How to purge and do shadow work safely

19 posts in this topic

The road to authentic being might not be all flowers and butterflies. Sometimes you will be dealing with intense stuff. Having a skill or two or even a clue or two about how to survive those dark nights, is crucial.

The consequences of not knowing how to properly respond to or deal with the darkness that's arising in you can be detrimental.

You can end up damaging yourself psychologically and even physically. This stuff can get as serious as it gets. I feel like that's not being emphasized enough.

I myself have always kept a close relationship with my shadow. I was in touch with it - to various degrees throughout my life. Most of the time; the darkness that arises in me is not alien or foreign. But.. I do get surprised or even shocked here and there. In most cases I can intuit the right steps right away. All I need is time, space and silence. And I can do my thing - in no time. But life's not always going to bless you with that gift. Sometimes you will have to deal with stuff on the spot. In the heat of the moment. No matter what the circumstances.

This is where things get a bit Harry Potter.

There is an art to transforming 'negative' energy on spot. Especially if caught off guard. The better you get at it; the easier and more natural it gets. You simply learn, or, remember how to respond to and neutralize these energies. And by energies I mean - quite simply; feelings.

You become so highly in tune with what's going on energetically around you that you instantly know how to balance out any perceived imbalance in your field.

You're doing this primarily for one reason; to stabilize your own energy. But it may or may not also benefit those around you.

I'm not going to be getting too deep into how exactly one should go about doing shadow work in here. I imagine I will create another thread for that. But I will share a few pointers with you here.

1. It is not about you.

The stuff that's arising, the turbulence, the shock, etc... all that has nothing to do with you, actually. It's just energy. Very intense feelings that are sorta like waves in the ocean.. during storm. Even if a character that's screaming in your face may seem to be having a problem with you directly - that's not actually the case. It simply represents a wave.

2. If you choose to reflect the darkness back to its source; try not making it personal. Be angry, be loud - but avoid shooting low. That's going to lead you to spiral even deeper into shit. If you have to reflect back the energy because you're unable to transform or neutralize it in the moment; try being loud and passionate for a higher cause. Try reaching upwards. Don't just rage mindlessly.

3. If you have the time, the space, the silence and the will to dedicate yourself to shadow work... That's awesome. You can really do a big thing for yourself. You can integrate aspects of your being that most people would not be caught dead daring to feel or think about. Let alone embody it and accept it in their heart. That is how you ultimately integrate anything. By facing it head on and opening your heart to it. Letting it consume you. I feel the need to warn you again here. This is serious business. You should not be pushing yourself over the edge if you don't know how to land. More on that later.

In a safe and controlled environment; you can do wonders. I am yet to experience this fully. But I also already have - to some degree. Basically you purge the fuck out. Within four walls. You rage, you cry, you go insane, you laugh, you hate, etc. One rule only; Do not harm your body (or at least not severely).

4. Creativity 

Obviously; another great and very important way to get comfortable with and express all kinds of thoughts and feelings. It can be extremely liberating. It can heal you - if healing is needed. I'm all about music, so that's kinda my go-to. But I'm sure there are lots of other creative endeavors that can serve the same purpose. Point is; being in touch with your 'dark side'.

I feel like I have exhausted this now. It should be enough information for those of you who resonate with it, to get a sense of direction with this. I want to emphasize here and in future similar posts that this work should not be overlooked or avoided. But it should most definitely be done in a safe and responsible way. 

So... If you like the idea of becoming friends with the darkness... Get excited. It's a very cool world. And it's not dark at all, actually.





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A few more words about what the shadow actually is and why do we purge;

The shadow is basically all that stuff that you denied, suppressed and buried deep in your subconscious. It's the 'not so pretty' side of you. You can kinda intuit it's there (in most cases), but you're not really in touch with it. You don't have control over it. It simply takes over when triggered.

That is what we want to resolve. We don't want to be avoiding the shadow. We want to become familiar with it, understand it, learn from its lessons and integrate it. Once integrated to a certain degree; there will be a lot more space for you to act appropriately when things get heated. Meaning; you will not be taken over, lose control or go unconscious. At least not as hard as before.

You will learn how to hold space for the energy and turn it into your advantage. Into your power. The shadow holds a key to great power, indeed.

