After the presidential election in the United States a couple of months ago, I spontaneously wondered whether Donald Trump was my Shadow . . . whether he exemplified characteristics or behaviors of my own that I did not acknowledge.
I watched a bunch of videos of the man, alert whether I got ‘triggered’ (that familiar feeling of being really super pissed off and irritated).
I didn’t get triggered. (Whew.) I mostly felt amused by the guy. I could not take him seriously.
[This reaction, however, did lead me to a realization that although I am not a racist, or a misogynist, or homophobic, there is a bit of ‘classism’ in me. I’m taking a look at that now. Maybe I'm a left-leaning person who could take some responsibility for not taking lower-middle-class pain seriously. Let’s be honest. The progressive left is very loudly compassionate toward people of color and the destitute, but somewhat dismissive of the non-educated white lower-middle class . . . but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.]
What I have come to understand now is that Donald Trump is Our Collective Shadow. He is a caricature of what is ugly about America. America the Powerloving, America the Überwealthy, America the Greedy, America the Narcissistic. Paradoxically, he was able to rise to the highest office in the land because of the not-powerful and not-wealthy, and their hopes for change (change that would be a good thing, actually). A trickster move if there ever was one!
Here’s the thing about shadow. When it comes up, it seems horrible to us. If I am unaware, I will not recognize the shadow as mine, and will continue to project it out onto the outside world, over and over, until I get that this horrible thing belongs to me. When I become conscious (and brave) enough to consider the horror could be my own stuff, it begins to morph, and I am initiated into a larger perspective of reality. I can begin to see a bigger truth about myself . . . that I am not exclusively a kind, just, compassionate person, but that there are truly sucky things about me. Once I SEE THEM HONESTLY, I can begin to accept them, allow them, work with them. In psychology this is called integration. To say it ain't easy is a massive understatement.
The mechanisms of shadow are the same for a group, a society, a nation.
We have a profoundly huge opportunity at this pivotal moment in history to make a quantum leap in culture by how we each personally react to Donald Trump, and his supporters. If we can truly see them as us (and I don't mean in some New Age, kumbaya way, but to take a dead honest inventory of ourselves) — even as we are disgusted by what’s going down — we can make a shift in collective consciousness . . . the likes of which have never been seen on this planet. We can become America the Compassionate, America the Wise, America the Whole.
It starts with each one of us. Look in the mirror. What do you see?
P.S. "Shadow" can be defined as anything you don't know about yourself. That includes the amazing, wonderful, powerful things. Maybe you are more Good, True, Beautiful, and Divine than you can even imagine!
That's the other part of the quantum leap . . .