in the shade of shadows

“You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.”

– Bob Dylan

Living life in the shade of shadows need not be unpleasant. In fact, we often seek out the shade, of the shadow. Light is present, and the visibility, though not as bright as a shadowless sight, is neither blinding. What we see in the shade is what exists for us at the time not unlike a dream at night being very real, at the time. The shade of the shadow cast by an object is that which the object is not; and yet, is. There is no shade nor shadow without an object that obstructs the passage of light. In that context, our shadow confirms that we are, at least in part, an object, which both prevents light from passing through and, reflects light. If light passed through us, we would be, like the air we breathe, invisible. What we see as objects is light reflecting off an object, stimulating the retina of the eyes, and the brain, from which we ‘see’ the object(s). Visual perception appears to happen ‘outside’ but in fact happens ‘inside.’ 

In the fields of psychelogical well being there is an understanding of our dualistic nature, that as human beings, we are a blend of ‘sinner’ and ‘saint’ or ‘devil’ and ‘angel.’ We have a collective history of being brutes, and yet with a calling towards civilization. In attempts to become civilized, the brute is often condemned, neglected, abandoned and banished, labeled as ‘bad’ whereas the ‘civilized’ is hailed as ‘good.’ The brutish bad/sinner/devil part is referred to as ‘the dark self.’ The civilized good/saint/angel part as ‘the bright self.’

The bright self has less ‘stuff’ that obstructs, and reflects, light. The dark self has a lot of ‘stuff’ that obstructs, and reflects, light. The shadow casts the shape of that stuff, those obstructions to the passage of light through them. What is this ‘stuff’ that obstructs light? Just as many material objects cast a shadow, so too many psychelogical objects, such as strongly held beliefs, prejudices, biases, secrets, even secrets about ourselves that we ourselves may not even be cognizant, and, in general, psychesclerosis, a hardened psyche, obstruct the bright self from expression. What we see instead are shadows cast from these psychelogical objects. 

The dualistic nature of our consciousness conforms to a variety of natural oppositions which work together, such as the inhalation and exhalation of breathing, the rising and falling of our chest; or the contraction and expansion, the tightening and loosening, of muscles. We don’t consider either one good or bad, but, rather, a functional process that allows us to be alive and in motion. This inherent apparent division is referred to as the ‘yin/yang’ of our lives, the ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures, the ‘play of opposites’ which compliment each other, define each other. In the context of biological existence, there are no saints and sinners, devils and angels. These notions exist entirely within the psychelogical domain wherein everything is of our own making if even unwittingly, unknowingly, or by imposition and coercion, which is all too often the ways in which brightness is obstructed via the formation of solid resentments, animosity, hostility, anger and general grievances against life, and which obstruct the passage of brightness through them, and thus create their own shadows.

In the hidden chambers of the our individual psychesphere is brightness blocked, and thus creating the shadow, and the shade. There is no inherent substance in the dark shady self for it is only shaped and formed by objects through which brightness does not pass. When the radiance of the bright self is unobstructed there is no dark shadow self. Until that time, life in the shade of shadows benefits from ‘mirror like wisdom’ in which what we see outside we know as a reflection, in the shade of shadows. How we interpret and respond to those reflections makes all the difference. To accept, incorporate and integrate both sides, object and subject, dark and bright, as a wholistic system, is to be full of clear light, whole and complete.

.this thing of darkness I Acknowledge mine.”

– William Shakespeare


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