(Fab/David Avocado Wolfe)
Shadow work is a long road. A process where you have to walk through a long tunnel where it is had to tell what exactly is up and what is down. Your mind will probably tell you what is "right" and what is "wrong", but the problem with that approach is that you have to bring your feelings along. The righteous part of your mind will tell you that these feelings are an afterthought; or worse, that they are misguided longings of your ego. Look down on these feelings as much as you like, but the matter of fact is that these feelings have an important message for you. A puzzle in the making that you have to put together, whether you like it or nor. Life - and the Way - will help you with that, but unfortunately you may have to get your hands a bit dirty to get there.
We spiritual travelers cannot live with conflict. Our energy is way to powerful to be caught in inner energy battles. Try to do that for a while and see how this conflict wears you down. Life is relentless that way. You may aspire to be spiritual as you like, but as long as these conflicts are still within you, life will confront you with annoying choices over and over until you are simply too tired to go on the way you have been. So-called temptations that come your way are not meant to be shut out, they are there to help you understand what your soul really wants. Don't be scared to look into the dark corners of your soul. The promise of your spiritual path is that all of your soul longings can be expressed along the Way. You just have to discover a new way how to.
Let me tell you two stories that can perhaps serve as yardsticks along that confusing journey. The first - the story of the two wolves - reminds us of the purity that we need to strive for. It is sometimes necessary to get your hands dirty as you dive into life's murky waters, but at the end of the day we have to float like a beautiful orchid above it, otherwise we are just wasting our time and that of our spiritual mentors. But then there is a second dimension of the shadow problem, expressed by the story of the two monks and the dame, that has kind of the opposite message. When you plunge into the muddy waters because life or your soul longings make you to, just get it done with, and waste no time on regrets and merry-go-around games of the ego lecturing itself.
The Story of the Two Wolves
An old Cherokee Chief told his grandson this story. He said, "my son there is a battle between two wolves inside. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, "which wolf win?" Responded the old Cherokee Chief, "The one that you feed."
The Story of the Two Monks and the Dame
Two monks were on their way to a near-by city. When they wanted to cross a little stream they saw a well-dressed women in distress. She had good clothes on and couldn't cross the stream without ruining her outfit. One of the two monks didn't hesitate and offered to carry her over which she gladly accepted. On the other side she thanked him profusely, and silently the two monks marched on. A couple of miles later the other monk commented, "You know, I don't think it was right to carry the woman over the waters. You know that we should keep our distance from the other sex." To which the first monk replied, "Oh, you still carry her with you? I dropped her off a long time ago!"
The next step always gets you there.
So where does this all leave us? Shadow work will wear you down unless you make the right choices and the answer does not lie in will-power alone. Cut out conflicts by finding new answers. Just ask yourself, what does your soul want? And then look around and see what answers the Way has in store for you. You have to define your road-map; no one can do this for you. The monk in the second story made a spur of the moment decision, dancing with life, and for better or worse, he stood by it. But then, don't get caught in an endless loop alternating between positive and negative poles either. There always is the day when you are tired of being tired and you just move on with your life.
Purpose and passion can be combined, and the Way will show you how to do it. Shadow work is merely there to help you find your authentic needs in places where you suspected dark corners of your soul instead. Have the resolution of the monk who carries the dame across the water as you make it through the tunnel, but once you see the light, follow the old Cherokee's advice of staying only with God's energies. Be part of the Way with every step you take. Truth of the matter is, once passion and purpose unite, you are already Home.