What is the Golden Shadow?

This morning, my brother, Brendan, called from Los Angeles to tell me about the exciting video shoot he had over the weekend. He operated a camera for a live feed of a school fundraiser. Why was it so exciting, you may ask? Many of the kids who attend this school are children of celebrities and a bunch of adult celebrities attended this school when they were kids. My brother, who’s not terribly impressed with famous people, admitted that even he got a little tongue-tied when he stood next to Jack Black in the buffet line at the after party. Brendan said that the high school version of himself, who loved Jack Black’s songs and wild humor, geeked out when the star scooped guacamole onto Brendan’s plate.

Later today, I had some stars in my eyes when the editor for Anchor magazine sent me the proof of a piece of mine they accepted for the next issue (coming soon!). I had to review my bio on the bio page as well and, when I saw my name and picture on the same page as Mirabai Starr’s and Andrew Harvey’s, “celebs” in the interspiritual world, I got a little giddy myself. My work is included in the same publication as theirs, I exclaimed to myself (and then to my boyfriend, because who am I kidding? I tell him everything).What is it in us that causes us to become so enamored of celebrities or even simply idolize or revere our teachers?

You may have heard of “the shadow” (read my blog on it here!), the parts of ourselves we choose to deny, like anger or sexuality. Often, we project what we see as negative qualities onto other people in order to make ourselves feel superior. But have you heard of the “golden shadow”? It’s also part of ourselves we choose to deny and project onto other people, but this time, it’s in order to make ourselves feel inferior. Strange, right? Why would we do that? Why can’t or why won’t we accept the sublime essence that we all truly are?

Marianne Williamson has some things to say about the golden shadow (but don’t worry, quoting this spiritual teacher is not exposing my own golden shadow – I just love this quote).

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.


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