Shadow and Refuge

Shadow and Refuge

Sharp, dark grey shadow of a person walking along an asphalt road with a bit of grass to the left and soft tree shadows to the right, with what looks like a bald head and a walking stick in a long coat.

Shadow and refuge: Our shadow is a reliable guide to our place of refuge where it can help us heal. Image: fedegrafo on Morguefile.

Shadow and Refuge

Our shadow is a guide to the realm of refuge.

Our shadow is a guide to the realm where we can take refuge from difficulty.

I noticed this in meditation this morning. Here is my first story:

I owe a beloved vendor money. He sends the bill and notes that there is an outstanding one unpaid from months ago. I have just begun teaching the Mastering Your Money Flow course and am quite certain his accounting is wrong. After all, I am financially fierce, and RAISING CLARITY about money flow in others’ lives because I have so much of my own!

I check and check every detail from months ago. I definitely keep good records. I see in my handwritten accounts that I paid this bill. But I see no evidence from my bank that I did.

I’m wrong. He’s right.

What happened? (Besides my paying both bills, which I did, promptly, grateful for having set aside enough that I was able to!)

What Happened

My financially un-fierce shadow is what happened.

I was attached to my identity as financially fierce. I could not imagine I had not paid this bill. But when I saw that I had not paid it, I knew my shadow was present. And my shadow is all that I don’t want to see about myself–in this instance, about ways I behave with money that I don’t want or like.

I have to love this shadow. It knows full well what I really want with money and if I chose to take its medicine, what felt like poison would heal me. The quicker I took it, the quicker it would heal me. This is what I saw in meditation this morning. (That, and this blog post.)

Another Story

My child has not spoken to me in five and a half years. I believe they have good reason. I am in the wrong.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” (Attributed to Rumi)

If I apply the principle of shadow as guide–without needing my child to behave differently in any way–I welcome the feelings that hurt so much. I embrace them, layer by acid layer, and allow them to dissolve the barriers I have built against love within myself.

This is what I have been doing. It is taking a lot longer than paying my bills and meditating on my money shadow.

I welcome self-knowing. I welcome self-seeing. Just like I did with the bill I owed. I have less arrogance as a mother; I do not feel I have been a particularly fierce mother except in the negative sense. But I am still alive. Healing is still possible. Relationships are eternal. There is a deeper, wider, fully dimensional web of connection holding us both, my child and me. It is always there for us, but we have to cry out for it.

This shadow too guides me to the realm of refuge.

What is Refuge?

The term “refuge” comes from Buddhism.

It does not mean an easy out. Seeking and taking refuge is not a cop-out.

It is sort of a cop-in. It means opting in to the shadow’s teaching, the self-knowing and self-seeing that make healing and wholeness possible. Including in the way I hope I have described adequately to become a web of connection holding you as well as myself.


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