The great explorer of the human psyche, Carl Jung, once observed that a primary conundrum that we face in the struggle to “raise our consciousness” and create change in the world (which are co-variant activities, by the way) is that what we resist has a tendency to persist because of our struggle against it. To a shaman, it is a principle of power.
What you fear and resist, you will create over and over again until you own it. Until you own it you have no power over it! This is a formidable problem if you are trying to bring change to the world in some way. For in order to have any real power, you must first change yourself!
What you see and interact with “out there”, is yourself reflected. Form is a mirror. All the forms we encounter in Life are mirrors, particularly relationships. Every thing is a mirror, as is every one. According to the Toltec wisdom, that is how consciousness works, with the objective being the expansion of awareness.
What we cannot or will not recognize in ourselves—Jung called it the shadow—is often projected as judgment. We judge what appears to be outside of ourselves in order to discover and know ourselves It is in our recognition of our judgments – and they are legion—that we learn to master the unrecognized within us.
Perspective widens as we learn to recognize that the elements of conditions that surround us consist of our own reflections. We have no power over that which we project outward if we can not see it as ourselves reflected. If we can see it, and own it, it empowers us. An analogous old shamanic self-development practice has to do with tracking your shadow and eating it, before it eats you.
Empowerment can only come from taking responsibility for what we believe and what we experience as our creation, our own dream. When we can take responsibility for the shadow and own it, we are no longer ruled by it unconsciously. In this way we can empower ourselves by widening the field of our perception
A related concept worth considering is the notion that fighting against or resisting what we do not want— be it an idea, condition, person, action, institution— paradoxically only gives it more power: the power of our focus.
This is awkward and difficult to perceive. The mechanism by which we breath life into what we oppose is elusive unless you salk it with intent. It is always difficult to see a picture from inside the frame. It is a paradox of attention and intent. We feed what we fear with our attention, “magnetizing” it, drawing it to us. The more we focus on something, particularly with strong negative emotion ( which is rocket fuel for thought), that is, the more we struggle against it, the more “substantial” it becomes.
Have you noticed this in your life? If you look closely, you will probably see some of this pattern because it is very human and very common. It is easier to see things in others than in ourselves. Thus the great opportunity for expanded awareness that comes from paying attention to our judgments and struggles through such a lense.
Fortunately, the same is also true for what we want and believe that we deserve to have in our lives. We draw it to us. We attract whatever we feel strongly about, because of our affinity for it. Positive or negative, revulsion or desire… it matters not.
The so-called “spiritual warrior” realizes that the world is his mirror and knows that he must change himself to bring change to the world of form. It is fairly self-evident that one cannot be “spiritual” without doing the work of the “spiritual warrior.” The battle is with yourself, not the world out there . Throughout the ages, the wise have called this the “Great Work” for a good reason.
It is not enough to crusade for change in the outer world if we fail to engage our own personal work and change ourselves!
There is no getting around this law. If we would have peace, we must BE peace, as Ghandi observed. Otherwise we are impotent and vulnerable because we do not understand ourselves and the truth of what motivates us… If you are motivated by fear, you will draw to you what you fear as surely as calling your dog. Without doing your own work on yourself, so-called “activism” is merely shadow-boxing with the form (appearance) we/ you/ me/ all of us have created through distorted beliefs and projections.
Everything is consciousness. As within, so without.
May you find your power and walk in beauty!