On the other hand, the opposite of integration is to “disintegrate” – or to become fragmented and divided into pieces. A person that “breaks down” or “falls apart,” for instance, is someone who has been unable to handle stress and who has ignored too many of their personality traits, especially Shadow Self traits to function normally. In reality, a fragmented person can never handle adversity because they have no whole center, and they’re always handling life from the corners of their personality parts. This is why integration is so essential: it helps us to become whole again.
The Right and Left-Handed Paths
In esoteric branches of Hinduism such as Tantra or Western Esoteric occult teachings, they have what is called Right and Left-handed paths towards experiencing Oneness, Enlightenment, or the Higher Self.
Throughout history, the left has always been associated with dark, radical or sinister elements. Even the etymology of the word “sinister” means “from the left side.” Also, in Muslim, Chinese, Judeo-Christian, and even Hindu religions, the left hand is associated with being the unclean side, which is most likely why some of these cultures use it to wipe their … behinds!
These days, the “right-handed path” is what most of us understand to be the pursuit for positive things such as overcoming personal flaws and limitations, purifying our sins, and anything else that helps us connect to our “higher selves.” The left-handed path, however, is associated with parts within us that are typically fought against, rejected, denied, feared, and thus it becomes our biggest inner hindrance, but at the same time, the key to our liberation.
The truth is that we have both hands, not just one, and we must learn to use them in a balanced way if we seek to live a balanced life.
The right-handed path seeks to improve the personal self, overcome its flaws, but the left-handed seeks investigation, seeks to face the shadows in its pursuit of self-care. Just as is represented in the ancient symbol of the Yin and Yang, when you balance both opposites, the dichotomy of right and left will disappear.
Personally, I like to think that first there was darkness. Unlike light, darkness is infinite. Under every rock, you will find darkness, but light and darkness need each other to come into existence. Unless you learn to first embrace that darkness within yourself, you can never pursue the light of self-love in a balanced way.
Many right-handed new age teachings talk about leaning towards the “higher chakras” and avoiding the lower ones. However, in the long term, this won’t be very helpful. Unless the foundation of your home is solid and stable, no matter how beautifully you decorate and work on the house itself, sooner or later your house will collapse and crumble down.
13 Types of Shadow Selves
All of us carry demons inside. Sometimes we catch fleeting glimpses of them, sometimes we witness them in full frontal chaos, but for the most part, we ignore and bury their existence either out of fear, guilt or pure shame. Discovering our demons is a vital part of inner work.
Our inner demons come in many different shapes and varieties. While some are more ferocious than others, others don’t really seem to be all that monstrous at all – until we reap the devilish consequences later on in our lives.
Below I have categorized and ‘cataloged’ 13 different Shadows you might meet on your path. Some overlap with each other and many are interconnected, meaning that it’s not uncommon to possess more than a number of different Shadows:
1. The Egotistical Monster
Root cause: primal fear of “not being good enough”; not existing, being nobody
This person displays the following characteristics: arrogance, egocentricity, pompousness, inconsiderateness, self-indulgence, narcissism, excessive pride.
2. The Neurotic Monster
Root cause: fear of life, others, and self; desire to regain control
This person displays the following characteristics: paranoia, obsessiveness, suspiciousness, finicky, demanding, masochistic, compulsive behavior.
3. The Untrustworthy Monster
Root cause: fear of life in general
This person displays the following characteristics: secretive, impulsive, frivolous, irresponsible, deceitful, unreliable.
4. The Emotionally Unstable Monster
Root cause: basic feeling of being “unlovable” and powerless; reaction to unresolved emotional pain