How often should you do shadow work? The answer: As often as possible.
But you need to understand that shadow work isn’t always going to be some enlightening act.
What is shadow work?
Shadow Work is getting your conscious and unconscious in agreement so that you can live a fuller and happier life. Shadow Work is giving your unconscious a chance to express itself in a healthy way, that you are in control of.
Since your unconscious has a stronger influence on your life than you ever consciously will—It’s best to engage in some sort of shadow work as much as you can. And by this I mean engage in your interests and your hobbies that you genuinely want to do.
For example, everyone has to work, everyone has to take care of their responsibilities, look after their family, things like this.
If that is all you do with 100% of your time, there’s a good chance that you aren’t allowing your shadow to express itself anywhere near as much as it should.
This is why you should spend your free time doing something that will actually validate your shadow’s wants and desires.
For example, sadistic desires are actually a very typical quality in the shadow.
When you hear the word ‘sadistic’, typically destruction comes to mind. But you don’t necessarily have to destroy anything.
The shadow just wants to affect something. It wants to prod someone’s emotions.
Finding a healthy way of validating this unconscious desire gives your shadow enough space to operate in your conscious life.
For example, playing team sports or playing video games is a common way for many people to express their competitiveness and the aggressiveness of their shadow.
For others, expressing the shadow can be in the form of writing or creating art, because it affects another person and stirs their emotions.
Other times validating your shadow means being affected by other people or things.
Like when you watch a boxing match, and the person you’re rooting for is winning and you’re yelling for him to ruthlessly take his opponent down. Or when you watch a movie or read a book, and you find yourself emotional or motivated. You’re being affected, which fulfills the masochistic desire of the shadow.
This is the easy kind of shadow work because it’s what you’re already consciously interested in and doing to release tension from your unconscious.
Something that you can also do to engage in shadow work is to pretend to be the opposite of who you think you are.
For example, if you are a workaholic who tends to work through the weekends, instead for an entire weekend do absolutely nothing. Just sit there, watch TV, and waste your time. not.
Or if you find yourself to be very social and dependent on people’s attention, then to validate your shadow what you can do is lock yourself away in your house. That you can be alone in solitude for a full day or two.
Essentially, do activities that you believe are the opposite of who you think you are.
If you don’t know the exact nature of your shadow, this is a pretty good catch-all. That you can be sure that you express your unconscious desires with some degree of intention.
If you want to learn the specific nature of your personal shadow, then check out the Shadow Work guide here.
Why do shadow work?
The reason why you do shadow work is that if you don’t allow your shadow side to express itself, it will unconsciously influence your entire life.
The longer you ignore this side of who you are, the more hostile it will become.
Over time, it will distort your psyche and your worldview.
This happens because you’re trying to live up to a role or persona of who you think you should be. And this is not self-love.
Someone who loves themselves will actually love their entire being, including the parts of themselves that they formerly reject.
But if you don’t perform any type of shadow work, then you’re not going to know the unconscious side of yourself. You’re going to have no awareness of it.
And that’s why Shadow Work is important. So that you can learn who you truly are and allow yourself to express that.
In return, your conscious and unconscious can work together to help build the life that you want.
Otherwise, you’ll eventually find that your life has gotten out of control. Because you don’t know who you truly are. And you’ve repressed the desires that you need to express
My experience with how often you should do shadow work
I typically express my unconscious desires by creating. I like to write, I like to program, and I like to help other people, sometimes to my own detriment.
But over time I’ve developed a real ongoing relationship with my unconscious shadow.
And by this, I mean that I engage in active imagination a lot, in an attempt to contact the shadow directly.
I typically do this once or twice a week. What I do is sit down somewhere quiet and ask the shadow a question, typically in the form of wanting guidance.
Because in case you didn’t know, your shadow does have a relationship with your higher self.
Doing active imagination is essentially consulting your inner voice to see what you truly desire.
By engaging in shadow work regularly you can bring your unconscious desire to the surface.
This way you can get a sense of what to do next with your life or for your creative endeavors.
But this is just my personal practice. I try to validate my shadow as directly as possible.
And I know that I’m kind of weird for doing it. But it’s because I see the importance of it.
I find that all the answers to all the questions I have are already within myself. And by doing advanced shadow work such as this. I’m better able to receive the answers that I’m looking for.
Ultimately, you should try to do some sort of shadow work as often as you can and do it however you feel comfortable.
Check out the Shadow Work Course here.