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About the book

In this groundbreaking exploration, three New York Times bestselling authors—Debbie Ford (The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Why Good People Do Bad Things), Marianne Williamson (The Age of Miracles, A Return to Love), and Deepak Chopra (Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment)—deliver a comprehensive and practical guide to harnessing the power of our dark side..

Buy book: Amazon

Year published:  2009


Quotes from the book

The Shadow Effect (Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson)

  • You get the emotions you think you deserve. Deepak Chopra
  • You are not in the world. The world is in you. Deepak Chopra
  • The level of the problem is never the level of the solution. Deepak Chopra,
  • Only in the presence of an unwavering commitment to facing our demons does the doorway to self-discovery open. Debbie Ford
  • To the shadow, the light is an enemy. But to the light, the shadow is nothing. It simply does not exist. Marianne Williamson
  • More damage is inflicted by people who think they have it all together than by people who have been humbled by the realization that they probably do not. Marianne Williamson
  • We can’t fight darkness with darkness. We have to find compassion, and embrace the darkness inside of us in order to understand it and, ultimately, to transcend it. Debbie Ford
  • We heal when we feel forgiven. We heal in the presence of compassion. If you really want someone to change, the miracle lies in your ability to see how perfect they already are. Marianne Williamson
  • Just as you take a shower or bath in the morning to get yesterday’s dirt off your body, you do your spiritual practice in the morning to get yesterday’s thinking off your mind and heart. Marianne Williamson
  • Inside you is the cause of every war. It is your violence, hidden and denied, that leads to wars of every kind, whether it is war inside your home, against others in society, or between nations. Krishnamurti
  • Big, blown-out fantasies about our lives stem from the pain of our unrealized potential, but true dreams are a reality we are willing to work for, fight for, stay up late for—this is a future that is within our reach. Debbie Ford
  • [When asked if she held any anger towards Hitler] I wouldn’t hold on to any anger toward Hitler. If I did, he would win the war, because I would still be carrying him around with me wherever I went. Edith Eva Eger, Auschwitz survivor
  • How much better this world would be if more of us would cultivate the sacred in our daily lives. Our busyness is often our enemy, making it hard for us to slow down long enough to breathe in the ethers of the spiritual planes. Marianne Williamson
  • Whatever we judge or condemn in another is ultimately a disowned or rejected part of ourselves. When we are in the midst of projection, it appears as though we are seeing the other person, but in reality we are seeing a hidden aspect of ourselves. Debbie Ford
  • Our power to override their destructive intensity lies in our ability to love with as much conviction as they show in hate. Hating with conviction, they draw forth more hatred; when we love with greater conviction, we will draw forth more love. Marianne Williamson
  • Sometimes, we forget that we ever wanted anything different from what we have. The repetitiveness of our toxic memory can lure us into years of accepting more of the same and wasting away in a mediocre existence that fails to meet even our own expectations. Debbie Ford
  • Every one of us has constructed an ego-based identity in which we have assigned ourselves an acceptable role that eventually smothers our full self-expression. Rather than being who we really are, we become a characterization of the person we think we ‘should’ be. Debbie Ford
  • Only when we stop pretending to be something we are not—when we no longer feel the need to hide or overcompensate for either our weaknesses or our gifts—will we know the freedom of expressing our authentic self and have the ability to make choices that are based on the life we truly desire to live. Debbie Ford
  • When we expose our dark side, we understand how our personal history dictates the way we treat those around us—and how we treat ourselves. This is why it’s imperative that we unmask it and understand it. To do this, we must uncover what we’ve hidden and befriend the very impulses and characteristics that we abhor. Debbie Ford
  • Although ignoring or repressing our dark side is the norm, the sobering truth is that running from the shadow only intensifies its power. Denying it only leads to more pain, suffering, regret, and resignation. If we fail to take responsibility and extract the wisdom that has been hidden beneath the surface of our conscious minds, the shadow will take charge. Debbie Ford
  • Poet and author Robert Bly describes the shadow as an invisible bag that each of us carries around on our back. As we’re growing up, we put in the bag every aspect of ourselves that is not acceptable to our families and friends. Bly believes we spend the first few decades of our life filling up our bag, and then the rest of our life trying to retrieve everything we’ve hidden away. Debbie Ford
  • We possess every human characteristic and emotion, whether active or dormant, whether conscious or unconscious. There is nothing we can conceive of that we are not. We are everything—that which we consider good and that which we consider bad. How could we know courage if we have never known fear? How could we know happiness if we never experienced sadness? How could we know light if we never knew dark? Debbie Ford
