Ask Deepak: The Difference Between Your Ego and Shadow
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.Q: Thank you so much for The Shadow Effect, your movie and book with Debbie Ford. Ever since I starting the shadow work, I'm noticing that the ego voice has become so loud and nearly constant, I often have to remember to breathe myself into a more peaceful state. Is the shadow the same thing as the ego? I'm still meditating, exercising and being careful with what I eat, but this loud voice is really noticeable and annoying. I live alone with my dog, who lies at my feet whenever I sit down to become peaceful (which is often!), so I guess someone is benefiting from this situation. For me, I find it difficult, and I'm hoping you'll tell me this will ease. Thank you so much.
— Mallory C., Cambridge, Canada
When you start to look at the hidden energies in yourself—meaning old emotional debts and difficult feelings—the ego has to figure out what to do. The ego isn't the shadow. It's your sense of self. So if your sense of self relies on not looking under the carpet, it won't be happy when the shadow starts to emerge. It will say, "I don't like this. I don't need this. Stop it!" in a loud voice. What you are experiencing is normal.
At the same time, however, it's too much. Walking the path is supposed to be more positive than negative, no matter where you are on your journey. Let's try to make this a good experience for you and your dog. Stop trying so hard. Give yourself space to enjoy your life. Get out of the mind-set that you are facing an uphill climb and must work hard every step of the way. When you work so hard that you feel miserable, the shadow is winning.
Next: When making difficult life decisions, should you go with your heart or your head?
Every week, Deepak will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your question now!
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.
Read Deepak's excerpt from The Shadow Effect
How to overcome the past
What's the difference between your ego and your self?