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Photo by Keith Brauneis

We all have a shadow— the archetypal dark side as illuminated by Carl Jung. It is part of the package upon arrival. Consider how ironically innocent it would be for a pre-schooler to steal a lollipop right out of her playmate’s hand. The impulses we come to know as “evil”, we come by naturally. In The Shadow Effect, Deepak Choprah puts it this way,  “The human soul is simultaneously divine and diabolical, sacred and profane, sinner and saint.” The universe operates on principles of balance, and human nature is no exception. But to what extent are we able to acknowledge the qualities we possess that are not popularly prized? As Jung said, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”

When light is shed on the dark, it ceases to be scary. We discover that the bogeyman is not really under the bed. Similarly, when we bravely look at those hidden places inside ourselves,  rather than habitually resist and reject them, they start to lose their ominous power. Imagine what it might  feel like to embrace all of your parts–including those you are not so proud of. Can you regard yourself with the same gentle understanding and forgiveness that you might extend to that candy-stealing child? The positive energy of such self-acceptance echoes outward, benefitting us all.

 “There is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us that it hardly behooves any of us to say evil of the rest of us.”- Anonymous