Updated: Dec 10, 2022
If you're going to call yourself a practitioner of anything you had best be ready to have the universe recognize you as one. Perception and Imagination are said to use the same neural pathways to deliver information to our brains which means that while the conscious you may aware that you're "just kidding, imagining, or dreaming" your unconscious brain has absolutely no idea the difference between the what's real or not. As a result in most cases you will react as if the event is real much like when you fall in a dream and jerk your physical leg. The initial chapter of Prometheus Rising teaches you to become aware of the components that make up this process. The conscious & subconscious creation of ones reality comes into perspective, as we take a mirror to confront the Shadow Self.
The name, Shadow Self, as foreboding as it seams actually betrays a great deal of the more magical parts of the Shadow Self's job. It has the responsibility of manning your Critical Factor, that it to say that its in charge of defending your Reality. In the first Chapter of the Course text, Prometheus Rising, we find that Wilson refers to something like it as The Prover half of the Thinker and Prover pair.
("pg 25. The human mind behaves as
if it were divided into two parts, the Thinker and the Prover. The thinker can think about virtually anything. ...The prover is a much simpler mechanism, it operates on one law only; Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves.")
An example of this in action would be if someone where to tell you that your name was Tom despite your actual name being Eva. Your Shadow may run a swift fact check against things you already know and then return the answer that Tom is not your name. Without a Critical Factor anything you perceive would become part of your natural reality. Someone would tell you that the earth is flat, and you would go right along with it. Your Prover side would gather all the necessary information to make that statement fit into the puzzle that makes up your perceived reality. It even backs up that event with a burst of dopamine to make you feel comfortable and happy about your current state. If someone isn't willing to change a belief then the reality you are offering to them is less compelling than the reality they are currently living in.
Singular beliefs when put together create what are called belief systems, and those belief systems when put together create what is called a reality tunnel. In a world of spirituality and magic having a strong critical factor may keep you out of trouble but it also will prevent beliefs that go against or dismantle your current reality. You can imagine how many of those you'll come across while learning your craft. Having a broad or flexible reality tunnel is the aim of this course. If you are having trouble accessing your power, or connecting different correspondents or even accepting that the energies we are talking about exist your Shadow self may be the one to blame. Luckily there are times and ways to "Recalibrate" "tune" or even "bypass" this factor. Right now you are demonstrating the easiest instance of a bypass. When you are learning something new you subconsciously put your critical Factor in "secondary mode" so you can take new information before applying that same Critical Factor Check. With as little as a bit of awareness of the Shadow you can tune times when you want to accept something new before tossing it out. With practice you can get your Shadow self to recognize you as the authority and accept
Our brains have evolved to tirelessly defend our current state of reality. Your Shadow self, like you're true self, is not perfect at this job however, and will make decisions on your behalf if needed and even go so far as to "lie" in order to keep your reality from crumbling. (overly emotional responses and misinformation) Where Logic drives conscious decisions, your Shadows decisions are driven by raw emotion and if you look at it through the Astrological, you'll find that the "Prover" or Shadow share many symbolic meanings as with ones Moon sign. It is how we naturally react, how we feel the most secure, our natural feminine chaos before creation and our "Natural Mother," in charge of protecting our Mental states. Believe it or not knowing that we have these traits is what allows us the sense of stability and comfort to "get through the day" But is also the reason the walls of our reality may be more solid and difficult to mold than others. (you can start to see where we're going with this)
There is a fun way to become more and more aware of the point we are trying to make in the course text. Wilson enjoys testing the Critical Factor in the following experiment. And the cool thing about it is the fact that you can get quite wealthy from doing it.
Envision a coin, (Wilson advises a quarter) as vividly as you are able to.
Next time you're out & about search for the coin you envisioned.
Once you have found it, explain it logically and take note of how long it took. There are millions of lost, dropped, and misplaced coins all over the world. Eventually you were bound to find one, right?
Now, complete the same task again, Envision a coin and while you are out look for it.
This time when you find it, explain that you made it appear. Through nothing but sheer willpower and magic this coin was attracted to your vibrations.
Compare the time taken to find each coin and come to a conclusion, was it magic? Or was it Logic? (There's more to the exercise in the text, but this section is really all you need from chapter 1 to become aware of your Shadow.)
You may begin to see that you can control the material purely based on your mindset~