This is an excerpt of an interview with Ken Wilbur. I found this shadow work thing quie interesting. Awareness alone does not bring light to all our imbalanced ego. When our shadows get triggered, we cant shine that presence on them becuase we are just too taken in by the momentum.
Tami Simon: So one more aspect of this I just want to make sure that I understand: You know many times, meditation teachers will tell you that, you know, "Just meditate. That's all you need to do," and yet you're saying that meditation won't get to these unconscious shadow pieces. You have to do something like shadow work. Why is that?
Ken Wilber: Right. Well, apparently much of the shadow, when it's disowned, is done so through very strong psychodynamic repression and other types of defense mechanisms, and these mechanisms, themselves, are unconscious. They're not something that you really can see, so they're a defense mechanism that then hides itself, and it tends to be very strong. It tends to be very powerful. Simply introspecting, turning within and introspecting, isn't enough to penetrate these repression barriers. I know, in the general field, itself, particularly a field called transpersonal psychology, which studies these things a lot, thirty years ago, when transpersonal psychology started, it really was thought that meditation would do everything. Meditation would not only show you the royal road to the superconscious, it was a royal road to the subconscious, and that it would lower the repression barrier and allow all shadow material to surface, and so it was really thought to cover all of the bases. But as the years went on, and we both looked at the theory of that, it sort of became more and more unbelievable on theoretical grounds that meditation could do all of this stuff, but then also we had—you know, and there's sort of no way to talk abut this except embarrassingly, in personal terms—we had several decades of meditation teachers practicing meditation all the time, and their shadows just as big as they ever were, and in some cases, bigger! Clearly something wasn't working here, and so it's just one of the things that we have found out the hard way. How many people know great, great meditation teachers that have shadows following them around and getting them into trouble? So we learned that the hard way, and that's why we make the sort of mental Integral Practice cover body, mind, spirit, and shadow. It's just too important, and long experience, both theoretically and particularly personally, has shown us that meditation doesn't get at all or even most of the shadow.