So why do we need to purge? Well simply because we have been denied of expressing that side of ourselves for a long time - if you will. So there is a lot of built up energy - ready to explode at any moment. This can happen in many different ways. And again; if done consciously, you will unlock another level. You will gain access to more space, clarity, wisdom, stability, intuition, emotional intelligence, etc. Simply put; you will become highly in tune with yourself. Because there will be nothing in the way. Nothing that's blocking the current.

You might think that there is no shadow in your experience and that you don't have to purge or anything.. But be careful; that might as well be the shadow's thin voice trying to fool you and keep itself hidden from sight. It does not like the light. Not until you form an alliance with darkness.


Edited by ivankiss

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On a second thought; I'll just keep posting in this thread shadow-related content. It will be easier to see the whole picture this way. Also; if anyone feels like adding any resources that are relevant to the topic, or just wants to add their thoughts - please do. I'd appreciate it.

So... A few more pointers crossed my mind earlier today...

One of those is regarding this 'issue' of losing yourself in your shadow. Being completely taken over by it. Not seeing a way out. Not even being aware of such a possibility. You are simply locked in.. Until the shadow's grip loosens and lets go of you - naturally, over time. 

I'm sure you can think of being in a situation like that before. It happens to all of us at some point in experience. We get sucked in, chewed and then spat out. Until we master our craft - that is.

So here's the thing:

You need contrast. 

You must be very familiar and comfortable with The Light in order to be able to transform the darkness. It is only when the light of awareness pierces through those dark clouds that you can flip things around - so to speak. Simply put; you must cultivate conscious awareness in your direct experience. In your everyday life. Awareness (Light) should be the number one 'thing' you're focusing on. It should be emphasized and checked in with on regular basis. Meaning; you should strive towards being (more) conscious at all times. You should be in touch with your thoughts and sensations, but not lost in those. When awareness (Light) becomes the source of your experience; there will be little to no chance for you to be taken over by the shadow. By darkness.

But still... it can happen. You could be having the most casual, chill day - and boom! Something happens out of nowhere that triggers you and pulls you down under. You should never underestimate life's ability to surprise you. To catch you off guard. Or to test you, even. To see how well can you wave your magic wand. How deeply have you mastered Light.

In those times; if the Light within you is truly known; contrast will scream in your face. It will be so damn obvious that you're no longer in heaven - so to speak. It can literally feel like you entered a totally new, independent reality. One that has nothing to do with where you were just moments before. The same rules do not apply. Things can work in drastically different ways 'down there'. You may not be able to love n light it all away. Sometimes you will have to get your hands dirty. But... You will be following the Light. No matter how small or how distant it seems; you see it. The Light will guide you back home. Yes, you are already and alway home. But that may not seem so when darkness dawns on you. Not at all.

To summarize; Emphasize awareness and conscious living. Know your heart and mind. Love your heart and mind. Understand how relating to others works. Understand their point of view. Know your boundaries and your values. Be aligned with your purpose... All that will grant you the tools and skills you need for anything life can throw at you.

One can also jump into that endless black pit willingly and consciously. Maybe you're worried you'd damage yourself seriously or simply not be able to climb back up... 

And your worry is only natural.

More on that later...

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A lot of good effort and info as always ?

Jesus is Good. Leo is right. And BipolarGrowth is mildly sexually confused due to his immaculate Understanding of 🍆 + 🍆 = sexy 👩 one day. Everyone knows a True Knight of Righteousness must slay multiple foul beasts in order to reach the only princess worth soloing an expert level difficulty speed run that takes almost 21 years to even begin in any true sense. 

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I'll just leave this here:

Sans titre.png

God is love

Whoever lives in love lives in God

And God in them

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Never give up :ph34r:

God is love

Whoever lives in love lives in God

And God in them

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So here's a short intro to how you could go about this consciously and willingly;

Let's say you discover through introspection and contemplation that one of your shadowy impulses is telling you to pursue meaningless sex and waste your money on whatever the heck you feel like spending it on in the moment. Let's say you truly wanted to have that experience and integrate it into who you are. But let's also say you are deeply passionate about your purpose and have a grand vision for your life and the world you live in. 

The conscious way to go about this (assuming that you can afford it) is to make a vow. A vow that will serve a purpose of waking you up when it's time. Once its purpose is served it simply dissolves back into nothingness.

