The famous psychologist Carl Jung described the shadow as the least desirable aspects of one’s personality. When these aspects are denied, repressed, and ignored, they remain in the dark, influencing our daily behaviors and preventing us from freedom. Shadow aspects hold an incredible amount of energy that remains locked until we fully accept them as part of ourselves. With acceptance, the released energy is ready to be integrated into our being.
However, integration does not occur before we fully understand the experiences of our past as important steps for our development as human beings. When I decided to explore the depths of my shadow, I found the practice “The Act of Losing Yourself” described in the book The Toltec Secret by Sergio Magaña. This practice is composed of 36 days telling the story of our life to a mirror while wearing masks. Hearing our story from a different face is a powerful technique to relieve the heavy burdens of our past and bring the shadow to the surface of our psyche where we can embrace and integrate it. As an example of shadow integration, the following lucid dream occurred in the fifth week of practice.
“... Streams of vibrating energy crossing every cell of my body followed by manifestations of light in my inner vision. Colorful geometric forms and flashes of lightning arising from the substrate seemed to be an inner show of energy integration. A joyful but strong vibration across my body that lasted around ten minutes was a sign of intense shadow integration. It was a sensation of energy merging deep into my being which I called the Chi Body phenomenon…” (20 April 2020)
A similar event of synesthesia had occurred in a previous lucid dream of energy movement that manifested as an apocalypse of water and fire, but not as powerful as the latest. I have experienced energy integration with synesthesia only in lucid dreams, yet I believe that integration occurs even when we are not aware of it. In ordinary dreaming, we may experience massive phenomena such as apocalypses and catastrophes. In waking reality we often have moments of increased awareness and realization that seems to be an outcome of released energy being integrated behind the scenes as part of a natural process of individuation described by Carl Jung.
Here I describe a modified version of the practice which proved to be effective for my shadow work, I hope that will be beneficial for others as well.
I divided the 36 days into several sessions: (i) emotions and traumas of childhood, (ii) chronological history from childhood to the present day, (iii) life regression from teenager to earlier memories, (iv) people I interacted in the course of life, (v) ancestral shadow and inherited aspects, (vi) collective shadow and cultural beliefs, and (vii) energy integration sessions. I spent around 36 minutes per day and a total of 22 hours in front of the mirror. The number of days per session should be adapted according to one’s life story. Regarding the masks, I decided to paint them myself and harness the additional energy of painting to empower the practice.
In his book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, Robert Waggoner describes the tools of reality creation: beliefs, expectations, focus, intent, and the awareness behind the dream. Every night before going to sleep I would apply each tool carefully and trust the power of manifestation. With focus and intent, I asked the awareness behind the dream to help me heal the wounds of my past and lucidly witness the shadow integration. My unconscious replied accordingly.
Meeting the shadow may not be the most pleasant experience, we must be ready to embrace whatever arises with love and compassion. Trust in the practice and kindness to ourselves are crucial. As I recalled my childhood, I encountered emotions and situations I was not aware of before. For instance, I discovered repressed anger buried deep within myself. So, I set up the task of meeting my inner child of repressed anger as an important goal for the practice. The first effects occurred in the first days when I started dreaming of a child guiding me on excursions. I also started taking refuge next to children in fearful dreams. As the days passed, nightmares started. Traumatic events and heavy emotions replayed in my dreams as if I was reliving my earlier years of life. With meditation and reflection I was able to understand the importance of those events in my development. I started waking up from nightmares with a smile on my face, I knew healing was on its way.
The hardest effect was the experience of anger in waking reality. For the first time in 30 years I experienced the anger that was deeply buried within. I always considered myself a calm person with lots of patience. Even so, I recall smashing an orange with my hands because it was taking too long to peel it. Anger affects the digestive system, so I also felt physical pain. The anger safely dissolved after a few days, and I noticed patience and tranquility coming back at increased rates.
Curious lucid dreams happened while I was recalling hundreds of people from school. The dreamscape was usually crowded with old friends and even colleagues that I hadn’t seen for ages. Some would call my name and even chase me exactly the way they used to do at school.
“... Fully lucid, I started interacting with the dream entities. I had to choose a few from a crowd of old friends, many had almost no awareness and ignored my questions. I finally found a person who got interested in my flying skills and gave me proper attention. I remembered an argument I had with him at school and realized I still carried the sadness of that moment. To apologize, I asked if he wanted to fly with me. After his approval I gave him a hug and we launched to the sky with the bliss of reconciliation… ” (04 April 2020)
In another dream, I found a notice hanging on the door of my house: “Hi Ivan, I came to see you but you were missing, please come and join the party later. (signature)”. Before starting the integration sessions (29th day) I decided to enter a dream consciously by using the WILD technique and had an encounter with a masked dream entity.
“... From the substrate, I fell into a lucid dream. I saw a spooky dream figure with red eyes wearing a mask … I realized I was also wearing a mask. The man started running and I followed him into a room where another man was sitting on the floor. This dream entity was surrounded by Toltec masks and busy with crafting. When he noticed my presence, he freaked out, collected a few masks, and ran away ... Alone in the room, I decided to create and grow plants...” (16 April 2020)
The Toltec tradition explains that the ability of transforming our body into other forms increases after this practice. I believe that finding myself wearing a mask in a lucid dream indicates a sign of progress with regard to this ability.
A sign of progress that really impressed me was the ability of projecting light from my hands. Before the practice, if I lucidly tried to project light, it would usually manifest as white sparks of electricity. After the described lucid dream of energy integration (the Chi Body one), I unexpectedly projected a fog of red light from my thumbs that expanded to form a red ball of energy between my hands. In his lucid dreams of healing, Ed Kellogg describes the ability to project different colors of light from his hands. If we take the electromagnetic spectrum as comparison, we find the red color as the lesser energetic but visible light.
In waking reality, I noticed that my awareness has increased. I am constantly aware of situations which I used to project my shadow. I am also experiencing dreams of teachings more often. Regarding lucidity, natural lucid dreams have increased at the rate of twice more than usual.
An important aspect of self-development is the ability to understand the practice. A practice alone has no effect without energy to be released. In other words, we need to witness the experiences of our past and purposefully work on them. I had to understand that my past is not separated from me. Without experiences, I wouldn’t find progress. I am grateful for every episode of my life, good and bad, and for the lessons I learned. I am grateful in particular to my family members who were perfectly placed in my life as building blocks of my progress. As a final remark, I tend to think there are no experts but more or less advanced beings. If one still dreams, one still has opportunities for growth.
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