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Shadow Work with Active Imagination – Jungian Psychology – Carl Jung



hi this is emerald and welcome to the diamond net and today I'm going to be talking to you about how to use active imagination for shadow work alright so last week I gave you guys a video about shadow work and really looking at it from the angle of the inverse relationship between the ego and the shadow and basically about how judgment plays into that whole dynamic of creating an ego and the counterpoint of the shadow and so it would be a good idea to look back at that video prior to watching this one but there's no need to watch that one to watch this one is I'm going to recap the major points and then afterward I'm going to go into how to use active imagination which is basically a Jungian process and it's a method for communicating with the unconscious for the purpose of integration and shadow work alright so regarding the relationship between ego and shadow so the ego to put it simply is basically everything that we identify with ourselves everything that's part of our identity and the shadow is anything that stands in opposition or that could potentially threaten our identification with those things that are in our ego so let's say that I think of myself as a good mother and this is one of the core identities I have within my ego anything that I would consider to be bad mother related things I would have a tendency to want to ignore or oppress and myself so if I consider a good mother to be somebody who's selfless and I have a very narrow definition of what selflessness is I might have a tendency to ignore desires that are more focused toward myself or more toward my own individualism or autonomy so the shadow is very much the inverse reflection of ego and so it's kind of like they have a zeroing out kind of relationship between each other so if we think about it in terms of a mathematical equation if we have a positive one and we add a negative one to it we end up with zero and this is how the ego and the shadow work together if we have a really strong identification in one direction then the inverse reflection of that or the shadow is going to be equally strong in that direction but if we don't have a really strong identification it's going to be weaker and it's going to be closer to that zero mark to one another and so the idea is that you want to in dissolving the strong identifications with your ego aspects it zeroes everything out and it creates a lot less internal noise and more of your authentic self can come forward alright so basically when we have an identification with the ego it then becomes our job to protect that ego from being undermined and so that we can keep that identification going and the main thing that is dangerous to that ego identification is realizing that the shadow is also part of ourselves and that's what has that neutralizing effect and so what happens is that we try to create almost as barrier protection around our ego identifications and anything that we relate to our self-concept and the main way that we do this is through judgment and so what that entails is that we end up judging ourselves internally if we express a certain trait or have a certain tendency and we try to repress that away from our own awareness and keep ourselves from expressing it and then we also start judging other people for having a trait that maybe seems similar or is the same as that tree but what this judgment does is that it enables us to insulate ourselves from awareness of our own shadow and so judgment becomes a necessity for maintaining the illusion of ego and also maintaining unawareness of our own shadow so there's a direct relationship between judgment and shadow so the more judgmental a person is the denser their shadow will be in the less aware they will be of their own internal workings the less integrated they will be but the more open and accepting and loving a person is the more they'll be able to integrate their shadow which will also allow them to be more aware and more compassionate to other people as well so practicing unconditional love and acceptance of ourselves and others is the number one thing that we can do to bring us into a state of wholeness and integration and and awareness and so so much of being loving and accepting isn't an additive process of like trying to make ourselves be more loving or more accepting what it is about is about a subtractive process of dropping judgments but the question is how do we actually let go of a judgment so it basically doesn't work if we try to repress our judgments as well then that just becomes another judgment on top of ourselves and we end up repressing that away as well so that's not a good idea but when it comes to like dropping our judgments it comes to realizing that the thing that we're judging is actually a part of ourselves so a judgement is basically when we say try to put our blinders on and say I am NOT that and try to move as far away from that as possible and polarize ourselves away from whatever that thing is that we're judging but if we can actually notice in real-time that oh that actually is there I can see it having an influence on me then the judgments will drop away naturally so one way that we can drop judgments and integrate our shadow is to be able to actually practice understanding and appreciating and validating the existence of those that we would typically judge because in being able to love and accept that person it sends a signal to ourselves that we would be able to love and accept ourselves if we were displaying that same trait so the shadow is created out of fear of ourselves invalidating ourselves like we would go and invalidate other people and this is why the judgment outward always becomes a judgment inward and so it becomes too much of a high-stakes situation if we know that we hate and invalidate other people for having certain traits because there's no chance in us even ever showing that to ourselves because we're afraid of rejecting ourselves in the same way and it sets up this whole scenario where you can't trust yourself and so with regard to this concern of accepting others and accepting the self this is why I'm proposing active imagination so basically active imagination is Union process and it's meant to allow you to engage directly with an aspect of the unconscious so basically the way that active imagination typically works is that you are you know sitting there and you're waiting for an image to pop into your mind and then you engage in some kind of scenario or dialogue with that image or you can actually remember an image from a dream try to conjure it back up and then you can actually engage in a scenario or a dialogue with that image so let's say if I dream about Captain America and he's a character in my dream essentially within the dream he is an aspect of myself and he is essentially a mask essentially Captain America is the mask that that aspect of myself is wearing and so if I engage with Captain America and the dream I'm engaging directly with an aspect of myself so if I go in and I want to do the process of active imagination by myself later on after I've woken up I'll try to conjure back up the image of Captain America and try to engage that image in a dialogue or a scenario and in listening to whatever answers or reactions Captain America gives me it's hearing an aspect of myself through the medium of the image of Captain America I and so with the way that I'm speaking of how to practice the active imagination you're doing the same thing only you're not doing it with a dream character you're actually doing it with a person who's in your life so if you have a person that maybe rubs you the wrong way or that you just have this strong negative visceral reaction to them what you'd want to do is you would want to conjure their image back up and then engage directly in a dialogue or a scenario with them when you're by yourself so it's a lot like you know if you're like having a shower conversation with yourself and like let's say that you earlier on had some kind of conflict happen and then you draw that that scenario back up and then you're engaged in that conflict again and maybe you're getting your parting shots or there were some things that you wanted to say in the conversation that you didn't think of at the time and so it's kind of almost a way of internally trying to resolve whatever that conflict is so that's in a sense a form of active imagination because this might be obvious to say you're not actually talking that other person you're talking to yourself when you're saying that so when you're engaging with that person you're engaging with them as an aspect of yourself so likewise when you're engaged in the process of active imagination and you're talking to somebody that you know in life it actually is in a sense that a mask for an an aspect of your internal self that you're engaging