by Amara Pagano

Bringing light to the shadow

I wanted to share the below text that I wrote about the work of Integrating Lower and Higher Self that is part of the Azul Trilogy.  I thought it might support you in understanding the journey of bringing light to the shadows…

In our journey through life, we inevitably encounter moments of lack of love that shape how we respond to life. To experience these shocks and heal the wounds they create, is part of our task as human beings. It may help you to understand that there are certain traumas that your soul chooses to encounter in this life for the purpose of transforming and integrating the negative energies they generate. 

It is really true that there are opportunities inside of all our struggles!

Integrating the lower and higher self means healing and integrating our past. This work is designed to help you identify your masks and lower self, integrate your childhood wounds and connect with your higher self. 

As children when we encounter moments of lack of love we build defense mechanisms to numb ourselves to the pain. These defenses deny and repress our feelings and our spontaneity. We begin to lose the ability to be who we really are and seek to conform – as best as we can – to what is expected of us, so that we can receive the love we need.

The loss of spontaneity leads us to the development of an idealized image of ourselves and, as a result, we go through life trying to live up to that illusory self, never able to fully experience true self-expression, love and prosperity.

In order to become aware of these defense mechanisms, we must first be able to identify the superficial layers of consciousness that covers them up. These layers are called masks. This layer of our consciousness is the most superficial and the least connected to truth.

The mask is what we put on to get the love or attention we need. It is the image we project, based on an idealized self-image. We develop the mask during our childhood. And, with time, we become so identified with it that we believe ourselves to be that. This causes us to operate from the illusory self and limits our possibility of experiencing true happiness. Some examples of masks we wear are: the Victim, the Rebel, the Superman/Superwoman, the Powerful, the Self-Sufficient, the Kind, the Good Girl/Good Boy, the Aloof and the Spiritual.

The next layer of consciousness is the lower self, which represents the expression of all the defense mechanisms we created from our childhood wounds to get the love we needed. Imagine, you are born in a state of total openness and are completely dependent on your parents to survive. 

Any time you do not receive their love you encounter a shock, whether it is acute or gradual. And a part of you freezes and forms the wounded child while another part of you develops survival strategies and defense mechanisms, so that you can get what you need. These defense mechanisms operate in the shadow through our subconscious.

It is like this for everyone in this material realm. We are all the same here.

I want to share a few words from my teacher Prem Baba, who has been guiding me on the path of self-discovery, to help you understand the journey of Integrating Lower and Higher Self.

“When you are identified with the lower self, you think it is something specific to you and who you are; but as you go deeper into the process of recognizing and integrating the lower self, you will be surprised to find that it does not belong to you at all. Rather, the lower self is actually an assortment of particles floating freely through the universe and, due to certain laws, you ended up attracting some specific particles to yourself.

You incarnated on this planet with the cosmic goal of integrating these particles. This is your grand purpose; even before this incarnation, the process you will go through to integrate these particles was already determined. To make this easier to understand, I classify these particles into the nine matrices of the lower self.

The first matrix is Gluttony, with all its forms of voracity and compulsive behavior: to eat, to buy, sex, to do things compulsive thinking mine is stuck in oral phase.

Then there is the Sloth, which is when someone remains paralyzed in the face of what needs to be done due to feelings that have been denied and locked up in their system. Sloth can be passive or active: a workaholic might actually be a very lazy person because they do many things but avoid doing what really needs to be done.


Greed is the desire to accumulate things in order to protect oneself by hiding behind hoarded possessions. Reference to things external but can also apply to greed for mystical experiences. 

The fourth matrix is Envy is the impulse to destroy the object of one’s desire, since the person believes that they are incapable of obtaining it. Because this person feels unable to progress, envy tries to knock the other down so that they both can be at the same level.


Wrath in its passive form is indifference, while in its active form it manifests as violence. Somewhere in between these forms of wrath is the tendency to hurt others emotionally.

The sixth matrix is Pride and all of its manifestations: vanity, shame, arrogance, idealized self-image, the complexes of inferiority and superiority, and many others.

And then there is Lust, which means using sexual energy to exert power over the other.

The eighth matrix is Fear, which includes doubt, skepticism and all forms of panic. This is the primary defense mechanism know to humans. Fear is the vigilante guard of denied feelings.

Finally there are all the forms of Deceit, which range from the lies that you tell someone to make yourself look better to the greatest and subtlest form of self-deception, which is not knowing who you are.”

What feeds and sustains the shadow are the negative emotions that itself generates. The various expressions of the shadow will do everything they can to repeat the negative situation and generate the same negative emotions, since these are the emotions that keep them alive.

The way to identify these false selves is by first examining your negative behaviors, which are commanded by specific psychological entities. The wounded child wants to repeat the same drama over and over so that it can re-experience the emotions it is addicted to, hoping that it will be different this time.

It is through honest and regular self-observation and de-identification with all the illusory self – which is made of all the masks and the different expressions of our lower self – that we can move along the path of self-discovery.

To confront our own negativity is one of the most powerful steps we can take. The strength of the shadow to create destruction in our lives happens only while it remains in the unconscious.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl Jung

When we bring the material to consciousness it loses its power. When we feel our fears they lose strength, when we can see our hatred, we can open to love.

I offer this work each year and invite you to join me there.

Amara Pagano
About Amara Pagano
Amara is the founder of Azul™. She was trained by Gabrielle Roth in Waves & Heartbeat and has taught 5Rhythms® for 17 years. She has traveled the world spreading her unique voice in this work throughout countries in Europe, the Americas and Australia. Amara lives in Hawaii and is the co-founder of the global conscious movement community OneDanceTribe.
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Bringing light to the shadow