Dark night — healing the shadow and the dark emotions

This post includes a collection of links to articles on Beyond Meds on the topic of healing the dark emotions and integrating the shadow aspects of our natures. This page will be saved as part of the drop-down navigation menu at the top of the blog to access posts from the archives.

I’ve gathered a few quotes by Jung on the subject of shadow as well, just to get you warmed up. For the collection, scroll down. I will add to the list of links as appropriate:

The Shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge, and it therefore, as a rule, meets with considerable resistance. Indeed, self-knowledge as a psychotherapuetic measure frequently requires much painstaking work extending over a long period of time. — Collected Works 9: AION: 14,

and

Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness. At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions. — Collected Works 11: Psychology and Religion

and

Tears, sorrow, and disappointment are bitter, but wisdom is the comforter in all psychic suffering. Indeed, bitterness and wisdom form a pair of alternatives: where there is bitterness wisdom is lacking, and where wisdom is there can be no bitterness. — Collected Works 20: Mysterium Coniunctionis

and

If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick Shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. He lives in the “House of the Gathering.” Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own Shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day. These problems are mostly so difficult because they are poisoned by mutual projections. How can anyone see straight when he does not even see himself and the darkness he unconsciously carries with him into all dealings? — Collected Works 11: Psychology and Religion

Posts from Beyond Meds on healing in the dark spaces:

See also: 

  • The Anger and Rage Collection — “what we don’t engage we cannot transform”

  • Fear and anxiety: coping, reframing, transforming… — “There are many methods to learn how to be with these normal feelings, whether they’re very intense or not. As individuals some of us may be more prone to more intensity than others. We can all work with whatever it is we experience.”

  • Meditation, not all bliss and roses — “A very common misunderstanding about meditation that can lead to discouragement is that it’s supposed to be all bliss and roses. That is simply not the case on the ground, so to speak. Sometimes meditation is about being with the dark and ugly and anxious parts of our being too. Meditation is about being with the whole spectrum of human psyche and emotion.”

  • Is Depression Unhappiness — “We have good reason to despair, to feel anguish, and pain. We have a planet that we are poisoning. We have people populating the planet who like to harm one another. We have families who, in their own pain and trauma, pass on that pain and trauma to their children. We face tragedies of all kinds just by being alive. Being human is DIFFICULT. It’s also the most amazing adventure and it can be very very painful to wake up to just how amazing and outrageous this life we’ve been given is. It’s no small task for any of us.”

  • What if grief is the natural order of things, a way of loving life anyway? — “Here’s the revolution: What if grief is a skill, in the same way that love is a skill, something that must be learned and cultivated and taught? What if grief is the natural order of things, a way of loving life anyway? Grief and the love of life are twins, natural human skills that can be learned first by being on the receiving end and feeling worthy of them, later by practicing them when you run short of understanding. In a time like ours, grieving is a subversive act.”

  • Trauma and PTSD collection

  • Conversations about Suicidal Feelings — “It’s absolutely true that those who are suicidal are all too often met with terror and control. Most people who feel suicidal need to talk about it. Approaching people with love and openness means NOT being terrified of that persons dark places.”

  • Carl Jung’s Words of Advice for the Depressed

  • Depression and the Call to Adventure

  • Rethinking depression

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters