How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners
10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation
What is Meditation?
Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindful Living Can Change Your Life
Mindfulness 101: A Beginner's Guide
In this meditation, we do the deep work of befriending and integrating the parts of ourself that we most resent, facilitating an internal peace.
Hi, I'm Cory Muscara.
This meditation is going to be an
11 step shadow integration practice.
The same one that I discuss in my
book, Stop Missing Your Life: How to be
Deeply Present in an Unpresent World.
We all have parts of ourselves
that we resent or suppress.
These could be emotional experiences,
parts of our personality, or anything
we feel that's getting in the
way of the life we want to live.
Our typical response is to cast these
parts of ourselves into the shadows
of our awareness, which is why Carl
Jung referred to them as shadow parts.
However, the further disconnected
we get from these parts, the
more anxious, depressed, low
energy and disembodied we become.
This 11 step sequence is designed to help
you befriend, integrate, and actually feel
empowered by your shadow parts so that
you can move to a greater experience of
wholeness, peace, and deep fulfillment.
So let's get started.
The first step is to find
a relaxed, seated posture.
If you'd prefer to lie down and
think you can do so without falling
asleep, then that's fine as well.
The primary thing here is you want to feel
comfortable and safe for this meditation.
So you can use pillows, blankets, or
even stuffed animals as a way to help
you feel more settled and grounded.
You're welcome to pause this meditation to
set up your space before we move further.
Once you set up your space,
you're welcome to close your
eyes, if that feels comfortable.
Knowing that at any point
in the meditation, you're
welcome to open them again.
And if you'd prefer to do the
entire meditation with the
eyes open, that's fine too.
Step Two is going to be identifying the
shadow part that you'd like to work on.
So what's a part of you that
you struggle with or don't like?
What's something about yourself that
you resent or hide from other people?
Or even hide from yourself> take
a moment to reflect on that.
And if you need more time to
contemplate, you can pause.
But once you've identified this
part, see if you can feel where you
experience it in your mind and your body.
So you're getting a sense of this
part's presence, the shadow's location,
its boundaries, its qualities when
you start to really sense into it.
In other words, when you contemplate
this part of yourself, when you sense
into it, where does it show up for
you in your internal experience?
And just start to get
acquainted with it in that way.
And once you have a sense of
your shadow, the third step
is about giving it some form.
So if this shadow were to be a
particular color, shape, sound or
substance, maybe like a dark cloud or
a yelling voice, or even a flimsy reed.
What would that be?
It's okay if an image or character comes
to mind like a mangy dog or a child.
Just start to notice what form this
shadow part manifests as for you.
And the form doesn't have
to be perfectly fleshed out.
But as much as you can, really
getting a sense of its color or its
shape, its character so that you
can sense its presence more deeply,
because the fourth step is about
creating trust with the shadow part.
So once it has some form, you're
going to imagine that you're
sitting down and meeting with it.
You might imagine an actual bench in
your mind that you and the shadow are
sitting on, or you can imagine that
the shadow is sitting in front of you.
Whatever the arrangement, make sure both
you and the shadow feel comfortable.
You may need more or less
space from each other.
And let the shadow know, through words
and body language, that you are not
here to hurt it or get rid of it.
Rather, you want it to
feel safe in your presence.
You might feel some resistance because
chances are, you've spent a lot
of time resisting the shadow part.
But as best you can trying to make
it feel safe and really letting it
know that you don't want to hurt it.
You're purely coming from a
place of interest and openness.
In Step Five, we're going
to move a little closer.
So becoming curious about the shadow.
And you can ask it, what
is it like to be you?
And see what arises.
And then ask, what is something
about you that I don't know?
And you can ask any other question to
the shadow, just simply becoming curious.
There's no agenda to get
any particular answer.
You're just trying to get to
know this part of you a little
more deeply and intimately.
Once you've gotten a little more
information and you feel more familiar
with this part of yourself, Step Six is
going to be about specifically exploring
the shadow's positive intention.
We go into this, acknowledging
that every part of us is
trying to help us in some way.
There's some positive intention.
So let the shadow know that you
trust it is trying to help you in
some way and ask it if it could
share its positive intention.
Maybe saying, what are you trying to help
me learn, to understand, or experience?
How are you trying to serve or protect me?
And see what the shadow has to say.
I'll give you some space in silence.
And remember, you're just listening.
We may sometimes have the tendency
to be resentful or combative.
Instead, see if you can just come back to
an open space of curiosity and interest.
Once you've heard the response
from the shadow, Step Seven is
just to show some appreciation.
All of this is in service of
creating more of a relationship.
So you can think to a time in your life
when you tried to help someone, but you
felt like that person dismissed you.
This often feels painful, but this
is also how the shadow must feel.
