EP 32 – Outwitting Your Shadow – A Journaling Exercise to Activate Inner Growth
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In this episode, we delve into one simple way to do shadow work, and to better understand what shadow work is. Here we’ll explore the teachings of Carl Jung and in particular, Napoleon Hill. Get ready to unlock the hidden truths within yourself as we discuss “Outwitting the Devil” by Napoleon Hill and a writing exercise to help explore this subject.
Discover why this controversial book, written in 1938 but not published until 2011, holds the key to understanding our greatest challenges and obstacles as gifts in disguise. Explore the concept that life is a grand simulated reality for soul growth, where we signed up to forget our true nature and learn important lessons. Are you starting to remember? Many people are, and external events seem designed to wake us up to the truth.
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Imagine tapping into the wisdom of your shadow self, the part labeled as the “devil” by Napoleon Hill. What if your shadow self holds the key to unlocking your potential and becoming your greatest ally? Let’s define the shadow self and understand its role as a guide alongside your conscious mind and higher self. Just like a plant needs both nurturing and challenging elements to grow strong, learning to work with both the strengthening and weakening elements of our lives can lead to powerful spiritual awakening and personal transformation.
Most people are unaware of the secret to personal and spiritual transformation, but you have the opportunity to learn and uplift your own life. By integrating and learning from your shadow self, you can heal suppressed fears, pain, and memories, and move towards self-acceptance, love, and understanding. Don’t let your shadow manifest as anger, depression, addictions, or other obstacles that hinder your personal and spiritual growth. It’s time to embrace the power of working with your shadow self in a safe and constructive way.
In “Outwitting the Devil,” Napoleon Hill seeks to understand how people limit their success and how the shadow self manipulates challenges and obstacles to facilitate growth. By asking the right questions and seeking the truth, you can outwit your shadow and unlock empowering answers. Discover why some challenges persist in your life and what lessons you are meant to learn from them. We’ll explore the practice of ‘automatic writing’ to connect with your shadow self and gain profound insights and guidance.
Here you’ll explore how challenges in your life are designed for your soul’s growth which offers a perspective that allows you to face them with courage and wisdom. Your shadow self is not here to torment you but to compassionately guide you towards evolution if you know how to do it. By asking the right questions, seeking truth, and taking action, you hold the power to shape your destiny and serve your highest good and the highest good of the world at large.
If you have tried this technique or have your own methods of connecting with your shadow self, share your experiences in the comments. Check out “Outwitting the Devil” and the award-winning sci-fi novel “Helio Tropez” for further exploration. See links below.
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Today, I’d like us to embark on a mind-bending journey through the pages of a legendary book that has the power to transform your life. So grab your journal and get ready to unlock the hidden truths within yourself. Let’s talk about “Outwitting the Devil” by Napoleon Hill!
When he wrote it in 1938 his publisher considered it too controversial to publish. He wrote the book as an interview between him, Napoleon Hill or Mr Earthbound and the devil or the inner dark or shadow self that we all supposedly have. It was only many years after Hill and his wife had died that the Napoleon Hill foundation choose to publish the manuscript, which wasn’t until 2011.
I think “Outwitting the Devil” is Napoleon Hill’s best book. He spent his life studying the laws of success and writing and interviewing about them. In this book, he explores the concept that our greatest challenges and obstacles are actually gifts in disguise, helping us learn, grow, and evolve in this grand simulated reality we call life. I like exploring the idea that life is a game, a virtual reality learning environment for soul growth. It makes the most sense and is the theme of my novels Helio Tropez and Stello Tropez, and in my non fiction book MindStory Inner Coach.
So, one premise to consider is that we signed up for this Earthly game of high polarity – of good and evil – light and shadow – and chose to forget that we did that. Otherwise, if you know it’s just a game, you might not truly learn your lessons. But as you get near to the end of the game, you do start remembering, which I think is happening to a lot of people now. You can see it happening, and there’s lots of external things going on that seem clearly designed to wake people up to the idea they’ve just been in a simulated reality this whole time.
So, imagine if YOU could tap into the wisdom of your shadow self, that side of you that Napoleon Hill labeled as the “devil.” And what if your shadow self holds the key to unlocking your potential, and if questioned in the right way can become your greatest ally instead of your greatest enemy?
Let’s just define the shadow self for a moment, in case you’re unfamiliar. There are several ways to look at it. So there’s the theory is that one aspect of the self is the conscious mind or the ego self is the logical linear self that motors through the day meeting obligations. It has a reputation to protect, and may have blind spots when it comes to both your flaws and gifts. Then, there’s the higher self that is connected to God, the Universe, Source, whatever you want to call that divine essence. It guides you on your spiritual path. But then there’s this shadow self that also has a role in guiding you. It can be the unexpressed parts of the self that are strengths or weaknesses. If you think of a garden, there are the elements that help the plant to grow like fertile soil, sunshine, water…let’s call these strengthening elements. And then there are elements that challenge the plant to grow like infertile soil, lack of sunshine, drought, pests, etc…let’s call these weakening elements. If the plant mainly only gets weakening elements, it will flounder or die. But, paradoxically, If the plant mainly only gets strengthening elements, it will also flounder or die, because it doesn’t have anything to challenge inner strength. So, it’s the combination that creates strong, hardy, vital plants that flourish.
