Awareness and insight creative imagery Energy Meditation Life-fullness Meditating on the Self meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology Mindful Confidence Primal Spirituality Shadow meditation Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

Working with the ‘Big Dog’ of your shadow self (Building inner strength)

“By making friends with the ‘big dog’ of your shadow, a lot of the difficult and challenging parts of yourself that previously you ran away from will cease to feel threatening to you.”
Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article focuses upon how you can build a positive relationship to your shadow self, and experience a greater degree of inner resilience and confidence as a result…beneath it is my video on the topic where you can explore further. Shadow coaching is something I do a lot of, and it never ceases to amaze me the change it makes in people.Then on Saturday morning there is my monthly beginners meditation workshop, followed by an afternoon of Psychic and Psychological self-defence, the details of which I have placed below.

In the spirit of the journey,


Working with the ‘Big Dog’ of your shadow self (Building inner strength)

The shadow – your ‘wild self’
The shadow is a part of all of our psyches/psychological selves. It is often associated with the wild, instinctive and primal part of who we are. Its energy is often interpreted as aggressive, negative and frightening. This being the case, for many of us the shadow is a repressed part of ourself that we often run away from and bury within our sub-conscious mind. Hence it is our ‘shadow’ self, living in our sub-conscious, unacknowledged by our conscious self.

Your shadow is like a big dog
One way of imagining your shadow is like a big dog, full of power, instincts, libido/sexuality, and aggression (in the neutral sense of the word, meaning could be good or bad aggression).

What happens when you abuse your big dog?
If we are afraid of the dog of our shadow, then we often respond to it with fear, punishing it when it does something wrong. We behave like a tyrannical owner that our big dog learns to distrust and fear. As a result it becomes devious, working to fulfil its needs and wishes behind our back, when we ‘are not looking’. In this way we find ourself experiencing our shadow as an adversary, almost like a demon within us that seems to be trying to sabotage us all the time.

What happens when you train it well
If you build a conscious, positive relationship to your shadow, then this is like becoming a good dog trainer. You take the raw instincts and unruly behaviour of the dog and benevolently direct it. You are fair, and so the dog learns to trust you and love you. As a result, the dog becomes your powerful ally. It still has all the raw power, but it is working for you and with you, rather than against you. All the power of our shadow self becomes available to us to direct, enjoy and use to help us find fulfilment in our life.

Building strength of body heart and mind through working with your shadow
By making friends with the ‘big dog’ of your shadow, a lot of the difficult and challenging parts of yourself that previously you ran away from will cease to feel threatening to you. You will feel more confident and stronger within yourself. Also, your ability to stay steady in the face of the shadow self of others, or within groups of people is also transformed. Relationship situations that you previously experienced as threatening no longer intimidate you.

Check out the video on the big dog of the shadow:

Click this link for information on Toby’s Shadow coaching
Check out Toby’s other shadow articles on his website

Article & Content ©Toby Ouvry 2020, please do not reproduce without permission.

All upcoming classes and workshops for January 2020

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday 12.30-1.30 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday 22nd February, 10.30am-12pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Saturday 22nd Feb 2-5.30pm – Psychic & Psychological Self-defence half day workshop

Tuesday 10th March, 7.30-8.30pm – Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

Friday, Sat, Sunday 24,25,26th April – The Qi Gong Foundation Program & Program for coaches and trainers 

Ongoing – The Men’s group, the path of conscious manhood

Ongoing  – The Integral Mindfulness & Meditation Online Program, January-July 2020

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Integral Awareness Shadow meditation

Shadow Analogies – The Stone in Your Shoe, the Grain of Sand in the Oyster Shell

Dear Integral Meditators,

The remainder of February for me is all about facilitating meditations on the shadow self, so this weeks article looks at two ways of understanding how working with the shadow self is really of tremendous value, and even become a lot of fun once we develop a taste for it!


The Stone in Your Shoe, the Grain of Sand in the Oyster Shell – Two Analogies for Meditating on the Shadow Self

Our psychological ego has two parts:

  • The Persona, which is our conscious self image, all of the parts of ourself that we accept and consider to be “me”. The persona is the self that we present to the world in our daily life.
  • The Shadow, which are the parts of psychological self that we reject, are afraid of and/or consider “bad” and have repressed in our mind to the extent that we are no longer conscious that they exist as a part of our self. Our shadow self continues to exist in our mind as unconscious drivers of our behavior, and we quite often “project” it onto other people and our world. For example if part of our shadow is a drive toward over-possessiveness we may find ourselves in a state of irrational fear that our friends and possessions may be taken away from us by someone, but not understand why we have these feelings all the time.

For many people the idea of working to confront and constructively integrate the shadow self into our conscious self in a healthy way feels uncomfortable, but here are two analogies that I hope will demonstrate the value of engaging the shadow.

