By Jena Griffiths | March 24, 2015
I remember the day my son discovered his shadow. He was a toddler at the time, not quite two. We were sailing around the world and had stopped in at Galle on the south coast of Sri Lanka to pick up friends for the passage to Maldives.
One afternoon we explored the ruins of the old fort that guarded the port. It was a scorching hot day. The light was intense even though it must have been fairly late in the afternoon. Our shadows were tall. They had a black liquid life of their own as they danced and skipped over the baked ground and bleached walls. No shade at all except for brief splashes under arches or door frames.
At one point a tiny shadow child in a huge hat danced on the wall in front of us. He was connected to two taller shadows, holding hands on both sides. One of us must have let go to open a gate or pass through a narrow entrance. Fingers touching, fingers no longer touching. Jules felt it and saw it reflected back to him. In those days he noticed everything. He saw that the shadow child was doing exactly what he was doing. And then he also noticed that he and the shadow child were connected at their feet. He tried to jump away but his new friend jumped with him. He leapt again, but his shadow hung on to his tiny shoes. Then he ran, hid, hopped, tried speed, then surprise. It could shapeshift over walls or melt into corners but it was a faithful friend, always doing exactly what he did. Jules forgot the need to be near his parents and spent the rest of the day running, jumping, playing hide and seek with his new friend trying with all his might to figure out how to outsmart him and be free.
“It’s done and dusted,” a psychologist friend told me. “I’ve totally nailed my life lesson. And all thanks to you.” Luckily we were on the phone so she couldn’t see me grinning broadly.
I think our life lesson is much like our shadow. And when the sun is high in the sky and our shadow hides from our sight directly under our feet we think we have it “done and dusted”.
Your “life lesson” is not something to be got rid of. It is something that informs you. A projection on the wall of Plato’s cave?
Or is our life lesson not our shadow at all but the fire in Plato’s cave that creates the shadows on the wall that hold us captive?
Perhaps my friend had gone beyond the fire and out of the cave and into the sunlight and was now returning to tell me that everything is all an illusion?
Or had she gone even further, discovering that she is the sun and there was nothing to do here but shine?
How you shine
Here’s an exercise to put this idea into practice.
Imagine there is a light source inside your chest. You can turn the dimmer switch up or down.
Whenever you feel you lack something imagine that all you do is turn up the dimmer switch so that you radiate whatever it is you feel you lack.
The same applies to your purpose and lesson. If you already know your purpose, imagine turning up the dimmer switch and simply radiating that quality. Similarly, if you know what your life lesson is, simply find its opposite pole (your exalted lesson) then imagine yourself turning up your dimmer switch even more, until you are radiating out this quality too. For example, if your life lesson is about finding self worth then the advanced state is the teacher of self worth, the mentor. Simply imagine yourself radiating this quality into the world around you.
This is how you shine.
As soon as you think, “But I’m not that!” You’ve turned the dimmer switch back down. Simply turn it back up again and feel the warm glow flowing through all the cells of your being.
If you are not sure what your purpose or your lesson is you can get a work it out yourself from your fingerprints. Or simply go back to the beginning of this exercise. Choose any feeling of lack and then imagine radiating out an abundance of whatever it is you feel you lack.