The vow should sound something like this;

'Ok... I obviously feel a strong resonance with having meaningless sex and not caring about money.. I will commit to that experience fully and dedicate *this much* of my time and invest *this amount* of money in it. If things get too out of hand or I realize I made a wrong choice; I will wake up.'

Essentially; you're putting yourself under hypnosis. You're putting yourself to sleep. But also; setting your alarm.

The vow is your tiny light guiding you through the experience.

Ofcourse; this is just one example. The scenario can look like anything. Point is; you make a conscious decision to give yourself the experience your shadow wants to act out. You calculate and create the time and space for the experience to unfold. You make sure yours and everyone else's safety will not be jeopardized. And then... you dive in. 

As mentioned before; another great way to jump into and/or merge with the dark side of you is... music. Lovely, awesome, epic music. Intense music. Dark, loud and heavy music - even. But also; sad and depressing music. You name it... This is - in my opinion - a much safer and much more gratifying way to explore and express certain dark thoughts and feelings. You can really get deep and far with music.

Here's a good example of the loud, heavy, dark and somewhat disturbing kind;


And here's a wonderful example of the sad, depressing and hauntingly beautiful kind;


Get creative!

Edited by ivankiss

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@ivankiss Good posts man, dealing with shadow stuff as well. Unconscious is primitive, animalistic, instinctual.

My "shadow issues" show me that my problems and solutions are pretty basal. What needs to be done is something down to earth rather than fantasy, has been my focus. I have all sorts of images and fantasies about the feeling that I "discovered a dark orb" inside me, but they're just images. 
Main thing on my mind has been authenticity. Being authentic has absolutely nothing to do with manipulating the future. Wipe all concern and thinking about the future. Authenticity has to be done for it's own sake. 

I'm honestly unsure how compatible verbalisation is to that kind of awareness (catching the world before thoughts of future is why im talking about this). Because you catch the world just before you verbalise it. That sort state feels weird to me and scares me

I think that I'm wise or knowledgeable, but then there are so many silly and basic fears that control me. It's also dawned me that I need to change my state or change something, because there is so much I think I know which I don't. I don't know what a "mind" is , I don't know what a "thought" is, but I think I do anyway. 
There's more in plain sight I can't see. 

The next step I see for myself is disciplining myself with practices or healthy routines. Currently I'm in 24/7 stress mode over studying I have to do, and in my spare time I backlash with stress into dysfunctional habits of coping. 

Edited by lmfao

Hark ye yet again — the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis enough.

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@lmfao Thanks for sharing that. I appreciate the transparency.

I noticed on this journey people don't exactly like to expose themselves. To be real, down to earth and vulnerable. As if doing that would make them seem less enlightened, or less awake. They avoid anything that has to do with the individual. Not to suggest that they identify with it. Which Ironically only makes it more obvious that they have not transcended the self. 

What that actually is, is a giant spiritual shadow.

So yeah, thanks again for demonstrating what truly counts and matters. - Honesty. Authenticity. Transparency. Truth.

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My previous post kinda ties in nicely with what I wanted to share next.

And that is the topic of...


*Dun dun duuun!*

That's a big one. Judgment goes in all directions. Anything it can judge; it will. Itself included.

Then again; it can also be a useful tool. 

Judgment separates. Or creates an illusion of separation - if you will. It divides. It splits reality into two (and more). It creates a boundary between the stuff that you prefer and the stuff that you don't. It is an illusory point of view from which one observes two sides and tries to pick one over the other. One has to go. The other must remain.

Hopefully; you can see how that can be an issue when integrating aspects of yourself and reality that are seemingly contradictory and/or undesirable. But something that might not be so obvious is the times when judgement actually can assist you in your evolution. At some point in experience; it can be helpful to judge. To divide. To separate yourself from something that you do not prefer to be or identify as. It might not be the most clean and classy way to go about things; but judgement gets the job done, nevertheless.

When it comes to doing shadow work though; it will more often than not cause trouble. If you judge the shadow, the darkness, the unconscious that you're witnessing; you will be unable lift it into light. You will be unable to transform and/or integrate. You will find yourself entangled. Stuck in a loop of judging the one who judges. Judging those who judge you or others. Or any other version of the loop.

