Through a Jungian Lens

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In Defence of the Shadow

with 2 comments

Defending against the enemy

Another one of my grandsons (white hockey jersey), the oldest of six, makes his way into my blog site. He plays defence for a midget hockey team and is a good hockey player, being named the “A” assistant captain of the team even though he has just moved to a new city and a new team. Needless to say, I am proud of him for his way of being present that allows him to emerge out of anonymity to take a leadership role.

I brought this photo because the scene makes me think of the conflict that goes on between the ego (the home team in white jerseys) and the shadow (the enemy team wearing dark jerseys). Sometimes the ego is able to repel the “pushing” of the shadow and stand firm and score a victory. But at other times, the “pushing” becomes too much to handle for the ego with the result being a “loss.”

A good hockey coach doesn’t get too worked up about a loss as there is a lot learned in the process of losing. The shadow has a lot to teach us, not only about the cracks in our armour, but about what works and doesn’t work. Rather than repeat the same behaviours with greater and greater intensity only to become more and more frustrated with life, the shadow points us towards new ways of being, new paths that might be taken. Perhaps the greatest thing the shadow can teach us is the fact that it isn’t others who cause our weakness; rather, others help us by showing us our weakness. In the end, we grow as individuals who are more conscious.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

November 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

2 Responses

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  1. I am still bewildered when ‘Jungians” convey a desire to eradicate the Shadow – what the hey??? Didn’t they read the books? this is a foolish, futile and dangerous thing to do. One can only make room and let it be part of the psyche. and what is life without some shadow? without zest.


    November 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    • Shadow is here to stay. Shadow is that which is unconscious, not “just” the uncomfortable guy lurking in the dark corners that is our personal Mr. Hyde. We can never become only light.


      December 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

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