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 The Spiritual Journey: The Shadow as Divine 

I've discovered through inner work that this "splitting off" serves a psychic function. In Reality they are always two halves of the same invisible center. I must always ask myself: What am I really seeking here? What is my highest aspiration? then let an image come into my mind that represents the pattern for the whole matter. I discover which archetype has constellated, and I can wrap my mind around what I am dealing with.

The Shadow as the Addicted and the "Needy" Self
Many a poor unassuming soul flounders upon the path of Self-realization. And quite often, it is through an addiction of some sort. And perhaps this is our plight: Without a philosophy that honors both our psychological and spiritual "parts," we spiritual beings in human form cannot find the sacred and essential healing we require. We're all in need of healing, not from just one or two uncomplicated symptoms, but from having gotten caught up in the throes of the multifaceted, paradoxical, and alluring human condition!

Addiction can be viewed as untamed libido, the human shadow running out of control and not giving us true gifts of the truth of our denied side. We can never be whole when we are involved in blocking out one side of our nature through severe judgment, denial, and projection. The shadow is craving expression to be understood.

If one side of us gets starved out, we create a compulsion. This can lead to dysfunctional addictions and unnecessary attachments. Or sometimes the shadow can get even more forceful and carry us to obsession: extremes, fanaticism, one-sided bigotry, dogmatic convictions, compulsive overactivity.

Closer to our ordinary lives, let's see what the process of addiction does within our personal development: First, we begin doing something quite natural enjoy a bottle of beer, fall in love, get excited about a project, invest in a new interest, buy expensive things, or maybe brag about ourselves. And at some point, we do this natural and enjoyable thing more and more often. Eventually we become obsessive about it. Now it consumes our thoughts and our time. We sacrifice other areas of our lives to maintain a steady flow, and at some point we have lost control. Our self-esteem, our hopes, visions, and dreams begin to die and so do we. And we hit bottom.

It is as though we'd been living within the tension of a rubber band stretched fully. And suddenly, from the place of greatest strain, :he tension broke! What has happened? We've been left wide open, raw, and vulnerable--completely "seen." And herein lies the blessing: There is nothing now between us and our root consciousness All our defenses are gone, and we are utterly finished as that one we were before. We've run our old identity as far as it could go. And from these depths, a new life begins.

You can sense the transcendent psychological function in operation within our psyches. Within the addict's frenetic search to find what would finally be enough lies the key to our transcendence. The psyche, as we've seen, will push us to any extreme to force us to become conscious. Becoming an addict, whether we lose our freedom to a chemical or to a behavior, is so painful that we have no other alternative but God.

Addiction serves as a transcendent function. It is the shadow's movement through our lives giving us the experience that searching outside of ourselves for something to fulfill us doesn't work, eventually leading us back to our Source. Addictions are the negative side of our desire nature and show us who we're not.

(Excerpted from Embodying Spirit: Coming Alive with Meaning and Purpose ISBN: 0062552783)
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