You also cannot truly stand your ground if you judge the words or actions of the one you're relating to. You cannot be whole and judge at the same time. Not actually. Only in lala-land. Which is cool, too. It has its place. But it's not where one should be stuck at.

When there is no judgement towards any perceived darkness or nastiness coming from someone else and seemingly aiming at you; there is clarity. There is spaciousness. There is time to respond wisely.  There is breath. There is space for feeling. There is no need for that feeling to be rejected and banished. You simply breathe through it. You melt it away by the power of your heart's radiance. It dissolves into The Light of God. Consciousness.

My last point - I guess - is when you actually decide to give yourself the permission to judge the crap out of everything and everybody. Silently; on the inside. That can be a part of shadow work, too. The important thing here is, ofcourse, not to get lost in this and turn it into your reality. It is just a practice. If done correctly; judgement should dissolve naturally, over time. One should feel relieved, at peace, but also wiser, more mature, whole and integrated. If you don't get to that point; you judged things poorly.

More on judgement later...

Also; Fear.


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I’m not really into this sort of gimmicky postmodern adaptation to Jungian thinking is it gets, as I just put it, a little too gimmicky. 

The fact is, you cannot do “shadow work” on your own. Shadows are created in relationship. They must be healed in relationship. You don’t ever not have a shadow. Anyone who tells you they don’t have a shadow or unconscious dynamics going on anymore is straight up fooling themselves. There are different ways of thinking of what the unconscious is. It also would be useful to challenge the very distinction of the unconscious itself. 

If you want to do “shadow work” go to a psychoanalyst. Shadow work doesn’t at all necessarily heal traumas in the body that may drive the energy of many of our shadows (which, it would useful to make clear that that is just a way of thinking). Trauma work doesn’t at all necessarily heal shadows and shadows don’t at all necessarily heal trauma or attachment issues. 

You’re going to save years of delusion of trying to do this work you simply cannot do on your own if you just go to an analyst. I mention psychoanalysts because the very notion of “shadows” and the notion of the unconscious came out of psychoanalysis. It is so incredibly sophisticated and it is nowhere near as mechanical as the new age spiritual and personal development communities make it out to be. 

Shadows, to be succinct, are “the me that I can’t see”. If you say you can see your shadow, it’s not a shadow. Period. The unconscious truly is unconscious. Whatever might be made a distinct object that we might say “arose out of the unconscious” (which is a debatable claim) in engaging in such a process is no longer. It has now be identified and “made conscious”. Which, to put it another way, we could say the mind now has created a form of knowing about something that was not previously there. 

Also, all projections, whether coming from you or be coming toward you from another, have a hook to stand on. I’ll give a personal example of me on this forum. There’s a lot of projection on this forum. Which I’m sure anyone whose been on here long enough can vouch for. This is understandable because it is an incredibly indirect form of communication. So much so that we actually are left having to use our imagination of the person we’re texting over the internet and are actually interaction with our own imagined perception of the person who is not present. Anywho, back to the example. I have a tendency of being very harsh, direct, and brutal in my feedback on here. I had a tendency to really express and project my own disgust when I read things that I not only saw were not only bullshit, but I also experienced as disgusting. I got feedback through peoples implicit reactions on here where people told me to calm down and also projected downright fantasies of how they imagined me to be. The truth was a mixed bag because there were plenty of false fantasies they clearly had of me. That said, they’re projections had a hook that I conveniently ignored because I couldn’t see it. That hook, which I see more now, had truth to it. There’s a quote I heard attributed to Byron Katie that I’m very fond of in regards to this point that goes “we don’t talk to each other. We talk to each other’s projection. But only 98% of the time.” Another example of this is a more collective shadow example. In 2013 Time Magazine released a study that stated that the millennial generation are statistically 2.5 times more narcissistic than the “me-generation” of the 1960s. Now, isn’t it ironic that the millennials, particularly liberal millennials, passionately hate the most narcissistic president we ever had? This is just a perfect example of this. Both are genuinely narcissistic. Both are blind to what’s inside them and project that onto an other that serves as a hook. 

From the Gospel of St. Thomas:

”Jesus said: if you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is inside you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.”

