Ken Wilbur, Bill Harris, Carl Jung, and TOOL on Present Moment Awareness and the Shadow

Today I heard a good interview with modern day philosopher, psychologist, and metaphysical practitioner – Ken Wilbur. In the interview there was an interesting section about shadow elements and how they relate to a transcendent realm of consciousness often referred to as ‘present moment awareness’ or ‘god consciousness.’

I was first introduced to the concept of “The Shadow” from the modern progressive rock band, TOOL. It is a concept that Carl Jung coined and is defined as such:

In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts.

Speaking about this “god consciousness” Ken said,

It’s really true that you are free of the past and free of the future and open to this pure present and the pure present seems to have no boundaries and is wide open and is free of most anxiety and free of most depression and clearly that’s a place where one would like to live and certainly the mystics agree. But as you start doing that as a practice, you will notice that okay, “I’m aware of the now moment, I’m aware of the now moment, I’m aware of the now moment” and then at some point, you’ll realize you are not.

Going on, he began to describe the shadow and how it correlates to the flux of ‘god consciousness’. Stating that the shadow is one aspect of our psychology that is responsible for moving us away from such a place.

At some point you have lost track. At some point you got caught in thoughts of yesterday or thoughts of tomorrow or some distraction. So what causes that is an important aspect to look at when we are doing any type of integral practice, any type of integral spiritual practice, is to try to understand what factors cause me to fall out of this now moment. And there are at least two that are really important and one is the shadow, and the shadow is any unconscious or dissociated material from one’s self that you have pushed out of awareness, tried to deny, tried to project or dissociate and it could be feelings of anger, could be feelings of jealousy, could be feelings of sexuality, it could be power drives. At some point in the past, these became uncomfortable feelings and so, you know, in a typical sort of Freudian way, we push these out of awareness and we tend to project them onto other people.

The interview, conducted by Bill Harris of Centerpointe Research Institute summarized by stating:

So, one of the things that really keeps people out of the now is this unresolved shadow stuff and one way to describe this for people to make it even more clear, I think, would be to say, if you’re always bugged by a certain kind of people or a certain kind of situation, there is probably a shadow aspect of yourself involved.

This was a great interview and it has allowed me to see certain aspects of my present experience in a new light. There are aspects of my shadow which I am now aware must be addressed before I am able to move even further into deeper present moments of awareness. A lot of these shadow elements are address by looking honestly at my fears and the causes of my fears.

The TOOL song I made reference to in the beginning of this entry is called “46 & 2.” There are 23 chromosomes in the human body which, come in pairs… giving us the number 46 represented in the songs title. Adding a complete chromosome would give us the next stage in human development. The title itself is an obscured metaphor for the evolution of humanity, I believe on a personal level.

The song goes on introduce the shadow and the drama of toiling with it. Here are the lyrics:

My shadow’s

Shedding skin and

I’ve been picking

Scabs again.

I’m down

Digging through

My old muscles

Looking for a clue.

I’ve been crawling on my belly

Clearing out what could’ve been.

I’ve been wallowing in my own confused

And insecure delusions

For a piece to cross me over

Or a word to guide me in.

I want to feel the changes coming down.

I want to know what I’ve been hiding in

My shadow.

Change is coming through my shadow.

My shadow’s shedding skin

I’ve been picking

My scabs again.

I’ve been crawling on my belly

Clearing out what could’ve been.

I’ve been wallowing in my own chaotic

And insecure delusions.

I want to feel the change consume me,

Feel the outside turning in.

I want to feel the metamorphosis and

Cleansing I’ve endured within

My shadow

Change is coming.

Now is my time.

Listen to my muscle memory.

Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to.

Forty-six and two ahead of me.

I choose to live and to

Grow, take and give and to

Move, learn and love and to

Cry, kill and die and to

Be paranoid and to

Lie, hate and fear and to

Do what it takes to move through.

I choose to live and to

Lie, kill and give and to

Die, learn and love and to

Do what it takes to step through.

See my shadow changing,

Stretching up and over me.

Soften this old armor.

Hoping I can clear the way

By stepping through my shadow,

Coming out the other side.

Step into the shadow.

Forty six and two are just ahead of me.

I believe both this song and this interview are invitations and encouragements to work through layers of fear – layers of identity toward a false sense of self – these “shadow elements.” By doing so we are promised a new stage in our evolution. The atonement of our “god consciousness” or “present moment awareness”.

There are multiple movements going on spanning across the globe which are leading people to paths which allow one to walk along this journey through the shadow and into the present moment. The times are changing my friends. Forty six and two… just ahead.

You can click here if your would like to hear the entire interview commented on above.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *