Inner Michael » Michael Jackson Bright Shadow and Finding your Inner Michael

Michael Jackson Bright Shadow and Finding your Inner Michael

“Children show me in their playful smiles the Divine in everyone. This simple goodness shines straight from their hearts and only asks to be lived. Let us dream of tomorrow where we can truly love from the soul, and know love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all creation.” ~Michael Jackson

That is Bright Shadow talk. Michael Jackson’s greatest gift to the world was his “Bright Shadow.” It was also the thing that invited the world to crucify him. Because of humanity’s lack of maturity and enlightenment, we do not dare to shine too brightly for fear that someone will notice! So we hide our brilliance, our gifts, our genius, the beauty that lives inside that we are meant to share with the world. Michael recognized the Bright Shadow within himself and he worked very hard to perfect it, communicate with it, communicate it and to gift it to the world. He knew himself to be that… Was the world ready?

If in living my life, I am mostly identified with shadow and I notice that you are shimmering, it can become an irritant to me because it can be a constant and thorny reminder of how un-shiny I am. The contrast between us becomes emphasized or highlighted. If I am dark and moody it doesn’t make me feel better to stand next to your light and laughter; it can make me resent, hate, and even designate you, the offender, as my nemesis. If I don’t love and accept myself then I am not likely to love and accept you, am I? If I constantly compare the self that operates in the world with my vision of my idealized self, then I can never measure up. And God help you if you do measure up—especially if that “measuring” is in my face, in my presence or has any magnitude like being prominent in the world or on a global stage. That is truly “Dangerous” to me.

Carl Jung introduced the idea of Bright Shadow or Golden Shadow and Maslow talked about the “Jonah Complex” which is the fear of exposing your highest potential or true nature. I call it the “Divine Blueprint” which holds the seeds of all the possibilities of who we are and who we can become. It is the “Christ within” that so much theological literature talks about—either esoterically or in allegory. Christ said about miracles that we are all capable of that. “Greater than me” he said of our potential. Other world religions have the same theme somewhere in their literature. You become the Buddha when you reach within to find the inner Buddha. It’s the “way of the Shaman” who walks in two worlds and is in touch with higher and lower realities—the tribe’s cultural guide, healer, priest, medicine man and wise elder. It is the principle that calls forth the healing and the highest potential of the human.

Marianne Williamson eloquently describes this phenomenon in her famous quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Michael Jackson knew Bright Shadow. He embodied it. He embraced his gifts, gave gratitude for them and shared them with the world. He then encouraged others to share their gifts with the world. We all have this shimmering self inside just waiting to be born. Michael often spoke about the inner Bright Shadow though he never called it that. He saw it in children and he saw it dimming in adults who buckled under the strain of the loss of innocence and the assaults of the world on once tender psyches. Michael’s Neverland home featured scuptures, statues and paintings with carefree children, figures that delight and nude cherubs, the mythological symbols for the nurtured bright shadow, the innocent and inner child with complete self acceptance and love. The appearance of these bright children in art is a reminder of the child in us and the bright shadow that lives within each child that’s born. It’s a timeless universal symbol that appears in great paintings and sculpture throughout history and contemporary art in every culture around the world. It’s the subliminal message that whispers without words: “This is who you really are!”

Denying this shining part of ourselves is like abandoning the sweetest kernel of who we are. When we do that, we feel an emptiness, a void, the abyss of self that is deep, painful and longs to be filled. The presence of this craving for being “full” can take the form of addictions, the quest for material goods, an angry sense of entitlement, self destructive tendencies, ruthless competition, a need to feel superior to others, the impulse to tear down someone on a pedestal, to ridicule others for the failings we dare not acknowledge in ourselves. Any distraction, anything to fill the emptiness.

It holds the deeper meaning of Michael’s “Man in the Mirror.” It is the part of us that cannot bear to look at the truth of who we are being so we disown it and project it onto others. We can’t see ourselves clearly so we ask others to wear what we can’t bear to acknowledge in self. “Here,” we say to those we view as ‘other’ will you wear my Bright Shadow for me? I want to put you on a pedestal and worship you from afar because you embody everything that I aspire to be. You are the light that I hope to be because I don’t recognize it in me. Please will you be my savior? If you will be that for me you get my perpetual adoration because I will feel relieved and now I don’t have to shine for myself.”

In the mirror also is the wounded part of us who hides from our own shadow. “Here,” we say, “will you wear this darkness for me? I can’t bear to acknowledge my own shadow nature so I will push it into the subconscious, push it down, forget or deny it and then project it onto you. You are the ‘bad guy’ whom I can make fun of, hold contempt for, be prejudiced against, call names, and distance myself from. Will you be my criminal? My enemy? My stupidity? My ignorance? My failings? My worst nightmare? The grand threat? Evil Empire? The mega-danger? The devil? My Satan?”

