The Shadow-Side Qualities
Last post, I spent time defining the qualities of Divine Self Care. I mentioned that these symbols can be corrupted by the ego into shadow-side qualities and keep us trapped in our fearful, restrictive, egoic identity. We could say that each quality has a shadow, in other words, a very low frequency expression of itself. But it’s important to remember that inherent in the shadow is the light-filled, highest expression of each quality, especially helpful when we are facing these lower frequency expressions in ourselves and others. It is our ego that keeps us locked in these low frequencies, and recognizing we’ve fallen into them can help us start to change the frequency.
I’d like to spend some time in this post explaining those lower frequency aspects of each of the qualities of Capital S Self-care.
Compassion Can Become Pity
You might know of someone who seems to enjoy their suffering (it might even be you!). They love telling their story about how they were wronged or about how cruel life has been to them. They might even engage in a sort of competition of misery with others. Or they might twist compassion so tightly that they themselves become the totally unaware perpetrator by either reliving their painful past again and again or by focusing on righteous revenge.
Or perhaps you know someone (it might even be you!) who hears about the misery of another and uses that suffering to make themselves feel superior. This unfortunately happens a lot in spiritual circles. Those who fancy themselves enlightened manifestors who have mastered all negative states might blame the victim for “choosing” their situation. It’s quite ridiculous. But this can also simply be denying the light in another, keeping them down.
Trust Can Become Willful Ignorance
When we are too trusting or all of our trust is directed outwardly instead of inwardly, we might fall into a form of willful ignorance and an unwillingness to question authority or status quo. Such a low-frequency expression of trust has caused devastating harm throughout history.
Rather than trusting our own experiences from the space of the heart, we enter a state of either doubt or fear, or even both. Instead, we choose a false certainty in order to feel safe and comfortable and begin to deny all other possibilities and perspectives. It doesn’t take much of either for our eyes to slowly close which leads us to our next quality.
Faith Can Become Blind
Remember that faith is pure power. It doesn’t care what you believe in; it will empower that belief. So if we don’t question our beliefs, we may very well be putting our faith in things that simply do not and cannot ever serve us. Often we are taught or misunderstand that faith must exist without doubt, without question. But this can result in either a ‘savior complex’ by which we wait for someone else to come to our rescue, taking no responsibility for ourselves and our thoughts and actions in the meantime or it can become the faulty drive behind those thoughts and actions.
We have to understand the objects of our faith completely, not blindly. We have to bring those objects into the light so that they can be fully seen and selected consciously.
Surrender Can Become Helplessness
I’ve already written about the trouble with the word surrender. Now we can understand that it is a matter of the frequency of expression, for surrender can indeed mean giving up instead of giving back. When we don’t understand it is the ego that must be surrendered, it can turn into a sense of helplessness for that very ego, making it even stronger than before. You might hear thoughts of “I can’t…” or “I’ll never…” and while that may or may not be true, you will accept such thoughts without the question that would reveal your liberty from them.
Or in another expression, you might be filled with too much pride to let go. You might dig your heels in, cut of your nose to spite your face, or sabotage yourself. Resistance is the shadow aspect of surrender, and it is one of the major roots of suffering, along with ignorance. Ironically, the prideful resister to what is might feel strong and even noble in their resistance, but it is false strength and nobility. It is actually helplessness, for such a one will never realize the Self.
Patience Can Become Procrastination
We all know of something we ought to or must do that we keep putting off. This is a bastardization of patience. It is an unwillingness to take responsibility and step into our power. We tolerate things and waste precious energy rather than summon that same energy to change them and be free.
Procrastination leaves us wanting. We want what we don’t have and remain in a state of wanting rather than taking the steps necessary to either fullfil that desire or to cultivate the wisdom to realize that it won’t make us happy, thereby letting it go. Impatience is desire for what we want when we want it…now! Desire is also a major cause of our suffering along with ignorance and resistance.
Devotion Can Become Fanaticism
Just as devotion is the fuel behind the highest expressions of the qualities, fanaticism is the fuel behind their shadow expressions. This may look like the more familiar religious or ideological rigidity we see in the world, but more importantly and in a broader sense, it is the tiny box of pure ego expression. Instead of living from a recognition that we are all the one connected organism of life, we go about our lives as if we were separate. And instead of living in alignment with universal principles of wisdom and love, we fall into the hells of foolish ignorance, prideful resistance, and self-serving desire.