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Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche Paperback – June 9, 2009
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From Library Journal
- Lucille Boone, San Jose P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Robert A. Johnson, a noted lecturer and Jungian analyst, is also the author of He, She, We, Inner Work, Ecstasy, Transformation, and Owning Your Own Shadow.
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Top Customer Reviews
Johnson writes that if I can be with the opposites, at the point of their intersection and stay with my conflicting thoughts and impulses long enough, the two will teach each other something and produce an insight that serves both... produce something utterly new instead of win, lose or compromise.
The key appears to be that every real solution has to grow from the unique situation I face. Formulas, how-to's, devices and processes can never be enough in such moments. Referring to my own past for an experiential reference or to another's experience or advice can't do it, either, because it prevents or sidetracks the point of unlimited potential that wants to appear in and emerge out of each unique encounter.
I liked what Maria had to say in her post: "Meet your shadow", dated November 22, 2003. She said she gave it only 4 stars because he doesn't tell how to DO that is described as possible in the book... I felt a little of that, too. And I have since appreciated the blessing of not being told how until I've done a bit of my own struggle with my own opposites in many life situations.
A book I found to be a perfect companion to this one is "I of the Storm - Embracing Conflict, Creating Peace", by Gary Simmons. I highly recommend it in addition to this book. It addresses some of the questions I felt about the nature of conflict after finishing Owning Your Own Shadow, in a way that shed light into my life. I am very appreciative of both books.
The biggest error a reader can make is to try to read the book as a step-by-step manual. This book should be read for the big picture which appears when all of the details are assembled, otherwise the apparent contradictions will become very confusing. The reader would do well to remember that any discussion on the shadow is a discussion of opposites. You must therefore be able to focus on both opposites to understand the essence of the shadow. If you read other reviews you will notice that at least one of the reviewers seemed to be unable to make this leap.
I was surprised with the authors heavy use of Christian symbols. Normally Jungians draw from several spiritual systems with thier systems, but I suppose it fits with Christianities repeated attempts to demonize the shadow in the first place.
The premise is that everything is based on balance -- yin and yang, black and white, good and evil, but that to find our true balance we must explore the dark side of ourselves as much as the better part of ourselves. This is how we are (only momentarily) enlightened. I do have to slightly agree with some of these reviews in that Johnson's examples on just how to achieve this goal are sparse; yet, at the same time we are allowed to interpret our own shadows as we would like to and we are forced to find our own solutions. In this way, Johnson's book is more of a piece that requires you to work as much as he does.
The only thing that bothered me a bit was the collective shadow of a nation, which transforms into the tangible via wars, oppression, etc. While this is an interesting idea to ponder, it seems a little extreme to say that World War II (for example) was the formation of a shadow of a nation and not the real, underlying causes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I give the author credit due to the fact that there aren't too many books on the subject. He captures an idea of what it's like to hone your shadow. Read morePublished 19 days ago by bossman
Fast read for philosophy and psychology students. Helped
to better understand the complexity of concepts such as dualism and paradoxes-
Despite some negative reviews I bought this book because it spoke to me. Not only was I not disappointed but I found this book to be a powerful tool in my recovery and renewal... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chris C de Baca
Dr Johnson is the rare mixture of a world class Jungian analytic mind who can write in a way that non Jungians can understand. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Doc Griffin
Owning Your Own Shadow presents an important concept of Jungian psychology -- the shadow -- from a distinctly Christian point of view. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Paul Laub
One of my favourite books, especially about Jungian understanding. Any book by Robert A Johnson is a bur gem. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Arjuna