk themselves. …*” Don Juan, aka – also known as, Carlos Castaneda.
(I’ve interpreted the word ‘ruthless’ as ‘impartial’ seeing nothing as personal and not taking anything personally. KK)
I have no easy or fast solution.
As EJ Gold once said “first you struggle with others (sangha), then with the teaching, then with the teacher and then you struggle with God and finally you struggle against yourself.