“Here is a universal truth that everyone needs to know: Spiritual experiences, including near-death experiences, DO NOT perfect the human side of our nature. Spiritual experiences can, however, blind us and make us (and others) think we are more developed than we actually are. If we focus too much on the spiritual realities of life without focusing enough on the imperfect, growing, evolving human side of ourselves; if we discount, ignore or suppress the shadowy, undeveloped sides of our nature, these forces will eventually catch up with us and set our earthly lives on fire.”
— Near-Death Experience Researcher & Author, David Sunfellow
“I’ve said this many times, in many ways, but will say it again here, more directly.
“A large number of near-death experiencers report that they felt one of the reasons they had their experience was because they had lost their way in life. Because of this, they required a major wake up call, which is what their near-death experience provided them with. A wake up call does not turn formerly dysfunctional people into healthy people. It gives them a story to share, a map to follow, and concrete ways to begin to tackle all the areas of the their lives and personalities that require deepening and healing. What this means is that near-death experiencers, while they often have wonderful stories to tell, including stories of miraculous healings and newfound paranormal abilities, are not necessarily the wisest, healthiest, most evolved people. While they are usually called to share their stories so we can all become better people, spiritual experiences do not transform any of us into perfect beings overnight.
“So this is a double warning.
“First, to near-death experiencers: Spiritual experiences, by themselves, do not transform any of us into perfect beings. We still must do the hard work of purifying egos and integrating spiritual visions and understandings with the practical realities of life. If we try to ride the power of spiritual experiences without doing the hard work of personal transformation, we will end up crashing and burning, and potentially taking a lot of others with us.
“Second, to those who are looking to near-death experiencers as emissaries of The Divine: Yes, near-death experiencers have been sent back, in part, to share their stories and, by doing so, help illuminate all of us. Beyond that, near-death experiencers may or may not be able to offer solid, seasoned advice. Along with integrating whatever spiritual experiences they had into daily life, it often takes decades of daily work on shadow and developmental issues to create vessels that allow The Divine to emerge in us in healthy, balanced, full blown ways. The same is true for us. Like near-death experiencers, we must also work on ourselves, which includes not giving our power and personal responsibility away to others who appear to be more evolved than we are.
“As near-death researcher Kenneth Ring writes in his classic book Lessons from The Light:
“As always, discrimination and discernment must be exercised, because even in ‘the near-death world’… there are persons, including some NDErs, who are not always what they seem, or who suffer from obvious self-inflation or other grandiose tendencies that any prudent person would do well to eschew immediately… Please remember something that should be obvious: NDErs, though they may have seen The Light, are still human and have human failings. Not they, but only The Light should be exalted. So do not let your enthusiasm for these teachings and for what The Light represents blind you to possible excesses in Its name.”
— Near-Death Experience Researcher & Author, David Sunfellow
“I want to be a common man. I don’t want to pretend to be a saint. My aspiration is to be authentic and I find that to be a real struggle. One of the things that I think is a huge problem with near-death experiencers, and I include myself in that category… is egotism. I’ve been turned off by some near-death experiencers because I found that their ego was getting in the way of their truth and their authenticity.”
“We are masters of self deception. If there is anything that human beings are good at, it’s self deception.”
“I learned the ego is alive and well upon returning from an NDE. It may have settled down its fervor for wanting what it wants, but for the most part, the ego is still there. When back in the physical plane with the ability to think and have free-will, ego-centred behaviour may return and old behaviour patterns become active once again. Impatience, lack of trust, judgement and all other ego-centered behaviours are just reminding us of perhaps the one big reason people return from an NDE; that is, because there is still much to learn. Those things not yet completed at the time of the NDE are still there. Along with all of the gifts and special talents, this may be the biggest lesson of all from the light. There are still things to be done. There are attachments to become detached from. There are still steps to be taken to learn what the physical world has yet to teach; otherwise, returning would not have been an option.”
— The Ego Is Alive And Well Upon Returning From An NDE by Teresa L. Decicco
“This chapter is about the shadow, what it is, how it got started, and how to take it back. But one thing is certain: the great wisdom traditions, for all their wisdom, have absolutely nothing like this. I know, I’ve spent thirty years checking with students and teachers, and the conclusion is unanimous: an understanding of the psychodynamic repression, as well as ways to cure it, is something contributed exclusively by modern Western psychology. Many meditation teachers claim that they offer something similar, but when you look closely at what they mean, it really isn’t this. Consequently, even advanced meditators and spiritual teachers are often haunted by psychopathology, as their shadows chase them to Enlightenment and back, leaving roadkill all along the way. The good news is that this is fairly easily remedied.”
— Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality, Chapter Six, The Shadow And The Disowned Self
Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers, Enlightened Gurus & Their Followers
Who Ignored Shadow Issues
And Suffered The Consequences
Western Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers & Enlightened Gurus
• Emissary of Light (James Twyman)
Western/Eastern Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers & Enlightened Gurus
Eastern Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers & Enlightened Gurus
• The Enigmatic “Bhagwan,” Osho Rajneesh
• Part 1 of 5: 25 Years After Rajneeshee Commune Collapsed, Truth Spills Out
• Part 2 of 5: Thwarted Rajneeshee Leaders Attack Enemies, Neighbors With Poison
• Part 3 of 5: Rajneeshee Leaders Take Revenge On The Dalles’ With Poison, Homeless
• Part 4 of 5: Rajneeshee Leaders See Enemies Everywhere As Questions Compound
• Part 4 of 5: Rajneeshees’ Utopian Dreams Collapse As Talks Turn To Murder
Shadow Work Resources
• Shadow Work: Insights From The Pathwork Lectures
• Robert Augustus Masters: Spiritual Bypassing
• Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature
• A Sobering Lesson: Real Mastership Versus Fake Mastership
• NHNE Pulse on The Dark Side of Human Nature
• Dream Basics (using dreams to uncover, heal and transform the dark sides of our natures)
• Wikipedia on The Shadow
• Carl Jung on The Shadow
True Learning Happens In The Body
“True learning happens in the body. This is a big deal to me personally because so much of my life was about wanting to escape the body and wanting that for other people. I also grew up hearing that when you die you get to take off that glove; you get to be free and so I thought that here [in this world] is the more negative, that there [on the other side of life] is the more positive. The understanding in this place — as hard as it is to see and understand — is that true learning happens within the body because when we are in experience, in this form, there is something that evolves within us at the level of the soul that makes the body an important part of the whole. It isn’t that one is good and one is bad. The two work together in an important way. That was very healing for me personally, to come to a better understanding.”
The Other Side Is Not All It Is Cracked Up To Be
“God gave everything to us, everything is here — this is where it’s at. And what we are into now is God’s exploration of God through us. People are so busy trying to become God that they ought to realize that we are already God and God is becoming us. That’s what it is really about. When I realized this, I was finished with The Void, and wanted to return to this creation…”
“The other side is not all it is cracked up to be. There’s a lot you can’t do on the other side. There’s a perfect combination though. A body without spirit is a wasteland and a spirit without a body is a wasteland. And we are the perfect matrix of body and spirit. With body and spirit, you can have it all.”
— Near-Death Experiencer Mellen-Thomas Benedict
Return To The Oneness With A Greater Light And A Greater Understanding
“The separation from God began a journey of love. The individuating consciousness seeks, through the experience of human reality, to know itself fully and completely so that it can return to the Oneness with a greater light and a greater understanding. This adds to the reality of the Oneness for all things are in a state of continual expansion and creation.”
— From the psychic readings of Emmanuel as recorded in “Emmanuel’s Book”, by Pat Rodegast
We Get Perfection When Man Becomes God, Or God Becomes Man
“Perfection does not belong to God as God, nor does it belong to man as man. We get perfection when man becomes God, or God becomes man. The finite being who is conscious of the finite is short of perfection; but when he becomes conscious of being one with the Infinite, he is perfect.”
— Meher Baba, from the book, “God To Man, Man To God”
God Became Conscious As An Individual
“Some have said that the uniqueness of Christ as Jesus was that a man became conscious of God, that an individual became conscious of God. But we would now give a greater significance: GOD BECAME CONSCIOUS AS AN INDIVIDUAL! This is why you are in the Earth — not to become conscious of God, for you were that before entering the Earth. Not that, as many religions and people believe, but that God would become conscious AS MAN, that God would become an individual. There is a difference. One is a transformation, an amelioration, the purpose for which he entered. The other is, well, merely returning the pancake to its batter.”
— From “Creation”, a psychic reading by Ray Stanford
There Are Two Basic Approaches To Human Spirituality
“There are two basic approaches to human spirituality. The first one is to emphasize, concentrate, and focus on the divine possibility within until this possibility becomes a reality. Many movements exist that have practices, teachings, and exercises that help actively and effectively toward this end. All energies and concentration are directed toward cultivating and enhancing, manifesting and expressing, the divine reality within. However, this does not necessarily mean that the other fragmentary levels of consciousness are thereby automatically eliminated and incorporated into the divine center. It is quite possible and, indeed, a frequent occurrence that such practices genuinely bring out the real, Higher Self yet leave the underdeveloped aspects of consciousness intact.”
