Over the last few days, I was led to the idea of discussing shadow aspects. These are aspects of our personality that we keep hidden, locked away in the attic reserved for insane people, much like the insane wife in Jane Eyre.
Shadow aspects are personality traits we have that we are most likely not even aware of. In fact, we most likely actively deny having these traits. We are firm believers that we are not that kind of person. Some of us try to suppress these and lock them away. Some of us project these traits onto other people. We see them all over, we judge them, we don't understand why people are like that, and we are quite happy to know that we aren't like that. We are wrong. We are projecting our shadow aspects to those around us.
The path of purification is one of discovering and acknowledging our shadow aspects. The first step is to accept that we do, in fact, have them. Then we need to discover what they are. Once that is done, we need to acknowledge them and not deny them. We need to keep them out in the open (in our minds - not publicly for everyone else. They need to move from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind) so they are not suppressed. Then we need to tell them, and ourselves, that they do not have a place in the life we want for ourselves, but we do understand that they are there. We do not want them as part of the person we want to become, so we will keep them under control, and not let them control us, but in order to do that we can't be in denial about their existence.
Have you though about your shadow aspects? We all have them. If you choose to start discovering them, be prepared for pain. Do it when you feel ready, when you feel you can go no further without facing this enormous obstacle. And remember, Daoists have no obstacles. :)
For more reading on shadow aspects, consult the writings of Carl Jung. He was a great Daoist-Gnostic, though I'm not sure he would have identified himself in that way.