The brilliance of shadow is that if we make it known and visible, we reclaim the lost babe in ourselves. We can then nurture and cradle that tender, innocent and shimmering part that longs for acceptance and love. How then do we make the shadow visible? We look at where we are uncomfortable, at where we judge other people, at where we have “charge” or anger. We look courageously at our greatest fears and we walk right into them, emerging the victorious conqueror. When something is dark in our lives or we have created chaos or pain for ourselves, we can ask “What would a person have to believe in order to create……… in their life” and that simple exercise can tease out hidden shadow and shine light onto the wound. We project shadow onto others because of our own woundedness. Heal the wound and free self, others and the world.

“In the end, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and those you love, and work hard. Work like there’s no tomorrow. Train. Strive. Really train and cultivate your talent to the highest degree. Be the best at what you do. Get to know more about your field than anybody alive. Use the tools of your trade, if it’s books or a floor to dance on or a body of water to swim in. Whatever it is, it’s yours. That’s what I’ve always tried to remember.” – Michael Jackson.

In Michael’s “Stranger in Moscow” he wanders the streets alone and in the rain in a video that is black and white. It is a stark picture of shadow projected onto him. His “swift and sudden fall from grace” is the shadow descending upon him. “We’re talkin’ danger, baby.” Look behind the thing you fear most in life, and you will its Bright Shadow counterpart- the part where you shimmer. Look behind your greatest joy and meaning in life and there is where you will find the greatest darkness that can befall you. Michael was given the opportunity to face down his greatest fear in his lifetime. No, it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t just and it certainly wasn’t necessary but from the viewpoint of the soul, it was precious treasure. The “dark night of the soul” is a painful journey but it plumbs the darkness like no other experience. Michael encountered a great deal of the world’s projected shadow.

One of the greatest fears of the human psyche is extinction or annihilation. That shadow fear was up in the world and prominent through the Russian-American arms race and the cold war. Nuclear annihilation was a daily threat. Because of my experience “Stranger in Moscow” has great meaning for me. I took that same walk. Through the streets of Moscow. Alone. I grew up under the specter of “Communists,” “nukes” and potential world destruction: ‘shadow” on a global scale. A photo of St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square would strike fear in the heart of any American then.

So when I went to Russia to work within the Sister Cities Project, I faced my greatest fear—“The Russians are coming!” Instead, I came to the Russians and made friends of my “enemies.” I walked the streets of Moscow and Chelyabinsk alone not speaking the language, not knowing the way, completely vulnerable and utterly alone in order to face down my greatest shadow fears. I left Russia a different woman than I arrived. There is power in looking in the mirror for shadow and facing it down. It restores a sense of freedom and lightness because it releases for use, all the energy that was stored in those dark places.

To get clues about your own bright shadow and its characteristics, look closely at those whom you admire. What is it that attracts you? What makes you smile? What do you admire in them? How do they touch you deeply? The object of adoration is a reflection of bright shadow characteristics of self. Who are your heroes? Your mentors? Whom do you look up to? Where do you find your inspiration? Your bright shadow is in those places, has those same characteristics.

The sun is another symbol of bright shadow. It too is depicted in cultures throughout the world from cave paintings to modern museums. Egypt made it a deity and Central American cultures worshipped it. Where is your inner sun? What energy and emotion lives in your “solar plexus?” Where do you shine? Want to shine? That is your inner bright shadow trying to be born.

We find Bright Shadow in our natural passions. What jazzes you? What tickles you, makes you giddy? What would you do with your “one wild and precious life” if you knew you could not fail? What would you become? Who would you be being? What brilliant contribution would you make to this world? That is the Bright Shadow. That is the Golden Child, the Brilliant You, the Divine Blueprint. That is to “bring salvation back.” That… is getting in touch with your Inner Michael.


  1. sparkle person said . . .

    Yes. This is a wonderful informative post. Thank you!
    People are improving and lots of people are getting feelings of love and knowledge. And Inner Michaels and Bright Shadow. I think it is this is just the beginning and we are going to need our gifts. I thank Michael as well for showing us these things and I thank you for being receptive to share and explain. Peace to you and all.

    Posted January 21, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
  2. marga1961 said . . .

    All for L.O.V.E. Michael was L.O.V.E. and a bright Sun to us. R.I.P God bless you Rev. Barbara, your words are very touching and true. Greetings from the Netherlands.

    Posted April 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  3. Jennifer said . . .

    Thank you for enlightening me. It has comforted me greatly and I’m more aware of shadow and how it comes to be. Could you please share how one can overcome it? Will there always be a dark response to light? How do you handle the shadow that comes after you? How do you fight it, or accept it without being taken by it? How do you warn your child? I’m trying to understand. How do you inspire goodness and love in someone who is met with darkness by giving it? Love and respect, JM [Stay tuned; a shadow explanation and meditation for transforming it recorded in the studio last week is in the final stages of production and hopefully will be released before June 25, 2010. ~Rev. B]

    Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
  4. Jennifer said . . .

    Sitting here, thinking about the questions I just asked it suddenly dawned on me. I have been given the answers. I have been scribbling on my walls some quotes from Michael:
    “Believe in yourself, no matter what…” and, “Always know your worth.” Simple words in context mean so much. These words and their meaning were never instilled in me as a child. Its very important. Love and respect, JM

    Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

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