with so to understand this concept a little bit deeper it's important to understand that we have aspects of ourselves that are conscious to us and those are integrated and those are in the forefront of our conscious awareness and then within the unconscious we have a lot of things going on so we have archetypes down there we can also it through this process interact with archetypes as well but that's a topic for a different video but we also have parts of ourselves that are either unrealized so we just haven't discovered them yet or they're directly repressed away so and this is where the judgments come in so things that we judge as bad or as something that would undermine our ego structure they become these little fragmented parts of the cells and those fragmented parts have their own wants and needs and general ways of being and so this is why they can be symbolized through dream symbols or through another person that we might not have such a liking toward so whenever let's say there's a person who is let's say that we have a judgment against people who are you know really showy with their emotions or and that kind of thing because we maybe repress our own emotional our own self that's more emotionally sensitive when we see an emotionally sensitive person they instantly become a symbol for that repressed aspect of ourselves and so when we engage in a shower converse a in kind of dialogue with that person what we're doing is we're engaging directly in dialogue with that part of ourselves and so if our dialogue with them is combative and it seeks to punish them what happens is there's more of a split that occurs within ourselves we're actually harming ourselves when we do that but if we are able to get to a point of acceptance and understanding of that person then that part of ourselves can actually come more toward the forefront of consciousness and become more integrated with the rest of ourselves all right so I'm gonna give you this step-by-step process of how to do this so intuitively it is just engaging with those aspects of self but here's some things to keep in mind so so the first thing I recommend doing is to be completely by yourself because this is something that may include you sort of talking to yourself and you don't want someone to walk in on that you don't want to feel self-conscious and like somebody is right there watching so that's so that's one thing and the second thing is to set an intention of love and kindness so you don't want to be micromanaging the experience as you go through it you know you don't want to be trying to drive it in such a specific direction but it's important to set your intention toward loving kindness so it doesn't end up like one of those combative shower talks where you're trying to get into your parting shots at the person and you're you're trying to dominate them in a conversation you want to get this experience to a point where you're able to practice love and compassion toward the image that you're engaging with all right the next thing to do is to actually start to engage with your image of that person that you're judging or that you dislike now this can be in the scenario that you would typically engage with them in or you can create a totally different scenario that you normally wouldn't be in some of my favorite scenario is to create are like what if I was on a stranded Island with this person and I had to cooperate with them to survive or what if I were trapped in an elevator with this person for hours and I had to converse with them and make peace with them so though contain kind of situations can work really well for finding ways to accept that aspect of yourself through the image of that other person all right the third thing is to try to hit a flow state with the situation like you don't want to be actively trying to conjure up a very specific image with your conscious mind to where you're like trying to account for all the details and really trying to pretend like it's a conversation you want it to flow as easily as one of those shower conversations all right so once you hit that flow state you want to make sure that you are expressing how you actually feel so even though your intention is to be positive toward this person and to learn to love and appreciate the person that you're engaging with as a symbol of your unconscious essentially you don't want to push it too much in that direction you want to start off by expressing to them exactly how you feel about them and if you're really upset with somebody or you really dislike somebody you can straight up be like you know I really feel like I hate you you know and then take the conversation from there and again even though the intention is to bring yourself toward a state of integration and positivity with that aspect of self you have to be very brutally honest with where you're at and how you feel and so have that positive intention and set that positive intention early but allow yourself to take twists and turns and if you run into negative feelings express those negative feelings and then see how the person reacts in the scenario all right so this brings me to my next point in this process which is to seek to understand the person that you're engaging with and also to have them understand you this understanding will help create that integration between the conscious aspect of yourself and whatever that unconscious aspect that you are engaging with so let's say for example there is a judgement of people who are emotionally sensitive so I'll bring up that example again so you can say look if you're engaged with a person you know who is emotionally sensitive and they're the symbol of that aspect of yourself that's being repressed that is emotionally sensitive as well then you could express them it's like you know I feel like I dislike you because you just want a lot of attention and that's the only reason why you're being emotionally sensitive and then that part of yourself may answer back in a different way it's like well I don't like to have my self suppress and I'm just being authentic and you know so you can get into these kind of argumentative dialogues but that are really meant to sort of be a meeting of minds and to kind of understand where that other part is coming from all right in my last point on this process is to just let it go in unexpected directions so the idea is that you let go of control in this situation you kind of let the conversation run itself so again you're in that flow state and you want to follow the intuition and sometimes that can bring you into positive areas and negative areas and it can take sharp left turns into areas that you didn't expect it to go and that's really where the magic of this process is because it's a process of discovery and if the conscious mind is in there trying to like micromanage things and trying to make things go in a certain direction then you're not going to get the full benefit of the process so basically as you go through this process what you find is that it's easier to find points of appreciation about the other person that you're judging and also the aspect of yourself that they represent so in doing that you can bring those aspects of yourself that have been relegated to the unconscious and to the shadow and you can bring them back up into the conscious awareness and in doing so what happens is these strong eye ego identifications and judgments they let loose and the parts of the shadow that have been repressed can kind of zero out with one another and you find that it's a lot easier to be yourself without having to polarize your identity in ways that are unnatural anyway that's all I have for you for now I hope that you enjoyed this video if you did go ahead and click the like button and subscribe also leave me a comment down below I love hearing from you guys share the video with a friend that you think might enjoy this content also I wanted to save thank you guys so much to my patrons it's really motivating to have you guys pledge to me and I just really appreciate it also I wanted to mention that I'm offering life coaching dream work coaching and tarot readings if anybody's interested in those services you can contact me at the diamond net channel at gmail.com basically with those it's a lot about self-discovery so in those processes if you're looking for clarity or if you just want to figure out what direction to go in life and want to look a strategic partner to help you set action steps to go toward those then I highly recommend signing up dream work coaching is a lot the same way as the regular life coaching the main difference is that we start off with the dream and we try to figure out what message it is from the unconscious that is trying to be conveyed and then setting practical goals from there as to how to come more into alignment with what the dream is trying to convey anyway that's all I have for you for now and until next time keep becoming more you you you

