Flight from the shadow
   
     

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Contemplative Taoism/daoism

Taoism is about how we perceive the world around us and what we can learn from what we see.
It is not a religion nor a belief system.
This story/verse is from the The Way of Chuang Tzu (translated/interpreted by Thomas Merton).
These verses were designed to stimulate insights, considerations and encourage further contemplation.
The meaning will deepen as your capacity to understand grows:
 

There was a man
who was so disturbed
by the sight of his own shadow
and so displeased
with his own footsteps,
that he determined to get rid of both.

The method he hit upon was
to run away from them.
So he got up and ran.

But every time he put his foot down
there was another step,
while his shadow kept up with him
without the slightest difficulty.

He attributed his failure
to the fact
that he was not running fast enough.
So he ran faster and faster,
without stopping,
until he finally dropped dead.

He failed to realize
that if he merely stepped into the shade,
his shadow would vanish,
and if he sat down and stayed still,
there would be no more footsteps.

 (Chuang Tzu)
 


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Page created 18 March 1997
Last updated 15 December 2016