Balancing the Opposites: A Book Study of Map of the Soul - Shadow: Our Hidden Self Part 1
Hello ARMY! How is everyone doing? We know times are hard, things are stressful, and life is much different than it was a few weeks ago. At ARMY Magazine, we are striving to keep you updated on all things BTS, just as we always have. As you know, however, we have had some changes here, as well. With our publishing schedule different than it was last summer, we were not able to provide a feature article on Dr. Murray Stein’s new book, Map of the Soul - Shadow: Our Hidden Self. Instead, we are writing a blog (or two) about it. Join me as I take an in-depth look at this short, but wonderfully written book. Oh, and if you have not read our article on his first book, MOTS - Persona: Our Many Faces, you can find it here.
What is Shadow?
As Dr. Stein explains it, “shadow is a term that refers to our hidden motives and attitudes.” It’s more than just a term, though; shadow is substantial and quite active in every life. It has an energy and goal of its own, which is often guided by our unconscious. The emotions and traits that we don’t usually want others to see - shame, envy, gluttony, hostility - are part of shadow. Can they lead to good things? Yes, but not without a lot of hard work and awareness of our personal shadow.
As we learned in Dr. Stein’s first book, Jungian psychology is based on achieving wholeness, or what Jung called individuation. “Becoming aware of your personal shadow... is the path to deeper areas of the psyche and thus essential for wholeness,” Stein says. If we do not integrate our shadow side, something essential will be lacking and we will not be able to fully assume responsibility for our own actions. After all, as Jung once wrote, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” If we are able to do that, he states it will “open the way to the next level of psychological development.” That next step has to do with making contact with anima and animus, which are the links to the center of the self.
Stein’s Reflections on Interlude: Shadow
Dr. Stein’s reflection on Interlude: Shadow was written just after the trailer was released, before the full-length version of the song came out. “The video images communicate intense emotion,” he says, “which matches the feeling tone of a confrontation with the shadow.” Since our shadow is so closely related to, and often fueled by, our emotions, there are intense rushings of passion, fear, and anxiety any time we touch shadow material in ourselves.
As discussed above, the shadow is “a carefully concealed part of the psyche,” which happens to hang on to the ego and show up once in a while. The ego is the “I” in each of us; it consists of the thoughts, memories, and emotions that we are each aware of. Ego usually sits back and observes. Sometimes, though, it can be taken over by powerful emotions, especially those we consider to be negative: pride, greed, or lust for power. When this happens, it is the shadow leaving persona behind, and focusing on desire. This is what SUGA is singing about.
I wanna be a rap star,
I wanna be the top.
I wanna be a rockstar,
I want it all mine.
I wanna be rich,
I wanna be the king.
I wanna go win.
I wanna be....
Dr. Stein points out that seeing shadow in other people, or even groups of people, is often easy. “But in psychological reality, the shadow is part of all of us,” he says, which is one of the main realizations of the song. Interlude: Shadow “is a recognition that the shadow is an inherent part of ourselves, even though we struggle to disown it.” As the trailer progresses, SUGA becomes aware of the desires and motives of his shadow, and the two of them have a dialogue.
I’m you, you’re me,
Now do you know?
We are one body
Sometimes we will clash.
You can never break me off,
This you must know
This inner dialogue is a way of becoming more familiar with our unconscious selves. “By imagining [the shadow] and entering into a conversational relationship with them,” Stein says, “a person allows them not only to become more familiar but also drains some of the energy out of them.” This is important, as it allows ego and shadow to begin balancing each other out. No longer complete opposites, they become a set of polarities with a dynamic relationship that allows them to work together. “They can work against each other, they can work with each other, but they don’t split apart into opposites.”
Finding balance is an extremely critical part of individuation. Once that occurs, one will have balance between persona/shadow and anima/animus. “When the opposites aren’t pushed apart so far, they become complements, and they supplement each other,” Stein says. “One doesn’t have to be so ashamed of the shadow part of oneself... the shadow is part of the whole and recognized as such.”
Heal Yourself, Heal the World
The work one does to accept their shadow can help cultivate “great conscious awareness of the unacceptable, disowned aspects of the self,” explains Stein’s colleague Leonard Cruz. When we come to terms with our shadow self, it cultivates more charity towards others and allows us to not feel so guilty of our shadow enactments. We can show humility, humor, and self-control. “All these fruits of shadow work have the potential to heal the individual,” he instructs. When we heal ourselves, we can help to heal the world.
Until Next Time
Our shadow is as much a part of us as any other. It is active, dynamic and should not be ignored. In part two of this series, we will analyze more of Dr. Murray Stein’s thoughts on shadow and our psyche in general, including his hopes for BTS and ARMY. See you then!
Written by: Marcie
Edited by: Dae
Designed by: Kaitlyn
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