"The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us" (excerpt) A Little Book on the Shadow —by Robert Bly

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It’s an old Gnostic tradition that we don’t invent things, we just remember.  The Europeans I know of who remember the dark side best are Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, and Carl Jung.  I’ll call up a few of their ideas and add a few thoughts of my own.
Let’s talk about the personal shadow first.  When we were one or two years old we had what we might visualize as a 360-degree personality.  Energy radiated out from all parts of our body and all parts of our psyche.  A child running is a living globe of energy.  We had a ball of energy, all right; but one day we noticed that our parents didn’t like certain parts of that ball.  They said things like: “Can’t you be still?” Or “It isn’t nice to try and kill your brother.”  Behind us we have an invisible bag, and…
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