  • When we hold on to our resentments toward ourselves or anyone else, we bind ourselves to the very thing that has caused us pain by a cord stronger than steel. As my dear friend Brent BecVar shares, refusing to forgive those who have hurt us ‘is like being a drowning person whose head is being held under water by someone else. At some point you realize that you have to be the one who fights your way back to the surface.’ Debbie Ford
  • It sounds strange, but feelings have feelings. Being part of you, they know when they are unwanted. Fear cooperates by hiding; anger cooperates by pretending it doesn’t exist. That’s more than half the problem. How can you heal an unwanted feeling when it’s trying not to cooperate? You can’t. Until you make peace with negative feelings, they will persist. The way to deal with negativity is to acknowledge it. Nothing more is needed. Deepak Chopra
  • We all have a mental image of what a desirable physical body is like—trim, healthy, youthful, fresh, pleasing to look at. But we don’t use those qualities with regard to our emotions, our ’emotional body.’ The emotional body, like the physical body, must be properly nourished. It can grow tired and flabby when the same responses to the world are repeated over and over. It becomes diseased when exposed to toxins and unhealthy influences. Deepak Chopra
  • t’s ironic that to find the courage to lead an authentic life, you will have to go into the dark rooms of your most inauthentic self. You have to confront the very parts of yourself that you fear most to find what you have been looking for, because the mechanism that drives you to conceal your darkness is the same mechanism that has you hide your light. What you’ve been hiding from can actually give you what you’ve been trying hard to achieve. Debbie Ford
  • To be a whole human being, we have to acknowledge the existence of all our feelings, human qualities, and experiences and value not just the parts of ourselves that our ego has deemed acceptable, but everything that we have deemed wrong or bad. If we are willing to allow our dark side to be a part of the whole of who we are, we will find it comes equipped with all the power, skill, intelligence, and force needed to do great things in the world. Debbie Ford
  • The conflict between who we are and who we want to be is at the core of the human struggle. Duality, in fact, lies at the very center of the human experience. Life and death, good and evil, hope and resignation coexist in every person and exert their force in every facet of our lives. If we know courage, it is because we have also experienced fear; if we can recognize honesty, it is because we have encountered deceit. And yet most of us deny or ignore our dualistic nature. Deepak Chopra
  • Why do we have access to so much wisdom yet fail to have the strength and courage to act upon our good intentions by making powerful choices? Why do we continue to act out in ways that go against our value system and all that we stand for? […] It is because of our unexamined life, our darker self, our shadow self where our unclaimed power lies hidden. It is here, in this least likely place, that we will find the key to unlock our strength, our happiness, and our ability to live out our dreams. Debbie Ford
  • I believe that the shadow is one of the greatest gifts available to us. Carl Jung called it a ‘sparring partner’; it is the opponent within us that exposes our flaws and sharpens our skills. It is the teacher, the trainer, and the guide that supports us in uncovering our true magnificence. The shadow is not a problem to be solved or an enemy to be conquered but a fertile field to be cultivated. When we dig our hands into its rich soil, we will discover the potent seeds of the people we most desire to be. Debbie Ford
  • Your character defects are not where you’re bad, but where you’re wounded. But no matter who or what caused the wound, it’s yours now and you’re responsible for it. The only person who can bring it up and release it is you. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you got your character defects anyway. They’re yours now. You can’t live with a sign around your neck saying, ‘It’s not my fault. My parents were difficult.’ Your only way out of your conundrum is to take total responsibility for those defects. Marianne Williamson
  • Like the lotus flower that is born out of mud, we must honor the darkest parts of ourselves and the most painful of our life’s experiences, because they are what allow us to birth our most beautiful self. We need the messy, muddy past, the muck of our human life—the combination of every hurt, wound, loss, and unfulfilled desire blended with every joy, success, and blessing to give us the wisdom, the perspective, and the drive to step into the most magnificent expression of ourselves. This is the gift of the shadow. Debbie Ford
  • Let us not underestimate the power of the shadow. It’s not enough to just meditate sometimes; we should meditate daily. It’s not enough, if you’re a recovering addict, to attend a meeting every once in a while; you should attend a meeting every day. It’s not enough that we forgive a few people; we must try our best to forgive everyone, for only love is real. If I withhold it from anyone, then I withhold it from myself. And it’s not enough to love only when it’s easy; we must try to expand our capacity to love even when it’s hard. Marianne Williamson
  • The shadow does not leave when it is attacked; it heals when it is forgiven. We do not take off our shadowy mask in the presence of someone who blames us, but rather in the presence of someone who says through words or behavior, ‘I know this is not who you are.’ We miraculously heal in the presence of someone who believes in our light even when we are lost in our darkness. And when we learn to see others in the light of their true being, whether they are showing us that light or not, then we have the power to work that miracle for them. Marianne Williamson