Since I’ve had Tyler as a roommate, I’ve grown used to watching Wizards of Waverly Place but when a commercial was playing on Disney about an episode where one of the main characters, a sarcastic teenage girl named Alex (played by Selena Gomez) casts a spell on herself that makes all the parts people don’t like about her put into a cell where they are trapped and it later comes back to get her, something started to seem familiar. Like the way Buddhism teaches energy cannot be destroyed, even though Alex’s less likeable traits don’t show up in her, they still exist. Also, doesn’t Alex’s behavior seem sort of familiar to what we do every day (most of us at least) at least unconsciously? Haven’t we all been told, by school, parents, religion, work, etc., that certain things about ourselves are not acceptable and put them into a little box where they can be contained so that they won’t show up when they’re not wanted? And then they just seem to come out at us when we least expect it, causing embarrassment in our personal and professional lives.
According to a documentary The Shadow Effect (which is not Buddhist, by the way, but has teachings in it that are similar to Buddhism) we all repress some part of ourselves that we are told is inappropriate and then later they come back at us and embarrass us in our lives. In Britain, a social worker finally snapped from the pressures of his job and restrained a twenty-year old woman with learning difficulties. Other examples of this can be seen in politicians, celebrities, and clergymen. Alex in Wizards of Waverly Place puts her unwanted characteristics in a mirror just as we put them in a pit in our gut and never let them out and likewise, Alex’s alter ego comes out to get her. But what do we do about this “shadow side?”
In meditation, we look at ourselves without judging or condemning. Even though a voice in our head may say something about who are at that point, we realize those thoughts are not who we are and we let them come and go without holding onto them. Our “negative sides” are merely traumas we are reliving every day in our heads but meditation helps people to transform those traumas into wisdom. These “traumas” are energy and energy cannot be destroyed, according to both Buddhism and science. But through meditation, our traumas need not remain what they are because energy does not stay in one state forever, and neither do our traumas.