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Dreams, Meditation and Working with the Bright Side of Your Shadow

Hi Integral Meditators,

The dreams and imagined images in our mind can be a powerful source of inspiration and growth. This weeks article looks at how we can go about capitalizing on positive dream and imaginary images that our mind produces by considering them in the light of our golden or bright shadow, or the positive part of our repressed unconscious.

Wishing you all the best in your inner journey,



Dreams, Meditation and Working with the Bright Side of Your Shadow

The Shadow is the part of ourself that we have repressed or rejected and that lies within our unconscious mind.
Normally when the shadow is talked about it is referred to as the dark, damaged or broken part of our self. However it is also equally true that we reject parts of ourself that are strengths and positive qualities but that we do not believe we are capable or deserving of. For example we might be a potential very good public speaker, but because of excessively shy or humble nature we repress and deny that capacity and have no awareness that it exists within us.
One of the ways that we can start working with our bright or golden shadow is to look for images and figures that come up in our dreams that seem to indicate a part of ourself that we are not aware of that seems to have positive potential. Once we have identified such a dream figure, we can then work with it in meditation in order to find out what part of our bright shadow it represents, and how we can go about integrating it consciously into ourself as well as expressing it in our life.

Here is one example from my own shadow work: A couple of nights ago I had quite an extensive dream with Robert Plant in it (the former lead singer of Led Zeppelin). In the dream I spent quite a long time chatting and hanging out with him, ending in a concert in a small venue with other related figures like David Lee Roth (ex lead singer from Van Halen).
So, observing the prominence and clarity of the dream I decided to do a little bit of shadow work with it, using the 6 step shadow process that I teach in my workshops on the shadow:

Step 1 – Seeing/spotting the shadow: In this case the subject was already clear, the figure of Robert Plant appearing in my dream
Step 2&3 – Feeling and interpreting the shadow: Recalling the dream, the feelings and ideas I felt when I focused on RP were a feeling of ‘shining’; not being afraid to be centre-stage when necessary and also a commitment to staying at the edge of my creative process. Robert Plant as a lead singer quite obviously embodies the ability to be the centre of attention (which I myself have some aversion to), and his life has always been a commitment to never resting on his laurels, and working on music projects close to his heart, even if they are not popular or famous
Step 4&5 – Being it and owning it: Now I have identified the qualities embodied by my dream image – the capacity to ‘shine’ and the commitment to staying on the edge of my creative process. So during this stage in my contemplation I focused on really integrating a sense of these qualities as a part of ME, a part of who I am.
Step 6 – Integrating it: The final stage of the golden shadow practice is then to focus on integrating and expressing this “new” part of ourself into our daily life.
So for me deliberately placing myself in situations where I am being a little more positively extrovert as well as re-committing to staying on the edge of my own creative process becomes my follow up practice.

A Practice for the Week:
Watch what positive images/figures come up in your dreams (or daydreams if you can’t remember your sleeping ones!). Once you have one or more image/figures to work with, practice exploring and integrating what part of your bright shadow they might represent by using the steps outlined above.

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website