So, learning how to consciously work with both the strengthening elements and weakening elements of our lives both within and without can lead to spiritual awakening and personal transformation in a powerful way. Most people are ignorant of or invalidate this secret to personal and spiritual transformation… but it can literally save your life. And there is also the theory that if we integrate and learn from the shadow within, that it has a ripple effect in the collective unconscious of humanity and we help lift the world out of darkness too. But that’s something you can ponder on and decide for yourself.
So there is a shadow side of the self, and of life. There are elements within you that cause you to weaken, or that sabotage or harm you. There are elements outside of you that cause you and others to weaken, or that sabotage or harm you. Facing the inner and outer can be uncomfortable but ultimately lead to a balanced strength if faced with wisdom and courage.
That shadow is often where our repressed thoughts, memories, fears and desires exist. So, whether you’ve done bad things, or had them done to you…there’s the theory that we’ve all been the villain, victim and hero in this life and other lives. We came to this simulated reality on Earth many times over to experience all kinds of roles. Our higher soul essence lives in a world of nonduality where there are no villains, victims or heroes… just love, understanding, acceptance, peace, bliss. The soul comes here to experience contrast to that, and a deeper, experiential understanding of the other side of life.
Now you may or may not believe that, you have to use your own wise discernment to decide…but if that were true it would make a lot of sense. It would explain a lot of unexplainable things. So, if the shadow self is one of your guides on this journey to help you grow strong as a soul, it can help you unlock and heal from those suppressed fears, pain, memories, and help you learn from them, and let them go… so you can come back to peace, self acceptance, love and understanding of yourself, life and others.
If it all stays suppressed it can manifest in the form of anger, depression, hopelessness, addictions, inability to stay focused or be productive in life, inability to have a healthy relationship, or other personality disorders. I’m sure you know people like that, and if you’re a human on this journey called LIFE, you probably have some of that, too. Most of us do. The initial instinct is to hide the shadow from ourselves and others. We don’t want to deal with it because it’s uncomfortable and it threatens our ego/conscious self. But if you have some tools for stepping into that world in a safe and constructive way it can free you in unbelievably empowering ways.
So, throughout the story of Outwitting the Devil, “Mr. Earthbound” seeks to find out how people limit their success and how the devil achieves his manipulation, or how the shadow self arranges for us to face challenges and obstacles so we can learn, grow, wake up and get stronger. When directly asked like this, the devil or shadow self must answer truthfully, because his or her ultimately goal is to help you learn. If you don’t ask, you keep getting challenges until you learn to ask the right questions, and honestly seek to know the truth.
After the release of Think and Grow Rich, his biggest hit, Napoleon Hill began writing Outwitting the Devil as an explanation of why some were still seeing failure even after following all of the steps in Think and Grow Rich. For him, the trick was in not being willing or able to face what was the true underlying purpose of challenges that seemed insurmountable.
Probably, everyone listening to this can relate to certain areas of life having challenges that seem impossible to overcome. You know, that thing you’ve tried to change, but it won’t budge, or it changes for a bit then snaps back to that place you don’t want it to be… whether it’s financial, health, relationship, business, career, hobby, or life habit related…
So, I’m going to suggest using automatic writing as a tool to connect with this powerful force of hidden truth within us. Automatic writing is a practice that allows us to bypass our conscious, linear, logical ego mind and tap into the depths of our whole brain and deeper wisdom where our higher self and shadow self reside. By engaging in a dialogue with our shadow self, we can gain access to profound insights and answers to questions that have plagued many of us for far too long.
So, the process goes like this. You grab your journal and a pen or use a computer, but pen to paper seems better, at least for me. Then you’ll find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Before you start automatic writing, take a moment to ground yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and set your intention to connect with this shadow self. I like to give it a name and write out the dialogue like a film script, where there’s you, your name talking to someone you could name Shadow Self, The Devil, or I like to call it The Darkasher which is golem from the show Carnival Row. So, you can pick your favorite villain character.
Now, the intention of this process is about spiritual awakening, personal growth, deeper understanding of your soul journey, and embracing the lessons that lie within. It’s the idea that ultimately your shadow self is only there to help you grow. Although at times it may seem like a part of you that sabotages things, attracts problems, gets stuck, makes mistakes, is against you… all that is just because it wants to help you learn. So, if you circumvent that process, and before it gets too bad… ask…. What am I meant to learn here? You choose to learn it, integrate it, often you can move on from issues far more quickly and grow spiritual far more effectively. Ultimately, the Devil is happy you asked. You outwit it by realizing you have all the power here, and by asking the right questions, it must provide empowering answers. If you ignore it, suppress it, reject it… that’s when it increases. Again, just so you’ll learn. So, why make it harder on yourself?
