What does living in the spirit mean? Ultimately, it’s about discovering your shadow self as the path of integration. Being in the spirit means having the freedom to unlock the hidden powers of the psyche. See how to unleash your physical, mental, and spiritual potential.
As we learn what it means to live in the spirit, we understand why the shadow self is so important. This hidden aspect of the subconscious is the doorway to the psyche. By investigating our shadow selves, we gain insight that frees the mind.
Learn What Being in The Spirit Means
The word inspired means “in spirit.” To live in the spirit means to live from the higher virtues of the spirit. So living in the spirit means acting with the highest moral and spiritual integrity. You would think that with these definitions, everyone would be on the same page, but you’d be wrong.
The Shadow Self in Psychology
Psychology became a scientific discipline by Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920). In 1878 he created the Institute of Psychology in Leipzig, Germany. It is where the scientific approach was first used to study human behavior.
What does living in the spirit mean in modern psychology? It generally sees this as the undesirable aspects of your psyche.
Psychologists like Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud describe the “shadow self” differently. For Carl Jung discovering the shadow self was the way to reveal the primitive mind. Jung’s definition includes everything outside of conscious thought. Freud used the term to describe thinking which disintegrates into unhealthy patterns. “The shadow of the object fell upon the ego” (Freud, 1917, p. 158).
In analytical psychology, the shadow self represents the incongruent aspects of personality. These aberrations create a conflict between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
These theories about how the mind operates aren’t new. They come from ancient traditions about the mind.
Discovering Your Shadow Self in Earlier Traditions
In Eastern tradition living in the spirit means living a balanced life. It means harmony with people and nature. Every object that stands in the sunshine creates a shadow. The shadow moves with the sunlight. So, an Eastern interpretation of the shadow self is the mark we leave behind, our spiritual legacy. The shadow is our impact on the lives of others; it can be either positive or negative.
“Just as a candle spreads light in a darkened room, people who are living in the Spirit give off a higher energy that can bring light to our hearts and minds.” ― Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
“The Ego is only an illusion but a very influential one. Letting the ego illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self. Ego, the false idea of believing that you are what you have or what you do, is a backward way of assessing and living life.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer
The tradition of the Enneagram is where modern psychology can be traced. It sees the shadow self as a reflection of the attributes of our personality. These reveal themselves when we degenerate into unhealthy thinking. So each of the nine personality types has a shadow self. These are thinking distortions that operate on the subconscious level. Very often, these are the coping strategies the mind uses to cope with stress and anxiety.
If we delve into the psyche and identify these patterns, we can learn how to make them work for us instead of against us. By identifying them, we can reprogram them. We can use the habitual thinking patterns of the mind to create positive outcomes.
In the Enneagram, the shadow self is a projection of the mind which connects us to what we call the spirit or the soul. The shadow self works behind the scenes in the subconscious mind. Its job is to communicate between the spirit and the mind. So, it is essential to life itself. Here, being in the spirit means connecting with the source of our being. This connection is what gives our mind awareness. So without the shadow self, we would not have conscious awareness.
The Shadow Self in Western Theology
What does living in the spirit mean in Western organized religion? Western thought sees the shadow aspect of ourselves as something we don’t want to see. We don’t want others to see it, which is why many core ideals deal with controlling behaviors. This includes everything the religion deems inappropriate. It dictates clothing, public displays of affection, or behaviors not deemed appropriate.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:16-17
Live in The Spirit Discovering Your Shadow Self
To discover the contents of our shadow self, we must delve into the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is like the operating system of a computer. It connects our awareness and consciousness.
What exactly are we discovering? We are learning about the programming of the subconscious mind. This is the programming that dictates our preferences and our inclinations. It tells us what to like or dislike things. These value judgments filter every thought we have. This is why discovering your shadow self is essential to maintain mental health.
Being in the Spirit Means…
1. Living in The Spirit Means Regaining Your Child-like Innocence
To become inspired, you must ignite the imagination and the love of play. How do you do this? Think back to when you played as a child. Start with the situation that made you happy and content as a child.
Our original state of mind enables us to live in the spirit . It means living in connection with Observer or soul in control instead of the Ego. In this mindset, we are fully integrated, and reaching this state is the goal of inner work. We will know when we’re a freethinker when we’ve reached this point in our re-evolution. The term freethinker comes from Leo Tolstoy. It’s a term used to describe someone who can think without the boundaries of sectarianism.
Sectarianism is the assertion that your religious beliefs are superior to all others. This belief empowers people to convert others to their way of thinking. Those who do not believe as they do are regarded as enemies of their faith.
2. Being in the Spirit Means Embracing Inner Work
If we are to return to our original state of being, we must remove and replace the negative programming we have calculated.
Inner work makes it possible to declutter the mind. We use tools to identify harmful thinking patterns and values. Then we can eliminate them and any sources that reinforce unhealthy bias and prejudice. Once we address negative thinking, such as racism and sectarianism, we can reprogram with positive thinking.
We need to relearn how to live in the spirit. Everyone has different personalities and instincts, so the path is different. However, we can use the same tools to find the way. Several spiritual technologies can facilitate this process. We divide these tools into four major categories:
3. Living in the Spirit Means Opening the Virtues of the Spirit
Being in the spirit opens the door to the virtues of the spirit. The “virtues of the spirit” are not goals; they are the higher values possible for each of the nine basic personality types. Each personality type has its path and its own set of challenges.