Glenn Chapman

32 Comments

  1. Seems like the thing is, if you're doing this when thinking of another person, they have widely varied experiences that you might not be able to imagine, let alone understand.

  2. 4:00 HOLD ON, I don't think that having strong judgmental tenancies means that your shadow isn't going to be well developed. I can think of PLENTY of people, such as Nieztche, who have very strong understanding and integration with their shadow and are immensely judgmental because of it. I too feel as though im well integrated with my shadow, and im a very judgmental person. I don't always act on those judgments because I understand that people are the way they are for a reason and that expectations don't do any good most of the time, but im always critiquing peoples actions and words as harshly as my own.

    Im fully aware of my murderous, wrathful side. Which is all the more reason for me to be judgmental of those who don't get a control on it, or ignore that its there entirely.

    I don't think I disagree with anything else, just that judgments are bad things that should be avoided. Too generalized

  3. Thank you because your videos are clear, interesting and smart. It is both a lot of work and spiritual achievement. I wish the best continuation for you and all watchers.๐Ÿ™

  4. I really enjoy your presentation of these complex topics, thank you.

  5. it depends
    there is no pat formula
    the shadow is sneaky and tricky
    people can pretend to be nonjudgmental
    we all do everything
    therefore just give it up
    spit it out

  6. Ugh, so I have to accept the stupid people around me? I guess I'll keep my shadow ๐Ÿ˜’

  7. this technique seems to be a form of self hypnosis. it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about this fascinating and sometimes disturbing subject sometime too.

  8. Thanks for the wonderful video, I had just stumbled across Jungs Red Book two days ago so the timing matching with my own curiosity could not have come at a better time. I'm curious if you think this would pair well with interacting with dream symbols as I have had a difficult time coming to an understanding with many of their meanings. Thanks again!

