Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Shadow Knows

In Carl Jung's paradigm on dreams, facing the shadow is the first significant bit of dream work a body can do on the road to individuation. Individuation is his term for enlightenment, self-awareness and union with the Self, or so I believe. Saying hello to your shadow is I imagine what Jesus meant when he said to take the beam out of your own eye before you endeavor to remove the mote from your neighbor's.

You meet your shadow when you catch yourself criticizing someone's faults and honestly ask yourself, do I do that, as well? Am I that way, too, sometimes?

If you haven't arrived at that much self-awareness, your dreams might prod you on this road.

One of my favorite shadow dreams is from over 20 years ago - I'm in a coffee shop with a friend, sitting at a booth. She's much more attractive than I am and the handsome Greek man behind the counter of pastries is flirting with her.

I often do dream drawings because they are such delightful surprises. This one is extraordinary in that I never intended to draw myself as a cat. I practice a technique in which I work very fast, broad strokes, no forethought; I lay my materials out and go to work spontaneously.

I had to laugh when I saw it for the pun it is; catty. I'm able to picture this image any time I feel jealousy. This helped me understand that jealousy is really a feeling of boredom, lack of engagement and isolation that can easily be remedied by taking positive action to entertain oneself, something that cats also do well.

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