Once in a while, when I’m out in the field making photographs, a strange feeling comes over me. I feel pressured to find a subject and I start hunting for a photograph. I’m rarely very productive when in that frame of mind until I remember an old Chinese story from the Taoist text, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu . (Coincidentally, the story is a favorite among my Tai Chi students.)
Long ago, there was a man who was afraid of his own shadow and hated his footprints. He tried to avoid his shadow and his footprints by running away. But, no matter how fast he ran, his shadow always kept pace and his footprints were always there. Thinking that he was running too slowly, he ran faster and faster until he was exhausted and fell down dead. He didn’t understand that, had he relaxed in the shade, he would have rid himself of his shadow and by resting in quietude he would have ended his footprints.
In today’s frenetic society many of us try to resolve our problems by working harder and moving faster. Sometimes slowing down can be of much more help. I know that when I remember this story I relax and am much more productive.
Thanks for dropping by.