The bed's getting cold and you're not here.
The future that we hold is so unclear,
but I'm not alive until you call;
and I'll bet the odds against it all.
Save your advice 'cause I won't hear.
You might be right but I don't care.
There's a million reasons why I should give you up,
but the heart wants what it wants.
(Salema Gomez, What the Heart Wants)
When we think about shadow problems we essentially have a case of our good conscience looking down on bad behavior. The married middle aged man who has two divorces already, who pays alimony for four kids still can't keep it in the pants when the opportunity with the attractive blond arises on his business trip. Chances are, not only his wife beats up on him, he himself despises his passionate night the morning after. Well, the feedback mechanism of life is pretty clear in his case. He has to learn to control his passion, remain single or find a partner who embraces his alternative lifestyle.
But then, some people have the opposite problem. They do what their conscience tells them to but life keeps sending them the feedback that something is off. The woman who loves too much and keeps getting together with men who abuse her. The perfectionist who overdoes it and drives everyone crazy in the process. Or the faithful Catholic who tries to save souls even though everyone keeps telling her that she should mind her own business.
In either case we have a good versus evil battle which arises from a mismatch of feelings and thoughts. The alcoholic who knows that he is ruining his health, but his feelings tell him he should empty the next bottle as well. The perfectionist who knows deep down inside that she is drowning in work but her feelings tell her that she needs to go the extra money mile, and that she is in the right while all the others are simply slackers.
The ego is at play in all cases. The ego is the force that first makes you do things and afterwards beats you up over it, or, as in the case of the perfectionist, the faithful Catholic or the woman who loves too much, quietly enjoys it if others beat you up. The advice of the spiritual community is clear enough, step out of the ego battle, period. But that too is normative and may not be helpful for you right now. The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes you just have to follow.
Life just is. You do what you do because you have to satisfy your soul demands. Who knows what is right or wrong, you decide what you want your life story to be:
It is said that some 8 percent of the Asian male population trace their lineage back to Genghis Khan - so he must have been comfortable with his sexual lifestyle, as well as with his habit of simply killing off the men who weren't part of his gene pool.
Churchill was a drunkard. Perhaps that was his way to muster the will power to single-handily stand up to Adolf Hitler's terrifying military power.
An accountant, a lawyer or scientist, a composer or a surgeon can be a perfectionists. What others complained about in the past, suddenly earns them a lot of money and fame.
Fact of the matter is that life just communicates back to you when there is an inner conflict. That's when you start running into walls. It is your choice what to do with the situation. You can try minimizing the pain, or you can change. We spiritual travelers advise you to step out of the ego game but you have to find how exactly. If you just run away from your conflicts with the mission to find God, chances are that your ego will eat you alive. So find your little niche; your little edge. Take that soul demand of yours and do something beautiful with it. Remove your inner conflicts and life's feedback mechanism will be a positive one. What choice do you have but to manifest what is meaningful to you? The promise of the Way is that you will always find a path that is right by God.
Listen to the feedback mechanism of life and give it your best shot!