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Chapter 3: Flight from the Shadow

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.

Man creates his own confusion just because he goes on rejecting himself, condemning himself, not accepting himself. Then a chain of confusion, inner chaos and misery is created. Why don’t you accept yourself as you are? What is wrong? The whole existence accepts you as you are, but you don’t.

You have some ideal to achieve. That ideal is always in the future - it has to be, no ideal can be in the present. And the future is nowhere; it is not yet born. Because of the ideal you live in the future which is nothing but a dream; because of the ideal you cannot live here and now; because of the ideal you condemn yourself.

All ideologies, all ideals, are condemnatory because then an image is created in the mind, and when you go on comparing yourself with that image you will always feel that something is lacking, something is missing. Nothing is lacking and nothing is missing. You are perfect as far as there is any possibility of perfection.

Try to understand this, because only then will you be able to understand Chuang Tzu’s parable. It is one of the most beautiful parables that anybody has ever talked about, and it goes very deep into the very mechanism of the human mind. Why do you go on carrying ideals in the mind? Why are you not enough as you are? Just at this moment, why are you not like gods? Who is interfering? Who is blocking your path? This very moment, why can’t you enjoy and be blissful? Where is the block? The block comes through the ideal.

How can you enjoy? You are filled with so much anger; first the anger has to go. How can you be blissful? You are filled with so much sexuality; first the sex has to go. How can you be like gods celebrating this very moment? You are filled with so much greed, passion, anger; first they have to go. Then you will be like gods.

This is how the ideal is created, and because of the ideal, you become condemned. Compare yourself with the ideal and you will never be perfect, it is impossible. If you say “if,” then bliss is impossible because that if is the greatest disturbance.

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