Flight from the Shadow

man running from shadow

Photo from Silas Manhood Photography Ltd http://www.silasmanhood.photoshelter.com

“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 assumption to go faster and push harder to overcome something is ingrained in so many of us. But does it really work? What would happen if you tried ย different approach?…

Of course, you won’t know unless you experience it for yourself.

Today, take time to slow down and consider other possibilities, beyond your habitual thinking. Find your middle ground.


*Merton, Thomas. The Way of Chuang Tzu (Second Edition) (p. 155). New Directions. Kindle Edition.

43 thoughts on “Flight from the Shadow

  1. I used to run, run, run from my anxiety… stay busy, never sit down, stay in motion. Now I sit down or lay down and do my breathing exercises, read a book, or read blogs. A quiet walk works too. My Mom-in-law runs around to outrun anxiety. It’s exhausting emotionally and physically. Powerful story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing your experience! It is exhausting to keep running away from what we think we cannot face. I’m so glad you are enjoying taking a break and breathing well ๐Ÿ’›


  2. This is so true Val. I spent the first 40-something years racing against myself to catch the next thing (whatever that might be), only to find myself exhausted and empty.

    I’m dedicated to spending the next 40-something years resting and enjoying the journey rather than the potential rewards further down the trail.

    Liked by 1 person

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