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#1793 - Monday, May 10, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

Illuminating the Shadow: An Interview with Connie Zweig  


In psychology, the dark side of human nature is
often described as the alter ego, the id, or the
lower self. The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl
Jung called it the "shadow." By shadow, he meant
the negative side of the personality, the sum
total of all those unpleasant qualities that we
would prefer to hide. While Carl Jung coined the
term "the shadow," the idea of a dark side of
human nature dates back to antiquity and has
figured in some of our most famous stories and
myths, from the dark brother in the Bible to Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  

For psychotherapist Connie Zweig, the shadow
represents one of the most important yet least
understood aspects of human nature. We all have a
shadow, she says. The challenge is to meet it
face-to-face, for unless we come to terms with
our own dark side, we're condemned to be its

Connie Zweig's latest book is called Romancing
the Shadow.
It's the follow-up to her bestselling
anthology from a few years ago called Meeting the
Zweig is the founder of the Institute for
Shadow-work and Spiritual Psychotherapy in Los


Scott London: Of all the metaphors that have been
used to illustrate the shadow in recent years, my
favorite is Robert Bly's image of the big bag
that we drag behind us.  

Connie Zweig: Yes, he said that we spend the
first half of our lives putting everything into
the bag and the second half pulling it out.  

London: What did Carl Jung have in mind when he
formulated this idea?  

Zweig: He believed that everything that is in our
conscious awareness is in the light. But
everything of substance which stands in the light
-- whether it's a tree or an idea -- also casts a
shadow. And that which stands in the darkness is
outside of our awareness.  

As Jung saw it, the shadow operated at several
levels. First, there is the part of the mind that
is outside of our awareness. He called this the
personal unconscious or personal shadow. That is
the conditioned part of us that we acquire from
our experiences in our childhood when that which
is unacceptable, as determined by the adults
around us, is cast into shadow. It may be sadness
or sexual curiosity. Or it may be our creative
dreams and desires. That's personal shadow. But
there is another level as well. Jung also talked
about the "collective unconscious" or the
"archetypal shadow."  

London: What are some of the most common
manifestations of the personal shadow?  

Zweig: The personal shadow is that part of us
that erupts spontaneously and unexpectedly when
we do something self-destructive, or something
that is hurtful to someone else. Afterwards, we
know it's been around because we feel humiliated,
ashamed, and guilty.
I would say the personal shadow is that part of
us that feels like it can't be tamed, can't be
controlled. For instance, many parents who
struggle with their children with impulses of
rage that rise up, and they yell, or maybe even
hit the child. Then, afterwards, they say to
themselves, "Oh, my God, I can't believe I did
that. Who am I?" That's the shadow.
London: I remember a conversation I had with the
writer Phil Cousineau. He distinguished between
spirit and soul. Spirit is in the heights, he
said, while soul is in the depths. While we tend
reach for the heights, it's usually in the depths
that we find that sense of aliveness. As he put
it, "You don't tell Aretha Franklin to `Get up,'
you tell her to `get down.'"  

Zweig: Yes. I think that what has happened in our
eagerness to be more spiritual, more conscious,
more aware, is that we've only gone up. And some
of us have been left floating up there in the
skies, just over the mountain tops, like
helium-balloons. We've lost the contact with the
lower worlds, with the passions, the instincts,
sex, desire. We've made desire wrong and have
wanted to be free of our attachments and our
cravings, as the Buddha teaches.  

Read the entire article:    

From Highlights #89  


I am looking at Self as meaning unification, organization,
wholeness. Self has relationship therefore to soul, self,
peace, harmony and God. All of these are words that relate
to a unity or organization of experience and perception.
The experience of all as Self is the experience of no
outside, no other, total unity. Thus, the Self inevitably
raises a Shadow. The Shadow being related to "outsideness,"
"otherness," "disunity." The Shadow can be associated with
illusion, ignorance, suffering, separation, or evil.
Thus, realization of Self doesn't necessarily mean the
resolution of the Shadow. I am using the term wholly Other
to refer to whatever is beyond Selfness and Shadowness. The
Other as whatever cannot be subsumed in the categories of
Self or Shadow (Shadow is not truly beyond Self, as it
remains associated to Self). Because of this Other, a
person who has experienced Self would be best not to be

A person may yet need to encounter and work with Shadow, may
need to find where Self and Shadow "arise together," may
need to have any remaining sense of identification with
Selfness dissolve in the wholly Other.  


The Nonduality of Life and Death: A Buddhist View of Repression
By David Loy  

...the sense-of-self always has, as its inescapable
shadow, a sense-of-lack, which (alas!) it always
tries to escape. It is here that the
psychoanalytic concept of repression comes in,
for the idea of "the return of the repressed" in
a distorted form shows us how to link this
fundamental yet hopeless project with the
symbolic ways we try to make ourselves real in
the world. This deep sense of lack is experienced
as the feeling that "there is something wrong
with me." To the extent that we have a sense of
autonomous self, we have this sense of lack,
which manifests in many different forms. We have
already noticed one: the craving to be famous,
which is a good example of the way we usually try
to make ourselves real -- through the eyes of
others. In its "purer" forms lack appears as
ontological guilt or, even more basic, an
ontological anxiety at the very core of one's
being, which is almost unbearable because it
gnaws on that core. For that reason all anxiety
wants to become objectified into fear of
something (as Spinoza might say, fear is anxiety
associated with an object), because then we know
what to do: we have ways to defend ourselves
against the feared thing.  