On some level it's trying to help
you, it's trying to participate,
it's trying to share something
or help you experience something.
And chances are your relationship
to it is to dismiss it as either a
frustration or something getting in the
way of the life you're trying to live.
But now that you can see more clearly
that the shadow does have more of a
positive intention, if you're willing
and ready, see if you can thank
it for doing its best to help you.
Even if you don't fully understand
its motive, what would it be like
to open your heart to some gratitude
toward this part of yourself?
See what that feels like.
And if it feels okay, we'll move
on to Step Eight, which is to
make a connection with the shadow.
Specifically of physical connection,
from a place of compassion.
This is the first step toward feeling what
it's like to actually embrace one another.
So you can imagine giving the
shadow a hug or holding it gently
in your hands, or whatever sort of
touch you feel inspired to make.
It's okay to go slow.
Remember, you've spent a lot of time
avoiding this part of you, so it might
feel difficult to get close at first.
You don't need to rush.
But see if you can slowly start to make
some physical connection and embrace.
Now that you've moved closer,
we can move on to Step Nine,
which is to make an offering.
So here, you're going to ask
the shadow, what do you need?
How can I help you?
What can I give you?
And see what comes up in response.
Once you get a response, imagine
yourself offering this to the shadow.
Whatever it is the shadow wants, see
yourself offering this as a gift to the
shadow, in whatever capacity you're able.
And then watch the shadow receive this
gift from you and watch what it's like for
the shadow to actually receive something
rather than be resented or shunned.
Now that we've made an offering and
really let the shadow know that we're
here for it, we're here to understand
it, and we're here to take care of it
in the best way we can, we're going
to move on to Step Ten, which is to
invite the shadow into the light.
So as you rest here, imagine the many
different parts that create who you are.
The parts that are loving,
positive, protective, sad, curious.
A whole community of parts,
all with different forms.
And notice how most of those
parts of you are in the light.
They're able to be seen and
understood and respected.
But the shadow part remains in the dark.
As a community, imagining all
of these different parts of you
inviting, embracing, welcoming
the shadow part into the light.
So that it can be accepted in the
community of you to be appreciated,
understood, and welcomed.
This embrace comes from the recognition
that who we are is multi-dimensional.
There are many parts that contribute to
our sense of ourselves, our wholeness.
To dismiss any part of it is in
some way, dismissing the whole.
So we're welcoming this part back into
its place in the wholeness of who we are.
Recognizing that just like any other
part of us, it just wants to be loved,
it wants to be seen, and it has the
potential to transform and become more
of your ally rather than your enemy.
In the final step, Step Eleven,
we will move to integration.
So once the shadow has been welcomed
into the light, imagine all of these
parts, desolving into one, creating
an embodied sense of wholeness.
There's no longer separate parts.
There's just one
substance, one experience.
And let the fullness of that envelop
you and might have a corresponding
color or texture or temperature.
Letting yourself feel what it's
like to rest in this wholeness.
Breathing it in.
And exhaling, as you
soften and relax into it.
Just taking some time in silence to
feel and experience the fullness of who
you are, the oneness, the wholeness.
All of these parts
contributing to one being.
Feeling the ease that comes when
we're no longer fighting ourselves.
And with each breath in, feeling
the fullness and the lightness
that comes with this unity.
And with each breath out, letting
go of any residual resistance
or tension that might be there.
In the last moments of this meditation,
see if you can offer yourself some
gratitude, some appreciation for doing
what can sometimes be painful work.
It's hard to be a human and it's hard to
embrace all the dimensions of ourselves.
And in this meditation, you made a
little more progress in that direction.
So just thank yourself for
that intention, that effort,
that willingness and openness.
And when you're ready, you
can slowly start to reorient
yourself back into the space.
Getting some movement in your body.
And allowing your eyes to open again.
So great job.
You just went through the 11
step shadow integration process.
This can bring up different experiences.
Sometimes we feel light and
at ease at the end of it.
Sometimes we might feel a lot of energy
moving, like something shifted and opened.
Make sure you prioritize
your own self care.
If you need some time to be still
or walk outside, try and give that
to yourself and really continue
to reinforce self-compassion.
I can't overestimate the importance of
that when doing this deeper kind of work.
As I mentioned at the beginning,
this 11 step sequence comes from the
shadow integration section of my book,
Stop Missing Your Life: How to be
Deeply Present in an Unpresent World.
If you're interested in continuing
the exploration that you started
here, that book may be a helpful next
step and provide the extra support
that I might not be able to offer
in just a 20 minute meditation.
It was great to walk you through this.
I'm proud of you for making it to the end.
And if you'd like to continue to stay
connected through audio, you can find
me on my podcast, Practicing Human.
I'll talk to you soon.
And until then, take care.
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