The Stone in Your Shoe
Let’s say you are running a 10 kilometer race. You have a small stone in one shoe. Initially you can only just feel it but it does not cause much discomfort, so you ignore it and carry on. As the race goes by however, gradually the small stone wears on the sole of your foot, eventually causing a painful cut or blister, and directly inhibiting your ability to enjoy the race and run at your best potential speed. In this analogy the race is your life, and the stone in your shoe is the shadow self. Stopping, taking off your shoe and removing the stone relieves you of this painful inhibition, and in this analogy that would be like confronting, working with and successfully integrating your shadow, thus freeing you to live your life more freely and creatively.

The Oyster Shell
As you may know a pearl starts out as a grain of sand that gets stuck in an oyster shell. It causes the oyster discomfort, and it is this discomfort that causes the oyster to create the layers of smooth material around the sand grain that becomes the pearl. In this analogy becoming familiar and working with your shadow is like the work of the oyster to create the pearl; the initial discomfort stimulates the creation of qualities of beauty and strength that previously would have been seemingly unimaginable or impossible in your mind and being. Doing shadow work actively creates this inner beauty and strength within ourselves as well as getting rid of the discomfort.

© 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

Awareness and insight Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Presence and being present Shadow meditation Uncategorized

The Self-Healing and Self Evolving Power of the Mind and Six Tips For Releasing the Shadow Self

Whenever we engage in meditation or any other activity that promotes greater self awareness, we automatically begin to activate two innate capacities within our mind: Its capacity for self-healing and its capacity for self-evolving.

The minds capacity for self-healing is basically means that, whenever we move into a meditative state, the process of being aware of our mind, whether it I in a state of bliss or pain (or somewhere in between) has a beneficial healing effect upon our mind. Awareness heals.

The minds capacity for self-evolving means that the process of sitting and being alert and aware in meditation brings to the surface of our mind all the latent higher qualities and talents that we might not be aware of or, may even be afraid of.

Meditation makes you more aware of your creative gifts and talents and will over time create an energy in you that actually DEMANDS that you start expressing these talents in your life.

From this we can see that, as well as bringing you greater peace of mind, meditation can also be quite challenging in the sense that:

  • You become more aware of all that is damaged and that needs healing within you
  • You start having a lot of creative urges that start to PULL you toward higher and greater achievement in your life.

If you are not prepared for these side effects they can actually be a bit shocking, and you might even feel that you may be doing something wrong. Actually as often as not it is just your minds capacity for auto-healing and auto-evolving kicking in!

So, although the minds capacity for self-healing and self-evolving  are good things they also challenge us, bringing us face to face with the two aspects of our shadow self:

  • The DARK part of our shadow self; the damaged part of self which we have disowned and rejected, and
  • The LIGHT part of our shadow self; that latent greatness and talent within us that is as yet unknown and unexpressed.

With this in mind here are six tips for starting to get friendly with your shadow self. They are the basic elements of what I call a “Six point shadow reclamation process” that I use with coaching clients, and teach in Integral meditation Asia classes and workshops.

Step 1:

See it – Pay close attention to both strong positive and negative emotions that get triggered in you by people, events, places  or things. Be alert to the meaning that there is in the fact that your mind has been triggered in this way.

Step 2:

Feel it – Rather than immediately repressing or pushing away the strong emotions, thoughts or images that get triggered in your mind, get used to feeling into them, holding them within your conscious awareness

Step 3:

Communicate with it – Once you have some experience of steps 1&2, you can then try inwardly communicating with the person or thing that is triggering the shadow emotion. For example if a person fills you with revulsion, try visualizing them in front of you and asking “what is it about you that is creating such strong feelings of dislike?” – see what answer comes back. (Please note you are not actually communicating with the physical person, but trying to connect to that part of yourself that has been triggered!)

Step 4:

BE it – Practice mentally imagining that you have become the person that you fear or admire. Become that angry person that you run away from all the time, imagine yourself AS that great public speaker that fills you with so much admiration.

Step 5:

Own it – Practice taking responsibility for your shadow self and emotions, the light and the dark:

-“Yes I really am angry and hurt deep down, it is not always the other person that is angry”

– “It’s my job to make the most of this talent, no one else is going to do it for me!”

Step 6:

Transcend and transform it – This is the final step, and needs to be done at the END of the other 5 steps. A BIG mistake people make is to try and transcend their shadow self too soon, before they have properly seen it, felt it, communicated with it, been it and owned it.

To transcend and transform the shadow self simply means to recognize it is NOT your true or ultimate self, but nevertheless it has a potential place and function within your everyday personality of ego self. For example:

  • Your previous fear of anger and projection of it onto others can be transformed into the ability to be powerful and polite with difficult people
  • Your previous admiration of another person’s public speaking skills is transformed into your ownership of that talent within yourself, and the development of your own talent as a passionate and persuasive speaker.

If you simply think about the above six points, and start to try them out in your daily life, I think you will find that you can start to get a feel for this process.

Here’s to the maximization of our minds capacity for self-healing and self-evolving!

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website