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Running From Your Shadow

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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Running From Your Shadow

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today I'm going to talk about the problem

with running from your shadow side.

So there's actually an

old story about this.

Long ago, there was a man who

was afraid of his own shadow.

He was so afraid of it in fact,

that he tried to run away from it.

But of course, no matter how

fast he ran or how far he went,

his shadow always kept pace.

He thought he could never be happy

unless he got rid of his shadow.

So he ran faster and faster and

faster until finally he was so

exhausted that he dropped dead.

He didn't understand that if he

had only relaxed and sat down

to rest in the shade, his shadow

would have naturally disappeared

and he could have been at ease.

So this old story offers us a

metaphor for how to work with

our own personal shadow side.

Our personal shadow is made up of

the parts of ourselves that we do

not accept and we do not want to see.

Our shadow is rooted in shame by our

sense of being basically unworthy

or deficient just as we are.

Now, the reason we have this

underlying shame is because of

our basic desire to have love

and acceptance from other people.

Often we reject certain parts

of ourselves because we've been

conditioned by our culture, by our

upbringing to see certain parts of

ourselves as undesirable or even wrong.

So we reject them.

But then our shadow becomes an unhelpful

force in our psyche because the more

that we run from certain parts of

ourselves, the more we reinforce this

sense that something's wrong with us.

Somehow we're flawed or unworthy.

And not only does running from our shadow

ramp up that feeling that we're unlovable

or deficient, but it also stops us from

attending to the parts of ourselves

that probably need more attention and

compassion than any other part, because

it stays rejected and unseen parts of

ourselves that are the source of so

much of our neuroses and suffering.

But when we bring mindful compassion

to them, they can heal and they can

be integrated in really healthy ways.

And then they can be

worked with skillfully.

So through mindfulness, we can

learn to stop running from our

shadow and rest in self-acceptance,

wisdom and inner strength.

In this way, we awaken to

greater self-awareness and we

respond to our life with more

authenticity, intention and courage.

So this is the invitation

to practice today.

Just stop running from your

shadow, if and when it arises.

And instead, see if you can bring

mindfulness, compassion and acceptance

to all the parts of you instead.

As always, thank you for your practice

and your presence here with us.

And now let's settle in

for today's meditation.

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