A while ago I found the following line in a book I was reading, “We live in a world of shadows”. My curiosity immediately came to life. Even though my rational mind had a hard time comprehending, something in me responded.
The question we can ask ourselves is this: What is a shadow? What creates a shadow? What makes it possible for a shadow to appear? A bird flying through the air casting its shadow on the ground. What is the shadow? The shadow is a reflection. What is being reflected? The bird. That being said, it is obvious that it is not the bird itself casting its reflection. Before the bird we have the sun. The sun is there, and the light gets expressed through a shadow.
Perhaps this is a nice analogy, helping us to relate to our problems and challenges in a different way? The problems we are facing are always closely connected to the person. Me with my story, my definition, my weakness and strength, all the different roles I am playing. Me having a problem with that. If, in the midst of a problem someone pressed Stop, creating space for us to find our way back to our innermost being. Would we still relate to ourselves as the person we thought ourselves to be? Would the problem exist independently? Would the other still exist?
If we study ourselves carefully, we might experience that both the person having a problem and the problem itself would disappear. I think our essence is much like the sun. We make everything possible. We create the world and everything in it. The world outside reflects our inner world. Each problem a shadow casted by our pride, our assumptions, our opinions, our definitions, they themselves being shadows casted by our body, our person. Everything is perceivable. By whom?
“When the self is known,
All illusions vanish.
The veil falls,
And you see clearly.
Your sorrows are dispelled.
For the self is free
And lives forever.
Everything else is imagination,
Because she understands this,
The master acts like a child.”
– Ashtavakra Gita