  9. Yes indeed, if you feel animosity towards someone you should always check if there is a shadow aspect of yourself operating. These things are an opportunity to learn about yourself. But there could be other things happening as well. As an excessively empathic person I would feel other peopleโ€™s feelings and it was very confusing, especially if they were projecting their shadow onto me. It took me a long time to sort it out and I still donโ€™t handle it very well, only by retreating as I donโ€™t always feel safe. People who are not wired too be that empathic donโ€™t believe how confusing it can be, but its true. And then there is introjection of someone elseโ€™s shadow if you are in an abusive situation.
    All in all, it is extremely worthwhile to sort out what is your shadow and is it even your own shadow or what has been put on you.
    So bravo Emerald!

  10. Hello, Emerald. It was happy to meet you and learn from you today. See you soon again and thank you for all you do. ๐Ÿ˜˜

  11. Holy hell! i was already doing something similar to this. i thought i was nuts.

    Thanks for explaining it to us ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. How would you distinguish between archetypes and and the shadow?
    The way I see it, archetypes manifest dependent on circumstantial potential, and of necessity regulate conscious as well as unconscious behavior. The ideas of the syzygy and shadow, come to mind as mediums of communication between the conscious and the unconscious.
    What though, is the nature of the unconscious potential, or self, for though it is said to be autonomous, it does not seem to contain the subjective quality and most unfortunately it does not seem-although I may be wrong-to know what to do.

  13. Regurgitated words are merely misperceptions of someone else's definition's and experiences but useless when not from your own personal experience of the same subjects, because each Experience is unique in its perspective and understanding and therefore in order to fully understand something it must be intergrated as a feeling rather than empty intellectual words floating around the mind that have no real intellect at all.
    By passing on words you are merely passing on empty sounds that have no real use, because they are your understanding and even if your understanding did have experience attached, it will still be passing on empty sounds until the feeling of experience exists as an embodiment in those receiving them, which begs for the question, is there any point in expressing your regurgitating words onto others and the answer to that is yes if you use your actions and need to express as a tool for intergration of the shadow.
    It always makes me smile to see the egoic mask talking about how to stop wearing masks in order to hide itself in plain sight lol.

  14. I love your soothing energy. I was deeply stressed out by an exam I have in a day but I'm now reconnecting with myself realising how insignificant an exam really is in my journey and I'm learning to deal with that stress. I've told myself just passing it would be enough for me so that I can get in touch with more important things in my life. Society has deeply screwed up our priorities.

  15. True happiness and motivation for living in society is about finding a balance between true self and ego self. Individuality is vital.

  16. It's amazing as humans what a powerful and effective imagination we have! That we can imagine ourselves into mental and emotional balance! Thanks for sharing this technique!

  17. Always have a strategy. Professional help from someone whoโ€™s done shadow work as you, this could save beaucoup pain and suffering and becoming lost in the jungle. Delving into the unconscious shadow all hell can break lose. Just a cautionary note.
    Peterson imagined what he considered the unimaginable. He imagined he was an Auschwitz guard for 2 weeks straight till he could understand that under duress and dark conditions he had it in him to be one himself. He assimilated his shadow, according to him. Now he claims to be a more moderate and understanding and forgiving person. Love, forgiveness, and redemption can be the result of shadow work. Itโ€™s very dangerous to go into it the exercise too fast too deep. Tread carefully… listen to experts as Emerald and others. She offers a sane method for sure. Thx
    PS Jordan was well read and experienced before he did his radical work.

  18. Thanks Emerald, you always bring me something useful to improve myself. Appreciate your wonderful work.

  19. Wow. On point 100%. I have someone I think I hate deeply although I do know that what I actually hate is what he represents in me 'cause it feels like he does what I do. Only I like to give me a break not him. Actually annoys me as hell when I complain about a situation and then people tell me "You realize you do that same exact thing right?". God!!

    The idea of just like talking to that aspect without being hateful and angry at it alone disturbs me like" What, understand, hell no you deserve to die".. :O

    Guess I got a lot of work to do. ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. Good day Lass, Thank you for what you do. Iโ€™m chatting with a Jungian therapist presently to help me thru my current stage in life. Iโ€™m 70 and unlearning and relearning many aspects of life and how I fit in. Your videos help to clarify and add understanding to my journey. Keep up the good work. Patrick. (AKA, Shadowwriter)

  21. Thanks fo this! Reminds me of something I did for a little while about 25 years ago. There was a person I interacted with on a daily basis who seemed to have a problem with me and I sensed it might go sideways if not dealt with. So I don't know what got me to do what I did next but it was similar to what you've described in this video. I imagined interacting with him and I let myself react totally freely towards him. It resulted in learning more about myself as well as more about his unconscious and conscious motives. Then, I was surprised to see that he , in real life, seemed to be at peace with me. And that was the end of it.

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