Only if you are clear about who you are can turn yourself into the person you want to be. The self, the part of consciousness that is more connected to the primary, immediate sensations, filled with social, ancestral conditionings, wants to protect you by creating a character shaped according to a model that is supposedly accepted and admired, and deluded about the sense of existence. The self propels the person to be the most beautiful, rich and important, thus feeding the urge for applause in the wake of the evanescent shine, from the show of terrestrial illusions of cheap pleasures, useless results and idle solutions. The consequences that will come, immediately or not, are suffering and hardships in personal relationships, in addition to self-regrets. The self, filled with good intentions, makes up virtues we do not possess, rights we do not have, and typically wrongs us about the movements the world makes, creating phony reasons for repulsion. Or forces us to escape reality, when this is unpleasant. In any case, it leads to inaction by preventing us from facing the situation with the necessary maturity to understand, transform, share and move on.
In face of the typical insecurity that comes from ignorance, the most common mechanism triggered by the self are the shadows, our innermost feelings that are fruit of selfishness. Jealousy, envy, greed, resentment are the best known ones, and present in the guts of everyone, no exceptions. They are intrinsic to human nature. However, what we do with them defines who we are.
The shadows prevent our best vision by projecting our life onto the life of somebody else, as if the other could determine and be accountable for our happiness. Transferring to third parties the cause of unavoidable frustrations does not help in the least. Understanding that you will find peace in nowhere other than within yourself or accepting that each decision made shapes our own destiny are signs of maturity, essential steps towards wholesomeness.
Buddha teaches that if anyone wants to know how tomorrow will be, just pay attention to what they do today. Christianity tells us to cross the narrow door of virtue. Shamanism reminds us that we are our own heirs.
Denying our shadows is not the best solution; on the contrary, it only allows them to keep moving, without control, until they fully dominate us. And whenever the shadows are in command, we reveal the worst of us. As a friend who is a poor advisor, by trying to protect you from the shadows, he or she only hampers your evolvement. It is wise to make them work to our benefit, until they fully transmute themselves into light. For instance, there are people that, out of jealousy, kill or abuse the loved one, with no respect whatsoever for their sacred right to choose. Newspapers are filled with such cases. However, there are those who, when they are jealous, get a guitar and write a beautiful song. With the same raw material, some people take the path of criminality and madness while others make the shadow an ally to make fine works of art. An enlightened way to turn what is dense into subtle; a nice exercise of spirituality and evolution.
Envy can be transmuted into work force and creativity; resentment can make you understand that the other, just like yourself, is on the road and, sometimes, cannot see the landscape that is clear to you in the lightened and perfumed garden of compassion. It is important to realize that some of our reactions are automatic, particularly those that give us a bitter taste, and change them. The realization that everything can be different and better makes the possibilities endless and expands the universe.
The shadows cast a veil that prevents us from seeing reality as clearly as we should. By unveiling the mist, we understand we are not competing against anyone and that, in fact, only we are accountable for our happiness. Understanding the feelings behind our actions is an important step on the road towards evolution. Revenge is not justice; jealousy is not love. The fiercest battles are fought where the shadows dwell, and that is inside ourselves.
Thus, little by little, we turn shadows into light, and are able to identify our emotions earlier and earlier, and point them towards the Sun Road. It requires the ability to tame them. And, without shame or fear of their existence, little by little we refine our choices, powerful tools to operate the infinite transformations of the being that seeks the completeness where peace dwells. Little by little the smooth light of wisdom and love dissipates the darkness of heavy emotions, closer and closer to their roots, placating their viciousness. It is about matching the desires of the self to the needs of the soul. While the self wants to shine, the soul longs for light. Only a keen perception of the feelings that move you, with the ensuing choices you make, allows you to get the ticket to the next stations. In essence, life is an infinite and fantastic journey towards the Light.