No escape but stillness

"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."

  -- Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu

This, my reading this morning, seems to mesh beautifully with something my friend Teresa posted on Facebook today:

"We can view depression not as a mental illness, but on a deeper level, as a profound, and very misunderstood, state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own false story of ourselves. It is an unconscious loss of interest in the second-hand — a longing to ‘die’ to the false" – Jeff Foster

For a deeper explanation of this concept, you can link here.  But at the very least, it seems clear that we will continue to get nowhere when we insist on running from the true self; that it's only when we stop and engage with the root of being that we can finally begin to find peace.


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