Shadow work is one of the most powerful tools you can use to get past your obstacles in life.

In this article I’m going to explain exactly what shadow work is, then I’ll teach you how you can use it to remove some of the biggest issues you’re facing in life.

If you’ve found this article before reading my “What is the Shadow” article, you might want to read that before continuing on. It’ll give you more context on what I’ll be talking about here.

So, What Is Shadow Work?

Well, to explain it best, I need to tell you a story…

This story is about the first time I ever bought a computer. It was a brand new model and it worked perfectly for quite a long time. But, as time went on, after using it every single day, I noticed it starting to get bogged down and running really slowly.

I didn’t know it then, but I learned from a friend later on, that the reason it was running so slowly was because it had gradually picked up a bunch of small internal “snags” or little issues from its daily use, and those issues had gradually built up over time, which ended up creating more and more issues.

But since I had no idea how to fix a computer, or what the issues could possibly be, I just kept using it, the best I could, even though I knew that every time I did, I was going to run into problems.

In this example, the computer represents us or, our consciousness.

Over the course of our lives, we pick up certain subconscious “nuances” that get buried deep inside our minds. I call these “subconscious blocks”. These “blocks” can bog us down and cause us to not run as efficiently as we once did.

As in, they can cause us to act in ways that can hinder us or inhibit our growth and progress in life.

For example, there are times when we might know we aren’t acting in ways we prefer to act, but since we don’t know why we’re doing it, or how to stop it, we just keep doing it. Like a pattern repeating inside of us and continuously playing out in our life.

If we don’t know how to stop the pattern, it’ll keep repeating.

Going back to the computer analogy, just like how a technician looks inside a computer to find and resolve an issue, shadow work is the practice of us looking inside the subconscious part of ourselves and finding the root cause of the issues that are hindering us in life. If you can find the root cause, you can then see the issue for what it really is and become consciously aware of the subconscious pattern(s) that’s been playing out. From there, you can then decide to act differently, based on what you consciously want.

How To Do Shadow Work

The internet is filled with a ton of different techniques you can try. Some work better than others, but really, it’s just about finding your personal preferences and using whatever techniques resonate with you the most.

There’s one technique I’m going to show you today though, that’s really great for people who are just starting out.

It’s a combination technique, where you’ll use something called “journal prompting”, and then meditation.

This technique is very pinpointed, where it’ll have you focus specifically on an issue you want to resolve. As an overview, before I get into the full instructions, what you’ll do is, you’ll think about an issue that’s been playing out in your life, then, you’ll use the memory of that issue as your internal “map” to take you deeper into the subconscious place within you that that problem comes from.

Here’s How To Do This Technique:

Step 1: If you already have a specific problem you want to work on, write the problem down on a piece of paper, then move on to step 2.

If you don’t have a specific problem you want to work on, that’s ok, you can prompt yourself to find something to work on by writing your answers to these questions down on a piece of paper:

1. What negative traits, habits, or behaviors do you see in yourself?

2. What negative or difficult emotions do you notice in yourself often, like feeling ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, or any other negative emotions you feel about things you’ve said or done in the past?

3. What repetitive negative situations have been playing out in your life?

4. What parts of you were you told as a child you shouldn’t express?

As you write out your answers to these questions, pick one of them to take with you into step 2, where you’ll dive deeper into it.

Step 2: Once you have an item that you want to work on, sit quietly with it and ask yourself prompting questions to help yourself dive deeper into the root of what’s behind the issue.

Ask yourself things like:

–          How does this show up in my life?

–          How does this make me feel?

–          What triggers this to happen?

–          When did I first notice this?

–          How does this serve me (if at all)?

–          How does this harm me or others around me? How do I feel about that?

–          What beliefs or past experiences may have contributed to this?

–          What steps can I take to change or transform this into something positive?

–          Why do I act this way? What in my past could have contributed to it?

–          What am I trying to avoid by acting this way?

–          What beliefs do I hold about myself or the world that are contributing to this?

–          What would happen if I let go of this?

For each of these questions, write down any thoughts, feelings, or realizations you have in your journal, noticing any patterns that come up as a theme in your life. This can help you uncover what’s beneath the surface of that particular problem, bringing to light any unseen or repressed emotions, thoughts, or beliefs that might be causing it to take place.

Once you’ve written everything down that you can think of, it’s then time to start meditating on the feelings these questions bring up in you.

Emotion is the language of the subconscious mind, so sitting quietly with your emotions here, and allowing yourself to feel them fully, is paramount to processing them out.

There are lots of ways to do this, but the easiest way is to think about the specifics of the problem in your mind. Then, close your eyes and allow any feelings that are tied to that problem to come up in you, so that you feel them fully. You might notice that the feelings that come up are uncomfortable, but that’s ok, it’s all part of the process. Just focus all of your attention on the sensations you feel. Make sure that while you do, you don’t judge them as bad, and that you don’t try to avoid them or refocus your attention on something else. Just sit with the feelings, giving neutral awareness to them.

Sometimes you might have other things pop into your mind, that might pull you into other thoughts, that have nothing to do with the issue you’re sitting with. These are just your internal attempts to avoid the feeling of discomfort you’re trying to sit with. So if you notice yourself doing this, just stop giving attention to those random thoughts and come back to focusing on the sensations behind the problem.

Continue to sit with the negative emotions and sensations, without judging them. Your goal is to just witness them inside of you, neutrally, like watching water move down a stream. It doesn’t matter what the water does, it’ll shift and move, you just need watch it and witness it. This is what I mean when I say “neutral awareness”. You’re re-wiring your brain by stopping your typical patterned response of running from the emotions while they play out.

Do this for long enough, giving full awareness to the sensations, and once you do, you’ll remove the emotional charge that’s tied to the problem because you’re kind of “scratching the record” on the pattern that normally plays out.

When it comes to negative emotions, most of us typically either run from or condemn what we’re feeling inside. But this combination approach, allows you to actively go into the emotions, and release them at the same subconscious level that’s holding them in place. Once you do, you change the pattern and give your subconscious mind permission to let go of the issue.

After doing this for your first problem, feel free to go back and do it again for the rest of the problems you brought up in your list from earlier.

You’ll notice that, after using this technique on your problems, the emotional charge behind them will be gone, and you’ll be able to consciously decide how you want to take action in the future to resolve the “physical-world” side of your problems. Without your negative emotions getting in the way, you’ll have clarity and conscious control over how you move forward.

I hope this information was helpful for you! Give this exercise a try and let me know what you thought of it. I’d love to hear your feedback 🙂

Until then, I wish you the very best in all that you do. Take care!

– Nikki

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