Strange as it may seem, the building blocks of shadow are the same exact building blocks of spirit. The only difference is how we use those building blocks. If we use them to understand the nature of reality more accurately, then we move to higher, stronger, broader, and more sustained levels of bliss. If we use them to distort reality then we dig ourselves into ever deeper, profound and entrenched levels of suffering. In this article I’ll cover four of these building blocks: Receptivity, Action/Mastery Reciprocity, and Integration/interpenetration.


We are introduced into shadow at an early age. Our parents do not, and cannot, understand reality perfectly. As a result, their distortions become what we are raised with. The sins of the parents will be passed on to the children. I never understood the meaning of this until I understood shadow. It’s a description of reality, not a punishment. This reality begins with our innocence. The innocence of the infant self is completely dependent upon the world in which we were born. This innocent self absorbs information like a sponge, and some of that which is absorbed is accurate, and some of it is distortions.


We absorb because that is one of the building blocks of consciousness. We must be able to receive to perceive. Reception is thus the first building block of consciousness and we receive a great deal of vital information, both accurate and distorted, before we develop the next building block. As a result, introjection shadow material is the earliest shadow that can occur, and often this shadow is pre-verbal and pre-conscious memory. It requires special therapeutic skills to address.



The next form of shadow material arises from our next building block of Mastery. The capacity to take action with our consciousness allows us the power to discover, or to project. Projection becomes the next earliest form of shadow. This form of shadow becomes intrusive upon others and it leads to the terrible temper tantrums that accompany this stage of development. But mastery also allows us to take action to grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. We praise spiritual masters who have taken action successfully to raise their spiritual awareness. But mastery also allows us to be efficiently cruel, selfish. We can actively blow through others boundaries without concern, or break out into spontaneous delight.


But as our self-centered action bumps up against the reality of the world a new building block of consciousness arises: Reciprocity. Reciprocity allows us to shift from self focus to collective focus. It allows us to have friends, and to be a true friend.

It also requires us to split our self into two people inside our own head. That is what second person perspective is… the ability to see our own side, and also see in our mind the other side too.

The two consciousnesses that exist in concrete reality, me and other, are matched inside our own consciousness. This allows for mutual intimacy, with self, other and the divine. It allows for communal ecstasy, but it also allows for self-denigration. This self-denigration can become so intense that it leads to internal strife. A battle begins to be waged inside our minds. This is splitting shadow or split ego-state dissonance. This dissonance can become so unbearable that we then resort to projection, our earlier shadow style, to relieve this suffering.

With this combination of splitting and projection we now have propagated the internal war onto the external world. The level of hostility we are exposed to as we navigate into second person perspective is related to how hostile we develop the internal ego stage relationship to unfold. So the external hostility we are exposed to by primary care givers (and others) is imprinted upon our internal ego-state relationship and then, if too intense, gets projected back out onto the world. If that hostility is shut down with even more hostility within the family, then the hostility gets symbolized and generalized outside of the family dynamic.

Thus prejudices of all kinds are born, (racism, sexism, classism, etc). And from them the injustices of the world rain down upon us. If there is love and understanding with clear limits, then we can construct within our minds a more congenial relationship and this will allow a different, more kind perception of the world. As we move into deeper understanding of the intimate relationships that are born out of the consciousness building block of reciprocity we can experience the wonder of seeing and knowing other and being seen and known by other. We can experience the Divine. We are not alone.

But some relationships may go well while others do not. Not only this, but the same relationship can go well and then dissolve into bitter problems. We can get lost in the dynamic of the relationship and therefore get bounced around by it.


This suffering leads us to have a part of our mind step outside of the relationship dynamic and see it from the outside. From here we can construct patterns to stand by that keep us stable, safe, and the relationships become more enduring. When we align ourselves with these patterns we construct another building block of consciousness, Integration or Interpenetration.

Interpenetration allows us to stay stable in the face of another person’s instability. This stability leads to better more stable relationships in our community, in ourselves, and with the divine. These four building blocks of consciousness will drive our development for the rest of our lives, for shadow or for spirit. There are many more building blocks of consciousness, and much more to learn about these four major ones. We invite you to explore all these building blocks that have been discovered and how to use them to help us to heal shadow, awaken sprit and help those suffering from distorted use of these building blocks of consciousness. STAGES makes it all clear as it unfolds the living map of life.