The tragedy of these objectifications, however,
is that no amount of money can be enough if it is
not really money that we want. When we do not
understand what is actually motivating us --
because what we think we want is only a symptom
of something else -- we end up compulsive,
"driven." Such a Buddhist analysis implies that
no true "mental health" will be found short of an
enlightenment which puts an end to that
sense-of-lack which is the shadow of the
sense-of-self, by putting an end to the

Read the entire article:]    

Nisargadatta Maharaj  

The person is a very small thing. Actually it is a composite, it cannot
be said to exist by itself. Unperceived, it is just not there. It is but the
shadow of the mind, the sum total of memories. Pure being is reflected
in the mirror of the mind, as knowing. What is known takes the shape
of a person, based on memory and habit. It is but a shadow, or a
projection of the knower onto the screen of the mind.    

From 'A Course in Consciousness'  

Idealism was first expounded by Plato in his cave
allegory in The Republic (see, e.g., Julia Annas,
An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, p. 252,
1981). Prisoners are in an underground cave with
a fire behind them, bound so they can see only
the shadows on the wall in front of them, cast by
puppets manipulated behind them. They think that
this is all there is to see; if released from
their bonds and forced to turn around to the fire
and the puppets, they become bewildered and are
happier left in their original state. They are
even angry with anyone who tries to tell them how
pitiful their position is. Only a few can bear to
realize that the shadows are only shadows cast by
the puppets; and they begin the journey of
liberation that leads past the fire and right out
of the cave to the real world. At first they are
dazzled there, and can bear to see real objects
only in reflection and indirectly, but then they
look at them directly in the light of the sun,
and can even look at the sun itself.  

This allegory is related to idealism in the
following way. The shadows of the puppets that
the prisoners are watching represent their taking
over, in unreflective fashion, the second-hand
opinions and beliefs that are given to them by
parents, society, and religion. The puppets
themselves represent the mechanical, unreasoning
minds of the prisoners. The light of the fire
within the cave provides only partial, distorted
illumination from the imprisoned intellects.
Liberation begins when the few who turn around
get up and go out of the cave. Outside of the
cave, the real objects (the Forms) are those in
the transcendental realm. In order to see them,
the light of the sun, which represents pure
reason, is necessary. A similar allegory using
today’s symbols would replace the cave with a
movie theater, the shadows with the pictures on
the screen, the puppets with the film, and the
fire with the projector light. The sun is
outside, and we must leave the theater to see its
We can adapt Plato’s cave allegory to represent
monistic idealism in the following way. The fire
is replaced by the light of the sun (pure
Awareness) coming in through the entrance to the
cave, and the puppets are replaced by archetypal
objects within the transcendent realm. The
phenomenal world of matter and thoughts is merely
the shadow of the archetypes in the light of
consciousness. Here, we clearly see a
complementarity of phenomenon and Noumenon. To
look only at the shadows is to be unaware of
Awareness. To be directly aware of Awareness is
to realize that the phenomenal world is merely a
shadow. The shadow world is what we perceive.
Awareness can only be apperceived, i.e., realized
by a knowing that is beyond perception.
Apperception liberates one from the shackles of
the cave, and exposes one to infinite freedom.
Apperception is the proof that consciousness is
all there is.  


by David Hodges  

I just got back from walking up to East Rock with
my camera. I wanted to get there before the sun
went away. Two nights ago the gloom of early
evening deterred me from taking pictures. Tonight
I got some good shots of the way East Rock towers
over our neighborhood.  

East Rock is a massive rock formation left over
from when the glaciers pushed through, scraping
everything in their path to form Long Island just
to our south across the Sound. All that was left
were West Rock, East Rock, and Sleeping Giant,
all of which are rocks formed of uplifted strata
from ancient seabeds. East Rock is a vertical
striated reddish-brown formation some 300 feet
high, with a War Memorial on top along with
benches and picnic tables and those sight-seeing
binocular things that you drop a dime into. You
can see East rock at the end of all the
north/south streets in our neighborhood, towering
over everything, and I think I got some good
shots of that.  

As I walked along East Rock park, a playing field
at the base of East Rock, there was a game of
Frisbee just getting underway with a group of
college-aged kids. They were playing much as we
used to play in college. I think the game is
called Frisbee football. It is like soccer, it is
played by passing the Frisbee from teammate to
teammate, with frequent changes of possession
when the Frisbee is dropped or intercepted.  

I stopped to watch for a while.  

I remebered how in college my group of friends
often played Frisbee. There was a group of guys a
year older who we would play against. My
teammates, mostly more athletic than I, were an
amazing bunch and frequently we won. In
particular, we had the combination of Jon and
Jim. Jon was an impossibly good looking boy-man
with an impish personality and phenomenal
athletic and musical gifts. Jim was taller, less
graceful, but very athletic and strong.
Frequently during our games Jon would run way
downfield. I can just see the way he used to
scamper with his cut-off shorts the only clothing
he was wearing. Jim would wind up and fire that
Frisbee on an impossibly long, looping trajectory
way ahead of Jon. But Jon would accelerate, leap,
and catch the Frisbee at the last moment, and
come down laughing as he did so. We would all
clap and holler and celebrate.  

Jon was the first of our group to get married and
the first to attempt suicide.  

Jim died at a young age of leukemia, leaving a
wife and several small children.  

Jon spent some time in a psychiatric hospital
where he received shock treatments. He moved to
California where he joined up with some ashram,
and he would come into San Francisco (where I
lived at the time) to play his violin in the
street for money. After a while I refused to let
him crash in my apartment because I thought he
was demonstrably psychotic.  

I remember one of the last things he said to me
before I lost touch with him. I ran into him on
the street near the Cannery where he had his hat
on the pavement while he played his violin. He
told me how great things were at the ashram and
how happy he was without possessions or
attachments. As I turned to leave he shouted
after me, "Find God!"  

I think I already had though at that time I
didn't know it. God was a white Frisbee, spinning
through the soft evening sunlight, on a green
lawn, into the hands of a leaping angel.

 David keeps an enjoyable Live Journal:  

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