Confronting the Shadow

Second in a series

Consciousness shift is one thing, but what do we do about systemic ills?

I asked Julia Bystrova of Transition US about the governmental corruption holding us back from systemic policy-level changes—the big changes we are going to need, if we have a prayer of surviving the linked crises facing us. She had an interesting answer.

She pointed out that a healthy consciousness shift is already manifesting on the local level—witness sensible policy changes in cities all over the country. In LA, for example, a group called Tree People convinced their city that urban forestry is key to watershed management.

Photo by Lida, via Flickr Commons.

Photo by Lida, via Flickr Commons.

More than 1000 mayors have endorsed the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, vowing to reduce carbon emissions in their cities below 1990 levels, in line with the Kyoto Protocol.

And my own city, right smack in the middle of the stolid Midwest, shows some movement. This year we are gaining both a bike share and an electric car share program.

But beyond the local level where we can see real change happening, the picture looks bleak. As Julia put it, much of our larger governmental machine was “hijacked by corporate pirates.” These titans are not interested in seeing communities flourish on a local scale—not when there are profits to be had.

Greed and control are their modus operandi. Their greed is so extreme that they are willingly sacrificing people’s lives. And they’re deliberately sacrificing the life of the planet.

“That’s what we’re up against,” Julia told me. “We’re up against this darkness. It’s very classic, very mythological…It’s like this classic tale (that) I believe we are living out.”

But spiritually awake people can shine a light on the collective shadow. That’s what these madmen, as Julia calls them, represent: our collective shadow. It’s up to us to gain the maturity to stand our ground, in love and compassion, in the presence of this darkness.

In psychological work, the shadow is the unacknowledged, hated part of ourselves that rules our behavior—unless we turn toward it with love.

It’s time to look at such perpetrators in the face, with full awareness, unafraid.

Rebirth, by Jason Samfield, via Flickr Commons.

Rebirth, by Jason Samfield, via Flickr Commons.

Julia believes that more and more of us are reaching this level of awakening. If we confront them from a high level of integrity, institutions entrenched in corrupt power will crumble.

Again, a powerful vision to hold.

Next: Evidence of the shift.

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