“Many entities have such an intense longing to realize their divine, inherent nature that they forget, while in the body, that they came to fulfill a mission in the universal plan. This mission is the purification and growth of undeveloped cosmic matter. In order to do this, the second approach must be adopted. And that is to shed the light of conscious awareness and experience on the inner distortions, the ugliness, the darkness, the evil, the suffering, as well as on the inner truth, the beauty, the love, the goodness, the joy.”
“It is necessary to attempt, again and again, to get in touch with the Higher Self, the divine consciousness that is ever-present, immutable, and immediately available within you. When this is done for the purpose of making distorted levels of soul substance conscious and in order to reorient them, so as to unify all split-off soul substance, meditation must take a different road from the kind of meditation that is used for the sole purpose of realizing the Divine Self while disregarding the dark aspects of the self. It is a current illusion and wishful thinking that this latter approach automatically deals with the dark side of human nature. This cannot be so. You cannot overcome what you have not consciously and fully experienced. This wishful hope with which you are all familiar is nourished by the fact that it is indeed possible to realize the already potentially present part of the God self. It is very important, my friends, to understand this clearly. This is why it is often true that entities once they shed the body who have led a difficult and apparently unspiritual life, do more toward the universal process of evolution than some others who have led an extremely spiritual life, who may even have been so-called ‘masters,’ but who have cultivated their beauty and disregarded their ugliness. They have thus failed to unify and so have unwittingly perpetuated the dualistic state of consciousness in which this earth finds itself.”
— From The Pathwork Guide Lectures of Eva Pierrakos, Lecture 193
Shadow Issues Are Revealed In Our Relationships With Others
“Relationship represents the greatest challenge for the individual, for it is only in relationship to others that unresolved problems still existing within the individual psyche are affected and activated.”
— From The Pathwork Guide Lectures of Eva Pierrakos, Pg. 93, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation
We Are Not Here For Any Purpose Of Escape
“When such a substance as LSD is taken into the system, through chemical stimulation relating to the glands, one is taken back in the activities of the evolutionary forces, the evolutionary forces of the body and soul. You may say that ‘I, some, have experienced a glimpse of God, of Christ, in this way.’ Have you? … You have experienced somewhat of an awareness related to the Universal, to God. But, as in the beginning, it draws the focus of the mind back to the deep-set history of the soul and bodily evolution, to the SUBJECTIVE state of mind rather than to the OBJECTIVE state.”
“Such experiences with these drugs hinder man toward the Christ consciousness. For while it is true that they attune him to God, they attune him as to the relationship of man with God BEFORE he was a spiritual being, rather than toward that which he is to become.”
“We are not here for any purpose of escape. Through the nature of the spirit and soul, the forces have been built in man where it is here a bit, there a bit, stone upon stone; not a jump into the infinite — even with a few hours or days or weeks of preparation… No, it is not well at these times that man return to his unresolute beginnings. It would be more important and better that a man flounder for years, striving with his own personal problems to apply what he even consciously knows of the Christ ideal of love.”
— “The Drug Dilemma”, from the psychic readings of Ray Stanford
Mindfully Cleaning Up The Psychic Clutter Within & Without
“I remember a woman who came to me years ago complaining of low energy. She was a passionate individual who felt keenly the problems in the world, so she had a habit of taking on causes to “help the planet.” If someone asked her to volunteer for a particular project, she couldn’t say no. The problem was that her primary motivation wasn’t love or a sense of joyous service; it was guilt and a sense of duty. What she really wanted to do was spend time painting, but her various causes allowed her no time for that., and she felt anxious if she wasn’t “serving”. As a consequence, she was on the edge of burn-out and breakdown.
“I was able to help her see that she wasn’t really helping the causes she believed in because increasingly she was bringing to them a sense of depression and scattered energy. Consequently, her volunteer and her paid work were suffering. I suggested she needed to start saying no, cutting back on the amount of service she was trying to give, and taking time just for herself. She was desperate enough to be willing to try this, and the result over time was that she regained her usual joy and vitality, stopped trying to do everything to save the planet and picked where she was able make a real contribution and to do it effectively and with joy…
“Let’s say a person is on the street protesting Big Oil or the proposed construction of a new pipeline, or opposing fracking or off-shore drilling. The act of protest, if it can put political and economic pressure on corporations or the government that leads to change, might be an effective and important thing to do. But the person who is filled with anger at the government or at the leaders of a corporation, probably fearful of the consequences of what they are doing, possibly even feeling hatred for those involved, may be “off-gassing” powerful emotional energies into the subtle environment which become their own kind of pollution. Others who are less balanced in themselves or more emotionally vulnerable may pick up on this subtle pollution and, finding themselves now feeling anger or fear, though perhaps not knowing why, may be motivated to acts of violence. At the least, they add their negative emotions and thoughts as further psychic pollution. In effect, our collective human body is further infected.
