Is it to leave a legacy of worldly success and importance so that we will be remembered?
Or to have people see us as a valuable person, someone to be looked up to?
Maybe we simply want to be recognized, called by name, loved and approved of by family and friends.
I believe our real assignment is something greater than any of the above.
I believe our real mission is to meet our fears—to engage with that which frightens us—that which has kept us blocked from transformation.
I believe our real assignment is to find our true freedom, to come home to that which is our real essence, pure radiant mind.
Or, as Joseph Campbell put it, “Follow your bliss. And your bliss will be found at the core of your suffering.”
If we take on this assignment, we need to find out where we are suffering. And it will be in the beliefs that have kept us struggling and frustrated.
The basis of each of these beliefs is fear.
We will find these core beliefs in the places that are hard to see, the areas we have pushed out of our conscious mind, for they are uncomfortable and we’d rather hide from them.
If they were easy to engage with, we would have already done so. I believe each of us has spent many long hours searching for relief from suffering, but we have been looking where we it can’t be found.
The roots of our suffering will be discovered in that part of us that isn’t readily available, for it lies in the unconscious, named the shadow by Dr. Carl Jung.
The journey of allowing the unconscious to become conscious is our assignment. We need to take our light into the darkness. The roots of fear lie deep in the darker places within us, our shadow.
Just as our body casts a shadow so do our thoughts.
People often fear their shadow, but the shadow is absolutely natural. It’s never against us. It temporarily blocks out the light. It shifts as we shift.
The psychological shadow is defined as that which we don’t want to see or believe about ourselves—nor want others to know about us. We keep it in the dark.
Our shadow contains that which we are embarrassed about, ashamed of or find too uncomfortable to deal with.
Also included in this shadow are the wonders and beauty that we don’t dare even believe about ourselves! Our true and deep radiance is also unconscious. What might be required of us if we were to acknowledge our profound greatness?
Dr. Carl Jung states that the shadow is 90% gold. If you were sitting on a gold mine that produced 90%, don’t you think you would be busy mining it?
Well, each of us is sitting on such a mine! It’s hidden in that which we don’t want to see and use distractions and addictions to avoid. We have declared it bad or wrong.
So, if you want to mine this gold of your life—your shadow—begin doing your inner work. This may seem intimidating, but it is by facing our fears that we discover our bliss, our joy.
There is a field within you, within each of us, that has already been sown, and is waiting for us to harvest it. It is the field Jesus spoke of which contains the treasure that one sells everything he/she owns to purchase it.
The cost of this field is effort. No one can do this for us. To mine the gold we must labor in the field.
Only we don’t need a shovel or a plow. Our first tool could be a journal to record our thoughts, emotions and dreams to help us find the treasure—the pearls—that up to now have been unconscious.
We use our journals to dialogue with those we are having difficulty with, speaking to them on paper and allowing them to speak back to us. We continue speaking and listening to the other until there is a sense of peace in the conversation, perhaps over weeks or months.
This is authentic dialogue with holy energies. It is for the purpose of allowing our beauty to come out of the shadow to dance in the light.
Another tool is to record our dreams. Dreams are a way the universe circumvents our conscious mind and reveals that which has been hidden. Our dreams show us how we feel about our life right now, for in sleep we have given up conscious control of our mind.
What has been in the dark emerges into consciousness.
Our dreams (including nightmares) reveal what we need to know, but don’t. We need to pay attention to them by recording on paper their content and the emotions we felt as they were taking place.
Two books I recommend in working with dreams are: Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language, by John Sanford, and Inner Work by Robert Johnson. (see book list on my website)
Another tool is to notice our thoughts and feelings during each day and inquire where they came from and what we are afraid will happen. Whatever it is, it comes from stories and interpretations we tell ourselves.
The great Mind of the universe always brings us the comfort we need when we are willing to get honest with ourselves and admit how we really feel. When we are willing to admit we can’t figure things out on our own, and allow Spirit to work within us by letting go, releasing all that we are holding so tight, and trust the Presence and Power of God that is in every breath, we find comfort.
By laboring in this field we discover the strength and courage to face and engage with that which has frightened us, to listen to our scary stories about the future and remind ourselves these are just stories—not truth.
Our assignment? Stop the content of the story, go deeply into the feelings and beliefs the story is based upon, and breathe, relax and let it be. Let go to that which we have been holding onto.
Allow these old beliefs to be breathed out by the light of awareness which dissolves anything unlike itself. Wisdom then emerges.
We find as we make the effort the work gets done by itself. For that’s what the energy of love does.