The Shadow Effect Book cover
Photo: Courtesy of HarperOne
Whether you want to believe it or not, you have a dark side. When you start to ignore it or push it aside, it begins to make decisions for you and strips you of your conscious choices. Maybe for you it's the foods you eat or the mean words you speak, but it's there. In The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self, co-authors Debbie Ford, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson shed light on your shadow issues to help you deal with them with compassion, instead of fear.
Once people hear about the shadow, the dark side of human nature, almost no one denies that it exists. Every life has been touched by anger and fear. The evening news exposes human nature at its worst, week after week, without letup. If we are honest with ourselves, dark impulses are free to roam our minds at will, and the price we pay for being a good person—something we all aspire to—is that the bad person who might ruin everything must be kept under wraps.

Having a shadow side seems to call for some kind of intervention, maybe therapy or a pill, maybe a trip to the confessional or a midnight soul confrontation. As soon as people acknowledge that they have it, they want to be rid of it. There are many aspects of life in which a can-do, let's-fix-it attitude works. Unfortunately, the shadow isn't one of them. The reason that the shadow hasn't been fixed for thousands of years—the whole time that human beings have been conscious of their dark side—is totally mysterious. It only makes sense to unravel the mystery before asking how to deal with it. Therefore, I've divided Part I into three sections, in which I fall back on a physician's instinct to find a diagnosis, offer a cure, and then honestly tell patients their prognosis for the future:

The Fog of Illusion
The Way Out
A New Reality, a New Power

The first section (the diagnosis) describes how the shadow came to be. I differ from some in believing that the shadow is a human creation, not a cosmic force or a universal curse. The second section (the cure) deals with how you can diminish the shadow's hidden power over you in everyday life. The third section (the prognosis) unfolds a future in which the shadow has been dismantled, not only for certain individuals, but for all of us. Together we created the shadow that now haunts us. Despite our fear and reluctance to face this fact, it turns out to be the key to transformation. If you and I weren't part of the problem, we would have no hope of being part of the solution.

Deepak Chopra
Photo: Jeremiah Sullivan
The Fog of Illusion

If you cannot see your own shadow, you must go in search of it. The shadow hides in shame in the dark alleys, secret passages, and ghost-filled attics of your consciousness. To have a shadow is not to be flawed, but to be complete. That's a hard truth to confront. (Haven't you tried to tell people a candid truth about themselves, only to have them snap back, "Don't psychoanalyze me," or something of the sort? The unconscious realm feels as dangerous as the depths of the ocean; both are dark and full of unseen monsters.) We are all living with the wreckage of failed ideals that once seemed like perfect solutions. Each solution matches a picture of what the dark side is all about.
More Excerpts from The Shadow Effect
Introduction by Debbie Ford
Making Peace with Ourselves, Others and the World by Debbie Ford
Only Light Can Cast Out Darkness by Marianne Williamson

The Shadow Effect: A 6-Week Breakthrough Plan

Debbie Ford will guide you through a six-week breakthrough plan to help you understand your mysterious shadow, how it affects the key areas of your life and what it has to teach you about yourself so that you can finally create the life you've always wanted.

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.

More from The Shadow Effect

How the shadow can affect your life
Can you identify the shadow working in your life? Take the quiz!
Find out more about the 6-week breakthrough plan

Copyright © 2010 by Deepak Chopra and Rita Chopra Family Trust, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson. Reprinted by permission of HarperOne.


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