“If, on the other hand, our activist had spent some time learning how to act from a calm center, had learned how to transmute his or her more violent and angry emotions, had learned how to be more whole and how to bring love and respect into their activism, then such a person could still be on the streets or in a courtroom or passing out fliers but not further polluting the subtle environment. In fact, he or she could be mindfully cleaning up the psychic clutter of that subtle room in the world’s house even while working on cleaning up the physical room.
“This is not an either/or matter. Given the dual nature of the world and of ourselves, “being spiritual” is also being practical. Spending time and energy to understand and master his or her own inner states gives a person a powerful edge in working with challenges in the world. The most effective activist these days is a person who has a vision of the whole earth and, drawing on his or her own wholeness, works to heal and transform that which needs healing and transforming in both rooms of the planetary house.”
— David Spangler: Honoring The Unseen Forces Of Life
The Pathwork of Self-Transformation
By Eva Pierrakos
The Pathwork Lectures of Eva Pierrakos provide an exceptionally insightful overview of personal growth and the spiritual path. Along with viewing and encouraging personal growth in a very well-rounded way, the Pathwork Lectures are unique in terms of how much, and how clearly, they deal with shadow issues. For a comprehensive overview of the history of these lectures, including their main teachings, go here. The Pathwork Foundation’s website is located here.
Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters
By Robert Augustus Masters
Spiritual bypassing — the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs — is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed. The spiritual ideals of any tradition, whether Christian commandments or Buddhist precepts, can provide easy justification for practitioners to duck uncomfortable feelings in favor of more seemingly enlightened activity. When split off from fundamental psychological needs, such actions often do much more harm than good.
While other authors have touched on the subject, this is the first book fully devoted to spiritual bypassing. Spiritual Bypassing provides an in-depth look at the unresolved or ignored psychological issues often masked as spirituality, including self-judgment, excessive niceness, and emotional dissociation. A longtime psychotherapist with an engaging writing style, Masters furthers the body of psychological insight into how we use (and abuse) religion in often unconscious ways. This book will hold particular appeal for those who grew up with an unstructured new-age spirituality now looking for a more mature spiritual practice, and for anyone seeking increased self-awareness and a more robust relationship with themselves and others.
Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature
By Connie Zweig (Editor) and Jeremiah Abrams (Editor)
Editors Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams deserve congratulations for constructing this remarkable collection of illuminating looks at the hitherto inscrutable human “shadow.” This substantial volume brings together extremely diverse perspectives on this eternally timely topic, citing brief but pithy passages from luminaries like Carl Jung, James Hillman, M.L. von Franz, John Sanford; Harville Hendrix, Marsha Sinetar, Larry Dossey, W.Brugh Joy; M.Scott Peck, Rollo May, Ernest Becker, Sam Keen, Robert Jay Lifton; Ken Wilber, Robert Bly, Joseph Campbell and John Bradshaw. There is much distilled wisdom in these pages, organized in a meaningful, coherent, even entertaining fashion — with intelligent commentary by the editors, who scatter lovely little nuggets from Rilke, Nietzsche, Rumi, Shakespeare, Lao-Tzu, Blake, Dante and others throughout. Some reviewers have called this highly readable book the “I Ching” of the shadow, and for good reason: readers, even those new to the notion of the “shadow,” can pick it up, open to practically any page, and discover something valuable and essential to understanding themselves and others more deeply and more compassionately. In short, this compendium is a terrific introduction to Jung’s archetypal concept of the Shadow.
Stripping the Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment
By Geoffrey Falk
“Stripping the Gurus is superb — one of the best books of its kind I have ever read. The research is meticulous, the writing engaging, and the overall thesis: devastatingly true. A stellar book.”
— Dr. David C. Lane, California State University
“Geoffrey Falk’s delightful but disturbing unmasking of religious prophets and preachers who command a vast following is a welcome contribution to the literature on the gurus and god-men of all religions.”
— Dr. Narasingha P. Sil, Western Oregon University