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@kieranperez Thanks for adding that. I like a few points you made. But I would disagree that shadow work cannot be done on your own.

I understand if you find it a bit woo woo the way I put things here. I am simply sharing stuff from my experience. As well as what I heard of some people who's opinion I value a lot. There is a reason why things sound the way they do.

Surely there are many ways to go about doing this work. There is not only one right way. - As with anything.

One can reflect back on their behaviour and recognize unconscious tendencies. It's not rocket science. While you might go unconscious while in the heat of the moment; you can bring light to it and understand the behaviour when the dust settles - so to speak. Do this often enough and the unconscious tendencies will slowly but surely dissolve.

Also; I do not equate shadow work with healing trauma. Yes, a link can be drawn and there certainly are some similarities when it comes to doing the work; but I like to differentiate the two. I find it easier to tackle things that way. 

Here's a few words I shared of healing deep trauma - in case you or anyone else is interested in reading it;

I imagine I will be diving deeper into that in my future posts related to the topic.

In this thread I'm kinda focused on another thing. Mainly; how to cope, act or respond when you are in a conscious position and are encountering darkness or unconsciousness. How to stand for Light when darkness attacks. And also; how to tame that beast and turn it into your servant.

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@ivankiss Amazing insights. They strongly resonane with me on intelectual and on emotional level. I'm currently in that moment on my path where my shadows emerged to be seen and healed.
Yesterday I started writing what I feel to allow this energy to find its expression. You insights relate to what I put on the paper. Reading your posts, I felt such a clarity. You bring more light on my shadows.
Thank you from the Heart.

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@alomorti Thank you. That is very kind of you. I am glad that you find it helpful/useful.

It is my absolute joy, pleasure and honor to share insights here. It helps me a lot in my personal journey. And it always warms my heart when I see others benefiting from that.

Much love and respect to you. And best of luck with your work.

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@Kalo Happy for you. Glad you extracted what you needed from the experience.

Ultimately; it is a game, yes. But it may not seem so while you're being swallowed whole by it.

Hence the information.

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As promised; I'm going to continue by saying a few more words about judgement and fear.

And I think it would be wonderful to open up with this lovely song that I came across a few days ago: https://youtu.be/qyYmS_iBcy4

How was that for you? Were you able to stick through it? Perhaps even appreciate and enjoy it? Or did it scare the shit out of you and you turned it off immediately? Did you find it disgusting in a positive or a negative sense?

I understand this is just music and everyone has their cup of tea. Their taste. But I'm going to use music as an example here to illustrate a picture of what's going on 'out there' in the 'real world'. In everyday life.

Basically; we judge and fear the unknown.

We don't understand it. It's alien to us. So our first reaction is obviously fear. Survival kicks in. We don't want that unknown thing to penetrate our comfortable, well-known reality. We want it outside of our bubble. As far as possible. So we can pretend it doesn't exist. And that it's not meaningful and of value. And beautiful. Divine. Godly.

We don't want that thing to do anything with us. 

The thing can be anything. It can be big or small, physical or metaphysical, real or unreal... Whatever. It doesn't matter. Point is; you don't know what it is, you think it represents danger, so you want to separate yourself from it. 

Judging it is, ironically, a very primitive way of actuality attempting to understand it. Like, you're still afraid to death of it, but you're also kinda curious about it. Of course; all this happens subconsciously - if you will. Depending on how conscious you are - I imagine.

So to put it simply...

You cannot integrate aspects of your being that you are judging or are afraid of. Not while you're stuck in fear and judgement - at least.

You must find courage to face 'The Devil'. And you also must have the gut to digest it all. Shit can get nasty. 

Cultivate awareness. That is the key - as with everything. Understand that what you are judging or are afraid of is, ultimately, You. You are resisting integration. Declining the invitation of Love.

Removing fear and judgement, or better yet; flowing through those - will not result in you losing yourself in the unknown. Not really. Not as you might think. Loss of identity is the main reason you fear and judge. And it's completely understandable; from that point of view. But I know from direct experience that integration only makes you shine more as the unique individual that you are. Nothing is ever lost, really. It can only seem that way.

So.. next time you see something disgusting, ask yourself:

'How come I'm this divinely perfect and at the same time this fucking disgusting?'

Fucking epic.

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