The Shadow Child

Dear Integral Meditators,

Our shadow self takes on various forms and expressions, one of which is the child. The article below is an exploration of our shadow child-self; what it is, why we should be interested in it, and how we can start working with it contemplatively. I hope you enjoy it!

For those of you in Singapore, tomorrow, Monday will be the last day that you can catch the early bird rate for the upcoming  “Meditations for Developing the Language of the Shadow Self” workshop, so if you are interested in a somewhat reduced rate, then do register today or tomorrow!

Yours in the spirit of the healed psyche,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

JULY
Sunday July 27th, 9.30am-12.30pm –  Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop 

AUGUST
Call of the Wild: Meditating with Animal Guides and Familiars

Through to end August: Special offer on 1:1 Coaching at Integral Meditation Asia


The Shadow Child

The shadow is 
The ‘shadow self’ is that part of our mind and self that we have rejected and pushed so deeply into our unconscious awareness such that often we are not even consciously aware that it exists. However, from its position within the unconscious mind our shadow self remains active, influencing our behaviour and causing us to behave in ways which seem to be difficult for us to understand. The shadow has both a ‘dark’ side and a ‘bright’ or golden side.

The child self is
That part of us that is child-like in nature. You could say it has three aspects:

  • That part of us that is simply child like in nature; playful, naive, creative, innocent, gullible, needs looking after and so on
  • The historical child, that is the child within us whose character has been shaped and informed by our own literal historical upbringing; experience with parents, peers and other significant others, what happened to us in school, how we were treated and learned to gain approval and so on. The child within us now that is a product of our personal historical experience, and our response to that
  • The spiritual child within us – that part of us that is ever young, ever new, ever creative, ever both innocent and wise, whose light helps us begin again each time we burn out.

The shadow child is
Any part of our child like nature, historical child or spiritual child that we have repressed and rejected, that we are afraid of, that we have neglected, which remains unhealed and damaged, which we have turned away from.

Why you need to connect and make friends with your shadow child
Because if you do not do so parts of your damaged, fearful and disowned child will continue to sap your energy, sabotage your happiness and make joy, love and wellbeing difficult goals for you.

Because if you do not the radiant, optimistic, strong joyful and creative child that lives within you will remain un-expressed, un-enjoyed and undiscovered.

A personal example
Earlier this week I went on holiday to the beach. On the first night I woke up in the early morning in my beach hut. For some reason I started thinking about things like insurance, what could go wrong in my life and was overwhelmed by a feeling of stress and anxiety. I asked to my mind “Why are you feeling so anxious all of a sudden?” A small, scared, high voice replied “Because the world is such a large and scary place”. That voice was an example of one of the ways in which my shadow child exists and speaks within my psyche. I relaxed, opened to the feelings of my child self, accepted them with care and allowed them to wash over and through me. After a while they subsided and I went back to sleep feeling fine.
From this short example you can see that one of the reasons we often reject our child self is because the voice that it speaks in is so child-like. We often dismiss it as nonsense and bury the feelings that are attached to the voice and the inner child that it came from. As a result the fear remains within us, and continues to affect us even thought we have dismissed it from our conscious mind.
To connect to our child self we need to connect with it on its level without judgment, to learn to speak its language.

Connecting with your shadow child
See yourself in a room. In the centre of the room there is a chair, opposite it is a standing mirror. It is in this mirror that you are going to connect with your shadow child.
You may like to decide that you are going to connect specifically to the darker, damaged side of your shadow child or to the brighter, positive side of your shadow child. Alternatively, you may decide you are just going to connect with whatever part of your shadow child wishes to come forward. Make your choice and form your intention.
Now see yourself walking over to the chair and sitting down. As you do so, rather than seeing your literal, physical reflection in front of you, you see a child sitting or standing opposite you in the mirror. It is your own shadow child.
Take him/her in visually, feel her emotions. Is he pleased to see you? Does she trust you? Do you feel distant or close from him? Work with these observations and questions for a while.
Is there anything that he wishes to communicate with you? Is there anything that he is asking of you at this time? How can you help each other?
This is a place and a space that you can come to any time to commune, heal the wounds of and get to know and draw strength from your shadow child, bringing him back into your conscious awareness to participate in your life fully and actively.

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com 

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