I share this piece from the Center for Action and Contemplation.
By Richard Rhor
Your Loyal Soldier tells you to be socially vigilant: How am I coming across? Will people like me? Will this be acceptable? Will this help me succeed? Your Loyal Soldier can serve you well by giving you some social niceties and protection. But after you’ve lived out of these niceties for years, they become your idealized self, your persona, your chosen public image, your False Self. To protect this image, all the contrary and negative aspects of yourself have to go underground, hidden from others and even from your own awareness. These forgotten and denied qualities make up what many call the “shadow” self.
Frankly, much of the movement from the first half of life to the second half of life is shadowboxing. Shadow work involves facing the negative part of yourself that you’re not proud of, like those hateful thoughts that you have once in a while that you hope nobody knows about. Or recognizing the log in your own eye when you’re confronted with the speck in someone else’s eye. This is humiliating, necessary work in every human life.
When you get your False Self (and the Loyal Soldier who is protecting this self) out of the way, the soul stands revealed. The soul, or True Self, cannot be created or worked for. It is, and it is already. The soul is God’s “I AM” continued in you, the part of you that already knows, desires, and truly seeks God. Ironically, the Loyal Soldier that you mistook for God actually defends you from God! I suspect this is exactly what the Dominican Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c. 1327) meant when he said, “I pray God to rid me of ‘God’