Step 6

Withdraw Your Projections from Others

A person who is brave enough to withdraw all their projections knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in themselves.

— Carl Jung

Our Shadow is any aspect of our personality that we are unaware of, especially those that we are unwilling to consciously accept. This is different than the parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of. To be ashamed of something, we must be conscious of it. Our Shadow resides in the unconscious, which means we are not conscious of it. And it exercises power over our lives precisely because we are unconscious of it.  

How then are we to become conscious of our Shadow? Shadow work cannot be done alone. Other people can help us with this, including therapists and trusted friends. But since we project our Shadow onto people who we do not like. it is our enemies, more than our friends, who help us bring the Shadow into the light.

This includes those people whom we blame from the climate catastrophe, like big banks, oil executives, corrupt politicians, and climate change deniers. Our anger probably is justified. However, the intensity of anger may be a projection, masking guilt, shame, or anger at ourselves.

We can engage in Shadow work by meditating on those people who we do not like, especially people for whom we have a dislike which seems out of proportion to the real negative attributes of the person, and considering what part of them lives in us. In addition to projecting our Shadow onto people, we can also project it onto negative events, events which we experience as unfortunate, but which we have in fact brought upon ourselves.

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