I re-read the deal I made with myself, having just smoked a cigarette. The deal I made with myself was that I would just smoke one more day, yet I cheated on the deal and I’m smoking now.

What is seen here is the shadow: you make a prediction or a promise to yourself, convinced in all sincerity that you will upkeep it, yet you surprise yourself at breaking the promise. What is revealed when you look at the conundrum with equanimity is that the situation stems not from a lack of will, but out of lack of self-knowledge.

Should you have full self-knowledge about yourself, the decision about smoking would have happened earlier: I know that if I meet up with these guys for a game of Risk I will smoke again, and that is likely to go downhill.

The shadow is especially present in addictions. Because we suppress the urges we have it manifest in sleights of hand of the mind, just once more and I will quit tomorrow are the most elementary, but it can get quite sophisticated.

The shadow is not something to be eliminated. It is to be embraced and understood. The shadow is reduced in the same amount we gain knowledge about ourselves.

Regarding manipulation and deceit I learned nothing new by repeating the game of Risk. Yet, regarding myself, I learned a little bit more.