Why Feeling Awful Is OK, And What Does It Mean For Your Spiritual Growth

Recently, I’ve read over Geena’s status on Facebook, and it inspired me to write another article discussing some important stuff. People who start their spiritual development think that they will instantly become calm and at peace, and happy and such. But this is not always the case, and often, spiritual growth can lead you to some dark places of your inner self. But this is what spiritual growth is (partially) about – facing the darkness within you. But there is one other problem everyone must realize – you need to acknowledge that being spiritual doesn’t mean you will feel great 24/7/365.


If for some reasons you can’t access the link with the status, here it is:

I have been ungrounded all week and now I have a cold! That cant be a coincidence, need to work on grounding and centering. Back to the basics for me!

Now, I don’t say that Geena is wrong, just that she inspired me for this article :). As far as I know her, she knows what she talks about. But, she pointed me to a different problem, with which a lot of people meet. The problem of thinking that once you’re spiritually developed, you can’t feel bad, and when you do, then there’s something wrong going on.

The Thinking Process

People often think like this:

  • I feel weak, something is draining my life energy.
  • I feel angry, some negative pattern is re-emerging.
  • I catch a cold, I must be out of balance, I need to meditate more.

And sometimes, when people think this way, they are correct. But not always. Sometimes, people ask me, as Reiki practitioner, do I ever get ill. And my answer is, of course! I’m human, after all. As long as you’re human, you’re a subject to so many factors that you can still catch a cold, feel week, or angry. It’s normal.

You may become weak, because you have slept for less than 6 hours. You may like it or not, but you’re still human, and you need to sleep. You may come in contact with someone ill, and it will cause you become ill. And as long as you’re not an old Buddhist monk or Jesus Christ, you can become angry from time to time.

The Yin And Yang Of Spiritual Growth

Life is a constant interaction between Yin and Yang, black and white, light and darkness, good and evil.

Often, we face evil; we face tragedy; we face problems. And no matter if we want it or not, the control is just an illusion. You cannot control the world around you – because of this, you may encounter the dark side of life. But, you can control yourself. And then, you will face the darkness, you will be able to face it as spiritually developed person, not an ordinary John Doe.

You cannot become blind to the negative aspects of life – you cannot ignore death or tragedies or such things as London riots few months ago. But at the same time, you shouldn’t focus upon them. Ackowledge the fact that they are part of reality, and focus on the positive stuff, just as the Law of Attraction tells you to do so.

You cannot embrace love towards everything, as this may result in loving murderers, pedophiles, terrorists etc. You can acknowledge the fact that such people exist, but you don’t have to focus upon them. Focus on the good stuff, focus on your friends, family, inspiring people. Then, you will attract more positive things. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t experience the bad stuff. Because often, you will be facing the darkness within you.

Bad things happen all the time. Acknowledge this, accept this and move on. But know, that sometimes, you just need to embrace your Shadow Self. Some things happen to you because you have bad Karma, and some things happen to you because it’s the way things work.

  • You may get exposed to viruses and bacteria that will cause illness – it’s normal, it’s how things look like in the real world.
  • Sometimes, you’re tired, because you forgot to sleep – in such case, you feel week and angry because of sleep deprivation, not because of your Karma.

What I want you to understand is that not every worse thing is “meant to be” because of Karma, negative patterns and habits. Sometimes, we just need to let things be. And understanding this is one side of the coin. The other side is your Shadow Self.

Your Shadow Self

When we talk about spiritual growth, we can talk about healing our karma issues, or healing our negative patterns, habits and bad memories or experiences – I’ve mentioned this some time ago when I discussed core images. When we experience the negative stuff that we can’t accept, we push it into our subconscious mind. These negative patterns build our Shadow Self, the darkness within us. And even when we’re not aware of it consciously, this Shadow Self control our actions. We need to heal the building blocks of this Shadow Self, block after block. This is what affirmations are about; this is what core images work is about; and these are few types of practices that can heal the Shadow Self, there are many more of such techniques.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich. – Tao Te Ching

Part of healing a building block of your Shadow Self is to acknowledge and embrace the block. When you push it further into your Shadow Self, it becomes stronger and more aggressive. The tension builds, and it seeks ways to release. You can imagine it as a volcano. Magma builds up underground in the magma chamber, and it seeks a way out. Through a tiny conduit, it finds a way out, and it erupts because of the pressure inside the chamber. Yet, imagine that you look not at the volcano, but at an open lake of lava. Lave is still there, but the pressure doesn’t have much to say now. It cannot erupt.

The same applies to negative patterns, core images, the building blocks of your Shadow Self. Keep them in hiding, and the pressure will rise, until things erupt. But release the tension, acknowledge the negative part of yourself and embrace it, and the pressure will drop, and the building element of your Shadow Self won’t be in control anymore. It will remain there, but it won’t influence your conscious life anymore.

How To Embrace The Shadow Self

How to embrace your Shadow Self? There are many techniques, core images work is one of such techniques. Check out the tutorial for core images work. Beside that, you can:

  • Practice Zazen meditation, and learn to let go thoughts that pop up in your mind. Observing your thoughts, and letting go of things, worries and concerns, is a way to let the pressure out, and it’s a way of embracing your Shadow Self.
  • There are many techniques of visualization. When you know your blockage, your negative pattern, perform visualization work. Visualize things that represent your negative emotions and experiences, summon the emotions, and accept things – anger, hate and so on – things that are part of you. Let them be, and let them go. Instead of pushing them into your subconscious mind, acknowledge them, try to analyze them and understand them. When you will acknowledge that they’re part of your human nature, they won’t have to “rise the pressure”, they won’t influence your life anymore.
  • Explore techniques such as rebirthing, regressing or just forgiveness – to you, and to others.

These are only few examples, and they’re quite general (core images tutorial is a detailed example, though), but almost every school of psychic and spiritual development teaches at least one of such mind work techniques. All you have to do is to Google it, and start your work :).

Will You Ever Feel Good?

So, let’s say that you’ve worked out a lot of Shadow Self blocks. Will you feel entirely good at some point? Well, I hope so :). But it’s really hard to say what was hidden in Buddha’s mind when he achieved Nirvana. What I want to say is a reminder of the previous paragraphs – at the path of spiritual growth, you will feel bad; you will get ill; you will have worse days. And all of this is normal. The point is not to get too busy with thinking about the bad stuff. The point is to understand that everyone, everyone has the right to have a bad day or get ill.

By understanding this, and understanding that there is a Shadow Self that influences your life in a negative way, you achieve two things:

  1. You learn to identify your Shadow Self elements, and work them out.
  2. And you learn that you shouldn’t punish yourself, or feel bad about yourself, when you just feel bad, even if you’re growing on the spiritual plane.

With time and practice, after many years, you will notice that you feel much better, and the bad days are very, very rare. But until this happen, accept one thing – you’re human. And feel good about it!

If you like this article, spread the word, please click Facebook “like” and Google+ buttons, retweet the post on Twitter, and of course share it with your friends – thank you! You can find all the buttons below :).

Do you work with your Shadow Self? What techniques can you recommend to readers of ASoM?

PS: Everyone is allowed to have a worse day, or a week, or month. But when I’m weak, you know where I seek strength? I seek strength in all these people around me, who take few seconds to send their positive thoughts and hugs. Thank you all!

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