Spiritual Life Coaching: Shadow Work for Intolerance
Intolerance, racism, homophobia, and bigotry are extreme forms of disrespect for another human being. The shadow will judge another human being based on race, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, and status. In so doing, it desensitizes and diminishes a soul into an inanimate object. The shadow does this in order to cloak the heart into the false perception that the person with whom it is stereotyping is somehow less than a life form. This is the shadow’s biggest trick when it comes to shielding itself against the boundless compassion of the heart.
The shadow simply cannot allow the heart to see the authenticity of others and so the ego forms conclusions based on whatever it gleans from appearances alone. In this sense, it scans the data, analyzes it, and then interprets the information based only on what it collects from the surface. An example of this dynamic can be observed in a story in 2010 about a USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, whose comments were intentionally distorted in a video posted by the conservative journalist, Andrew Breitbart. As a result, Sherrod, an African-American, was fired abruptly for being a racist and then when the media took a closer look at her record they found precisely the opposite. It turned out that her entire life has been dedicated to civil rights and that she had a very long history of one humanitarian act after another. This is an example of the shadow’s hypocrisy that goes hand in hand with its rush to judgment.
The egoic-minded individual will typically not delve beneath the surface of things. Remember Narcissus? The very embodiment of the ego gleans just enough from surfaces alone to reinforce its own emotion-based opinion. It’s purpose is to stir up conflict, opposition, and drama. The ego is simply not interested in the truth of any matter because that truth may nullify the drama it seeks. When drama dissolves, the ego dissolves, because there is no more energy for it to feed on. Judgment is the way the ego compensates for what it feels it lacks on an unconscious (shadow) level. In every way that the ego projects itself via the shadow, the face of hypocrisy will be hiding behind the veil.
Another example of intolerance can be observed in the continuous conflict over the construction of an Islamic mosque near Ground Zero. The debate has been extremely polarized and exemplifies the intolerance that runs rampant in the U.S. toward the Muslim community. The ego always fears what it doesn’t understand, and most Christian Americans do not understand Islam. All they know is that it was Muslims who hijacked the planes on 9/11, and that’s pretty much where their knowledge of Islam ends.
Interestingly, the New York Times had a front page headline reporting the construction of the mosque in December, 2009, that met with no resistance. It wasn’t until May, 2010, when it was made a political issue by the Republican party that many of its members such as Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and others began using it as a political weapon against the Democratic Party.
On September 8, 2010, the leader of the Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdual Rauf was interviewed on CNN’s Soledad Obrien on Larry King Live. He had this to say: “The radicals actually feed off each other and in some kind of existential way, need each other, and the more that the radicals are able to control the discourse on one side, it strengthens the radicals on others side and vice versa.” I couldn’t describe the energy of the pain-body any more perfectly. What the Imam is talking about here is emotional body energy and how it plays itself out. This “feeding frenzy” that he mentions is the fear-based reaction that is occurring right now in America from the extreme right. And indeed they do “need each other” because to ignite the violence of the pain-body, an “enemy” is always necessary.
Because the moderates on all sides are more reasonable, rational, and generally more lucid than the radicals, the obligation to rise above the lunatic fringe falls on the moderates on all sides. Practicing diplomacy, non-resistance, and non-violence is the only way to defuse the pain-body bomb that is extremist terrorism.
The sad irony about the Ground Zero mosque controversy is that Imam Rauf is a member of the Sufi branch of the Muslim faith. The Sufism version of Islam is extremely liberal compared to the jihadists and conservative Muslims. It is a pluralistic incarnation of Islam, accessible to the learned and the ignorant, the faithful and non-believers, and is a progressive version of Islam that allows much more freedom to women. Because the protestors have failed to educate themselves about this, their anger is being dangerously misdirected. It is clear to me that we should be encouraging Imam Rauf and his Sufi followers instead of alienating them. This is the higher way to address terrorism. Enough troops and innocent civilians have been killed. The time has come for higher solutions.
Personal Life Coach, Jason Lincoln Jeffers is the founder of The Art of Transformation, a company devoted to teaching Self Realization to the masses. His Personal Life Coaching program uniquely synthesizes spiritual wisdom with self transcendence, holistic wellness coaching, predictive astro-analysis, pain-body counseling, heart-based manifestation, and relationship coaching.