The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self
A few months ago I was sent a copy of the The Shadow Effect (Amazon) co-authored by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Marianne Williamson.
If you’ve been a reader of How to Be Happy for any length of time, you know the importance I place on living an authentic life and being true to yourself; specifically we’re as sick as our secrets. Accepting ourselves for who we truly are takes knowing ourselves completely; accepting and dealing with some of the aspects of ourselves which we have kept hidden or are afraid of showing others.
Although none of the information I found in The Shadow Effect was groundbreaking or likely to cause additional transformation in my life, it does a great job of explaining just how and why we often self-sabotage ourselves.
The Shadow Effect is the result of living with a divided self. A self or image we show to the world and one which we keep hidden away due to shame, guilt, or fear. Yet it is from these fears and darkness we have the most to learn. From the introduction:
We will assert that it is because of our unexamined life, our darker self, our shadow self where our unclaimed power lies hidden. It is here, in this least likely place, that we will find the key to unlock our strength, our happiness, and our ability to live our our dreams.
One thing I really enjoyed about the book was the different writing styles and experiences shared by the three different authors.
The Shadow – Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra starts in Part I discussing the Shadow as the “dark side of human nature.” Swiss psychologist Carl Jung first talked about the shadow as it “creates a fog of illusion that surrounds the self.” One thing that Chopra states which has been much of my personal mantra is “If you and I weren’t part of the problem, we would have no hope of being part of the solution.”
A big part of our shadow is made up of things we notice in others, which is part of the projection process. We may feel disgusted by traits in others and tend to judge. However, inevitably if something disturbs us then there is something wrong with us. Often people confuse this thinking with self-deprecation; which is entirely different. There is tremendous power in realizing that if we are the problem then we have access to the solution.
“The instant that life is split into good and evil, the self follows suit. A divided self cannot make itself whole.”
Deepak discusses in depth the transformative effects of wholeness; which is great stuff! “To be whole is to be fully healed.” If we are truly going to know, understand, and have compassion for ourselves and others, we must have a realistic view of ourselves. Simply, how can we get to where we want to go if we have no idea where we’re at?
“You have only one self. It is the real you. It is beyond good and evil.”
If you’re familiar with Chopra’s writing at all, you’ll surely enjoy his contribution to this book as he gives practical advice and steps one can take to illuminate and deal with ones shadow. He explains the process by which the shadow has created a split-self as a result of choices we make in our lives then lays out four steps (or choices) which helps us escape the process by making the opposite choices.
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