So, you’d write down a question or challenge that has been weighing heavily on your mind—ask it like a question as in YOUR NAME: then the question. It could be a health issue, a relationship struggle, or a financial obstacle, a spiritual struggle. Whatever it is, pour your heart into this question. Be as honest as possible. It’s for your eyes only unless you choose to share it with someone.
As you write, let your thoughts flow freely onto the paper. Do not censor or judge yourself… be compassionate… like you’re helping someone you care very much about.
Once you’ve finished writing, take a moment to re-read your question aloud. Now, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine your shadow self stepping forward to provide you with the wisdom you seek.
For example, “Why does this particular challenge persist in my life? What am I meant to learn from it? How can I better grow and evolve through this experience?”
Now, start a new line. Write the name: shadow self, the devil, the Darkasher, whatever is meaningful for you. Allow your shadow self to speak freely, revealing the hidden insights that will guide you towards growth and transformation.
So, remember, your shadow self is not here to torment you. It gets tired of having to do that. It is here as a compassionate teacher, a guide, and a catalyst for your evolution. The challenges you face are carefully designed for your soul’s growth, and your shadow self holds the key to unlocking the lessons embedded within them… but only if you ask, seek and take action as an earnest student of LIFE.
As you finish writing, take a moment to read and absorb the words that have come forth from your shadow self. Embrace them with an open heart and an open mind. Take action where necessary.
I’ll give you a quick example. This was mid Feb, 2020, a few weeks before the lockdowns were announced. I had scheduled a public seminar that normally filled up with a lot of people, but leading up to it, hardly anyone had signed up. No one knew what was coming at that point, so it was hard to figure out why that was happening.
So My Question Was: Is there something I’m not seeing, or shifting, or understanding here about why this event isn’t flourishing, like it used to. What is your ultimate goal for me here? What do I need to learn, grow, integrate? How might I look back on this and feel grateful for it in the future? That’s always a good way to word it. I’m willing to hear whatever it is, even if my ego self doesn’t like it, or it’s uncomfortable to hear. I want that which will set me free. I know if I ask you directly like this, you must answer me. That is a universal law.
So, in my case I wrote DARKASHER: Thank you for asking. Yes, that is a universal law. Your world needs to change dramatically. Pledge allegiance to your true path which will be much more on the artistic path. Although this seems counterintuitive to you… it’s the best new direction. Focus on teaching and being the art of creative self expression. You will find that your years of skill building in this and the online, virtual space will become very valuable soon. No more public events for now.
Now at the time, that was vague and I didn’t get it. But in retrospect it was very apt. I hadn’t put a deposit on a space yet because I thought I might have to cancel due to low attendance. The lockdowns meant I did have to cancel the event anyway. So I’m glad I didn’t put a deposit down. And I would have had to return all these registration fees. So, the fact that just a few signed up was a blessing in disguise. And the fact that I’d put the effort into getting my business partially online a few years before the lockdowns was another blessing in disguise. It was hard to get going at first, and I didn’t know why I was being directed to do that, but of course that aspect took off after the lockdowns.
With less to do in the business world, I did focus more on my creative self-expression such as writing two novels, and helping my coaching clients find their creative outlets in much more profound ways.
So, I had to really drop all my preconceived ideas and expectations to hear it and act on it, but it turned out to be very true and very helpful. But sometimes the wisdom comes not in specific practical ways, but more general direction ways….if that makes sense…. Like in this example.
Although you can also ask your higher self, the Universe, God, whatever higher benevolent source you use for answers to these kinds of questions, sometimes the shadow self lets you see perspectives that maybe your ego wouldn’t let you see before, or that wouldn’t as easily come to you through higher sources. Just make sure your intention in this conversation is your empowerment, and that of those you serve, that it’s for the highest good of all concerned.
It’s great to use this method when you just can’t seem to get a clear answer to an important question using other means. That’s happening usually because the ego, or limiting perspectives or false expectations are stopping you. It takes courage, but it’s better than staying unnecessarily stuck because you refuse to see and learn. Once you get past the ego limitations, the truth will set you free in a way that is often rewarding beyond your wildest dreams.
As you continue to explore the depths of your being like this, and you find the courage to face your shadow self with love and curiosity… you can often not only heal weaknesses but also reveal great inner gifts you didn’t know were there.
So, thank you for joining me today on this journey of self-discovery. Let me know in the comments if you tried this technique and how it worked out. Or maybe you already have a practice like this that’s helpful… do share it.
And do check out the book Outwitting the Devil if you haven’t already done so. I left a link in the shownotes to the book on Amazon. If you’d like to explore this concept in the form of a sci fi novel you can also check out the award winning novel, Helio Tropez, on Amazon. The link is also in the shownotes.
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Remember, you are the creator of your reality on your spiritual awakening journey, and all those slings and arrows of our lives are there as gifts if we’re willing to drop our resistance and look at it all in new ways. Once you learn how to do that it gives you the power to shape your destiny and to serve your highest good in more empowering ways than you ever thought possible. Until next time, keep shining your light and embracing this deep wisdom. Bye for now!