There are nine of these higher virtues, which correspond to the nine personality types of the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a tool to identify our primary type and open the corresponding virtue. Moreover, when we reveal the main virtue n of our personality, we also gain access to the other eight virtues.
The nine virtues of the spirit are the gateway to the gifts of the spirit. These gifts are Appreciation, Blissfulness, Gratitude, Happiness, Joyfulness, Love, Mindfulness, Serenity, and Thankfulness. They grow fruit like Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude, and Sharing.
“The fragrance of the heart is made up of the qualities and virtues of our spirit. Most of us have learned how to keep our hearts closed in a world that would trample all over us if we let it. Being open hearted today seems to require tremendous courage.” — Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Osho
Presence is one common element that will help us move toward integration. Being present enables the real you to show up. We accomplish all of our inner cognitive work when we are present. Inner work helps us remove the programming to reveal the “virtues of the spirit.” What are these virtues? These are gifts of our ancestors locked in our DNA.
“Intuitive or inspired living means not just passively hearing the voice, but acting on it.” — Stephen Nachmanovitch
Do you ever catch glimpses of unexplained emotions, desires, or instincts lurking within your psyche? Welcome to the realm of shadows! Often disregarded or suppressed, these aspects of our personality possess immense transformative potential. Exploring these shadows exposes the darkness of harmful thinking. Then we can change the values while using the habitual nature of the mind to empower positive thinking. We do not deny our nature; we learn to transform it with purposeful intention.
4. Living in the Spirit Means Restoring Balance
To live in the spirit, we must embrace the interplay of light and shadows within us. Just as darkness gives greater clarity to light, understanding our shadows enables us to perceive the beauty of our minds. By acknowledging and integrating the shadow self, we foster wholeness and authenticity. Integration is an experience of genuine spiritual liberation.
Our shadow selves can embody aspects of us we consider harmful or unacceptable. Yet, revealing this negativity is an opportunity for growth and enlightenment. Every strength is a weakness used in the wrong way, and every weakness is a strength once you learn the proper time and place to use it. Embracing our shadows grants us valuable insights into our past. It provides perspective to heal wounds and addictions. This process offers a chance to heal, grow, and release the limiting beliefs that hold us back on our spiritual path.
At its core, being in the spirit means living our most authentic selves. Authenticity requires us to accept and express our light and shadow selves wholeheartedly. By embracing the shadowy aspects of our being, we cultivate compassion and empathy towards ourselves and others. In this state of vulnerability and transparency, we can finally experience freedom and liberation. Here is where we experience the fullness that living in the spirit promises.
As we embark on this transformative journey, we encounter hidden gems within ourselves. These gems are the gifts of the spirit which yield newfound acceptance, resilience, and understanding. Understanding our shadow self leads us to greater self-awareness and self-compassion. Embrace the possibility of uncovering your hidden treasures! Time to take the first steps on this inward journey.
5. What Living in the Spirit is Not
When you live in the spirit, you live without the constraints or boundaries of religious mythology and superstitions. But we see how Western theology attempts to usurp this term. They equate it with living by faith and, in other words, accepting the belief in an imaginary friend because they say so.
For those who follow the religions of the Abrahamic tree, it means surrendering your free will. It means subjecting yourself to groupthink manipulation tactics. By embracing these myths as facts, people can maintain a paradox of belief.
What Does Living in the Spirit Mean to You?
If you are ready to begin this journey, get out a journal. A paper version is better than an electronic one because your handwriting is part of the process, which can reveal clues about your mindset.
1. Sit quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed. If you know how to meditate, use your favorite technique to quiet your mind. If you don’t know how to meditate, we have a simple process you can learn from reading an article in less than five minutes.
2. Open your eyes and ask, What does living in the spirit mean to me?
3. Write the first thing that comes to mind, even if I have no idea.
4. Keep asking this question for about 5 minutes, and you should have a few ideas about what it means to you. If you couldn’t think of anything, then that means something too. That means you have a lot to gain from integrating your shadow self.
We hope this look at discovering your shadow self has been enlightening. We unlock the door to our fullest potential by embracing and integrating our shadow selves. It is the key to opening the virtues of the spirit.
When we ask the question, What does living in the spirit mean, it opens our mind to greater possibilities. This simple question opens the spiritual path. Here we find authenticity, vulnerability, and self-compassion. Remember, the union of light and shadows allows our true selves to shine brilliantly.
1. “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle. This book provides insights into living in the present moment. Eckhart explores the depths of consciousness and integrating one’s shadow self.
2. “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” by Debbie Ford. Debbie Ford introduces the concept of the shadow self. She guides readers through a transformative process. This centers on acknowledging and embracing their hidden aspects for personal growth.
3. TED Talk: “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage” by Susan David. In this TED Talk, Susan discusses the importance of understanding our emotions. These emotions include those associated with the shadow self. She offers practical strategies for developing emotional resilience.
4. “The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types. This work by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson explores the Enneagram system. It’s a powerful tool for understanding personality types. This book gives an in-depth view of the shadow aspects of personality. It shows how to use the Enneagram to create a balanced existence.
5. Online Course: “Jungian Psychology and the Shadow” by The Jung Platform. This online course delves into Carl Jung’s theories on the shadow self. It provides a comprehensive overview of shadow work. They cover practical techniques to integrate the shadow aspects of the mind.