Shining Light on our Shadow

Some of you will see this subject and say “ick” but there are tremendous benefits to doing shadow work. Have you ever sabotaged your own success or a relationship? Do other people push your buttons? Have you ever reacted in a way you immediately regretted? Do you want to end behavior patterns that get you into trouble time and time again?

There is a teacher who has dedicated half of his life to teaching this work. On top of that, he makes it fun! Some of the many benefits of doing this work are the discovery of our true self, inner peace, and self-acceptance at our core. We get a clearer perspective of who we really are and we gain more compassion for ourselves and others.pexels-photo-300035 (1)

Zen Master Dennis Gempo Merzel, often referred to as Gempo Roshi, facilitates the Big Mind process. He holds workshops where he teaches the Big Mind process by interacting with groups of people. He also teaches other facilitators to perform the process.

Since I have not received training in the process, I will explain it using notes I took from watching one of his DVD’s. The idea is that we each have different sub-personalities. Each has a distinct voice and something to say. The facilitator asks to speak to a specific voice. The audience members take turns speaking from this voice referring to the self in the third person. It is important for the audience members to speak directly from these voices.

These materials are copyrighted by Dennis Genpo Merzel and may only be used with his permission.

The process:

Facilitator: The first voice I’d like to speak to is the Controller. Please adjust your seating position to show you are speaking from the voice of the controller, rather than the self.

Audience members shift their seating positions and put themselves in the voice of the controller.

Facilitator: As the controller, what is your function?

Audience member: To control everything; people, events and the self.

Facilitator: What else do you control?

Another audience member: The other voices.

Facilitator: Good. As the controller, will you give me permission to talk to the other voices?

Audience: Yes.

 

Facilitator: The next voice I would like to speak to is the Skeptic.

The audience shifts their seating positions to show they are changing to a new voice.

Facilitator: As the skeptic, what are you skeptical about?

One audience member: Everything. This process.

Another audience member: I am skeptical about all the workshops Doris goes to.

Facilitator: Very good. Tell me, where would the self be today without you?

One audience member: She would be in a lot of trouble. Maybe in jail, or dead!

Facilitator: So you keep the self from going to far. You keep her from danger?

Audience members: Yes.

Facilitator: So, as the skeptic, are you appreciated by the self?

One audience member: No, I get a bad rap. She doesn’t appreciate all I do to keep her safe.

The process gives you a glimpse into your true nature. 

 

Facilitator: Okay, now I would like to speak to another voice. I would like to speak to the Vulnerable Child.

Audience shifts their seating positions.            pexels-photo-38471

Facilitator: Who am I speaking to?

Audience: The Vulnerable Child.

Facilitator: What is it like as the Vulnerable Child?

One audience member: I feel genuine trust and innocence.

Another audience member: Fearful, yet pure and vulnerable.

Facilitator: Good. Would you say that you are the heart of the self?

Some audience members: Yes.

Facilitator: What is it that you offer the self?

One audience member: Wonder, playfulness.

 

Facilitator: Now I would like to speak to another voice. I’d like to speak to the Protector.

Audience shifts seating positions. Many cross their arms.

Facilitator: Who am I speaking to?

Audience: The Protector.

Facilitator: What is your role? What are you protecting?

One audience member: I protect the self.

Another audience member: I protect the Vulnerable Child.

Facilitator: Good. Tell me more about who you are and what you do.

One audience member: I create a wall to keep danger out.

Facilitator: Are you, the Protector, appreciated by the self?

Most audience members: No.

 

Facilitator: The next voice I would like to speak to is the voice of the Damaged Self.

Audience shifts seating positions.

Facilitator: As the Damaged Self, what is your function?

One audience member: I contain all the damage in life. I am a receptacle for all the damage.

Another audience member: I take on all the junk and abuse so the other voices and the self are not affected.

Another audience member adds: So the other voices and the self stay pure and unaffected.

Another audience member: As the damaged self, I have an unlimited capacity for damage.

Another audience member: I can relate to other damaged selves.

Facilitator: Okay, anything else?

Audience member: I am ignored.

Another audience member: I hold the pain.

Another audience member: I am life.

 

Facilitator: Good. Now let’s move on to another voice. I would like to speak to the Fixer.

Audience shifts seating positions once again.

Facilitator: As the Fixer, what is your function? Tell me about who you are . Are you well liked by the self?

Audience member: Yes. The self likes me. I fix the problems.

Another audience member: The self likes me but not other people. They see me as annoying.

Another audience member: I intervene whether it’s necessary or not.

Another audience member: I am obsessive about fixing.

Facilitator: So your basic belief is that there is always something wrong.

Audience agrees.

 

Facilitator: The next voice I would like to speak to is Desire.

Audience shifts.

Facilitator: Who are you? Tell me about you.

Audience member: I’m hungry, greedy.

Another audience member: I seek pleasure. I’m never satisfied.

Another audience member: Insatiable, I always want more.

Another audience member: It’s all in the getting. Bigger, better, more, different.

Facilitator: Where would the self or human kind be if it weren’t for you?

Audience member: They would never desire anything new. Nothing would change.

 

Facilitator: Can I speak to the voice of the Seeker?

Audience shifts.

Facilitator: Who are you? What do you do? How are you different from the voice of desire?

Audience member: Desire is more basic.

Facilitator: As the Seeker, you seek more noble ideas like truth, knowledge and higher things. When do you stop seeking?

Audience members: Never.

 

Facilitator: Now the last voice I would like to speak to is the Mind that Seeks the Way.

Audience shifts.

Facilitator: Who are you?

Audience member: I am the one who gives meaning to life.

Another audience member: As the Mind that Seeks the Way, I am never satisfied. I allow the self to move further.

Facilitator: You allow the self to get unstuck. The Mind that Seeks the Way is the awakened/enlightened mind.

Audience member: I am simple yet profound and accessible.

The facilitator takes the audience from low to high, ending on a good feeling, positive note. In other DVD’s, the facilitator asks to speak to different voices. There are thousands of voices in each of us. His DVD’s are all extremely educational and entertaining. 

For more information about Genpo Roshi, his books, DVD’s and workshops, please visit bigmind.org.

 

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2 Comments on “Shining Light on our Shadow

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