Shadow and Archetypes

About this weeks topic

Shadows are driving our culture from the collective unconscious. An elusive phenomenon that isn't consciously in the mainstream while it's drive the global polarization into deeper and deeper divides.

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Shadow and Archetypes
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Carl Gustav Jung - The Red Book

This weeks Exercises & Homework

As I said in the lecture, shadows are hard to catch and very elusive. While shadow work is most potent when done with the support of a benevolent community that is interested in your growth, there is a beautiful practice that allows you to start inquiring into your shadows on your own become more aware of them. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and make sure you are undisturbed for the next 20-30 minutes.

  1. Imagine a situation or a conflict with someone that has really activated and triggered you lately. This can be a fight with someone or simply a strong reaction or judgment you had towards something.
  2. Let this situation become fully alive within you. Actively imagine it until you can feel your activation coming back, the anger, the fear, all the emotions that arise.
  3. Take the piece of paper and start writing a letter, or more accurately, an imaginary conversation with the person that triggered you, even if its someone you don't know personally.
  4. First, for 5 minutes express all your anger in words, completely unfiltered. Write it all down as it comes and don't hold back, insult them, judge them, call them names, let your anger lash out in the most unrelational and toxic way that's authentically emerging in you.
  5. When all the energy is expressed, and you feel the charge in your system decreasing significantly, move to the next step. Take a couple deep breaths and feel your whole body for a moment to regulate and come into a more relational and curious state. Refer to the exercises from week one or continue cursing if you need more help to calm down.
  6. Now start asking the person genuine questions in your letter. For example "why did you say that thing to me? Why did you do XYZ? What is your intention with this behavior?". Let questions emerge from a genuine state of curiosity, wondering about what the motivation of that person are. Now the important part of this step: After every question you write down, you empathatically switch to the other persons perspective and write down the answers the other person gives you. Let the answers come effortlessly from your own unconscious, don't think too much about them with your mind, just let your subconscious answer for them. Then move to the next question. Ask as many questions as you want, until you reach a feeling of completion.
  7. Take a moment to become present again. Now read through the questions and the answers. Notice when you feel a reaction in your system, a feeling of resonance, a contraction in your body or a feeling of relating or compassion while reading the answers. Circle or underline the answer that create a strong response in you.
  8. Look at all the answers you've marked. Read them again and feel your relationship to them. These sentences might point to archetypes you are in a difficult relationship with, like belief systems, judgements, under- or over-expressions of certain traits, suppressed parts of your whole self. Example could be "I want to be loved.", "I want to be seen." "I am afraid to be unimportant.", "I am alone" and so forth.
  9. Take some time to contemplate these archetypes. Allow them to be genuinely felt as a part of yourself, as an unmet need, a suppressed feeling, a contradictory perspective to another view you hold. Fully embrace them, practice meeting them with compassion and excitement.
  10. Take these aspects and polarities with you this week and just be with them. See how you perceive yourself through them. Notice what shifts in your perspective of others as you recognize their traits as parts within yourself.

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