Robert Augustus Masters is an integral psychotherapist and author whose works include To Be a Man, Emotional Intimacy, and Spiritual Bypassing. Most recently, he teamed with Sounds True to publish Bringing Your Shadow Out of the Dark: Breaking Free from the Hidden Forces That Drive You. In this illuminating episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Robert about the influence of the shadow side of the psyche—especially Robert’s own encounters with it. Robert describes his experiences as the leader of a psychospiritual community that gradually transformed into a cult, including the near-death experience that forced him to confront the reality of his actions and change his life. Tami and Robert also talk about the powerful influence of shame, as well as the important differences between anger and aggression. Finally, they discuss the desire to place spiritual guides on pedestals and what we can do to address the difficult aspects of student-teacher relationships. (63 minutes)
Tami’s Takeaway: One of the ways that Robert Augustus Masters describes our personal shadow is that it contains experiences of wounding and early conditioning that we have yet to face. How do we know what we haven’t yet faced? Robert teaches that one of the best ways we can start to identify our shadow is to pay careful attention to moments of reactivity (we all know what those feel like) and then ask, “How old do I feel in this moment?” By entering the pain of these early disowned experiences, we start the hard task that Robert calls “illuminating the shadow,” a great life work that is endlessly deep and endlessly liberating.