Indeed, You Throw a Shadow

flame lily 6.1-24

In certain parts of Africa, people wishing to show that they recognise one another fully, and that they are real to one another, will often say, “Indeed, you throw a shadow.” The phrase implies that there are people around who are just not real. Their world is one full of illusion.

What is actually real? In our day and age it’s a question uppermost in our minds. What is real? Lance Armstrong can create an illusory world around him and dupe millions. Beyonce, in front of thousands, can express all the emotion and gestures of singing a song, yet lip sync her way through it. The illusions around us are legion. They’re not only around us, but in us as well. Surely to perceive reality as it really is becomes all important. I don’t think we can fully do that, but learning to see and experience it as deeply as possible, is of the essence..

Some years ago I discovered Zen and it’s art of insight. I’m still just a beginner and always will be. I know very little, but this one thing I do know, nothing has quickened my sight to my surroundings and liberated me from my inner illusions, as this path has.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Discernment, inspiration, Life, Photography, Poetic Imagination, Spirituality, Transformation, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Indeed, You Throw a Shadow

  1. Interesting saying. Funnily, I’ve never heard it before – would have thought I’d have. I think it show great insight. We do seem to have lost touch with reality in this world of ours today.

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    • Don says:

      It seems it’s a saying that has it’s roots in North Africa. Its very simplicity makes it so profound. I agree, we have lost touch with reality. Sadly, there’s so much that causes us to avoid reality. Thanks for your comment. appreciate it.

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  2. Greg. says:

    Einstein spoke about understanding the difference between what is true and what is real.
    Therein lies much relevance, but it ‘aint easy!

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    • Don says:

      It sure is not easy, Greg. When he said those words, what exactly was he referring to? Was he only speaking about concrete physical reality, or other dimensions as well?

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  3. ladyfi says:

    Sometimes it’s just easier to go with our illusions… Nice, thoughtful post.

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  4. wisejourney says:

    nothing has quickened my sight to my surroundings and liberated me from my inner illusions, as this path has…..great line: Thank you

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  5. nrhatch says:

    Zen does allow us to see things more clearly and feel them more deeply . . . perhaps a glimpse beyond the veil?

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  6. Hudson Howl says:

    ‘I’m still just a beginner and always will be’……that’s so Zen.

    Your a good student, that is obvious.Reflecting as to what is real and what is not, does as you eloquently suggest, walks side by side with reflecting on what is important and what is not -it should be simple but it is not an easy walk to get there I suspect. Thank you for sharing in a practical and thoughtful manner.

    Your shadowy palms reminded me of a Sculptor Professor/good guy from my past. He had done a piece consisting of two iron snake that faced one another and were elevated by few mm’s over a slab of cement. The snakes were elements as in 220V wired. So when they were switched on they became red hot an the glow of there form was reflected onto the cement -paused to look into the other as well reflecting on themselves.

    Am not sure I’m of Zen material but I can drift pretty good. I have only delved into the surface (Zen) at best. On my desk sits two books, one is titled ‘How to Build A Log Cabin’ , the other is titled ‘Hardcore Zen’ written by a one time Punk Rocker turned Japanese Monster movie maker turned Zen priest.

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    • Don says:

      Hudson – Thank you. You’re a very affirming person. That piece you’ve described must have been quite something to see. As you described it I could imagine the image and the shadows cast. That Punk Rocker must be quite a guy.

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      • Hudson Howl says:

        The piece…… thought and conversation generating, however he failed to install a thermostat so the glow was short lived.

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      • Don says:

        What a shame. But then snakes are also cold-blooded. They have their own in-built thermostats – lol

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      • Hudson Howl says:

        Ha. Your right!……his thinking was flawed from the onset. I don’t think the piece ever seen the light of a gallery, more part of the process of discovery: thought and learning. He was a serious man who did not take things to serious. Your words remind me of him.

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      • Don says:

        Ah! the process of discovery – now that grabs me Hudson.

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  7. katy says:

    What is actually real? W ho knows any more. On a lighter note a relation of mine worked for a local newspapaper. When certain photos were sent in for publication they were “touched up”!! A bit added to a nose, some padding around a persons middle.
    Technology really does make finding anything genuine a minefield.We are surrounded by genuine fakes it seems. I do like that saying Ï see your shadow” A few words with a lot of meaning

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Katy. I think it becomes even worse when we begin to lose our ability to distinguish between real and unreal. We can become so attuned to the fake that we actually begin to believe that it is real. The fake simply becomes the norm. That for me is deeply tragic. Yet what a joy it is when you come in contact with that which is real – so refreshing and energizing.

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