Let me make something clear about shadow. Shadow is not something dark or sinister, like the fictional character Lamont Cranston, as some people might feel. Shadow is simply caused by me standing in front of the light. In standing in front of the light, I am affirming my aliveness but as with darkness comes the light, so I am affirming that with light comes the shadow. To illustrate how this showed up for me yesterday, I got miffed by a colleague when I asked him if he had an intention for an act of service he was doing this next weekend and he responded that there was nothing for him to set an intention for because there was nothing for him to learn by, as he put it, chopping water and carrying wood. What irked me most by his apparent unwavering attitude was that I felt like he was throwing away an opportunity to see a shadow in this and I got to be right about it until I asked him to mirror my upset by hearing my emotional charge. As I was spewing out my judgments, then my feelings about what kind of person would do this kind of thing, that is to throw away any opportunity to see shadow, I began to see in my reflection a man who has thrown away untold numbers of opportunities in my own life in order to be righteous about the results I have gotten from doing that. After the judgments and feelings and the projection of my shadow on this man, I finally was able to catch myself in the act of seeing this shadow of I would never throw away an opportunity like that. By taking ownership, or as I so often put it, by taking a stand for my shadow, I was able to also catch myself in the act of not throwing away an opportunity like that by the very act of seeing the shadow and taking a stand for it. It truly no longer mattered that my colleague got what I was projecting on him around missed opportunities because I got it. That is one of the blessings when I welcome my shadow instead of trying to hide it behind me. Instead of settling for being right, I get the real prize, which, of course, is my aliveness and I don't take away from my colleague's aliveness in the process, which I would have done had I simply held on to the charge.
The very best use of life
...is to transform to the awakened state. Next best is to develop qualities. Next best and skillful use of life is gaining deep connection to capable mentor who promises to hold you and care for you even after your passing. The least useful is to say you are a Christian or a Buddhist and expect that to save you!