Trudy Goodman

From Trudy

The Shadow of Thought

It’s Spring, the season of renewal; delicate baby leaves, blossoming trees, new birdsongs.

Here at our spring retreat in beautiful Lucerne Valley, we’re taking time to unplug, sit down, relax, and begin our life anew, breath by breath, step by step.

To sit is to renew ourselves. We can open our hearts to something bigger than our thoughts. The warmth of high desert sunlight, the crescent moon smiling in the cold night sky remind us we are far more than we think.

Our small “I” is a shadow of thought that follows us wherever we go, without ever being fully present in the reality it thinks about. Mindfulness invites us to step outside the shadow of thought into clear, bright presence of awareness. In the light of being present, this shadow can disappear into what Suzuki Roshi famously called “big mind”, the infinite luminousness of consciousness.

Then all the thoughts of I-am — how I am, how I was, how I will be, who I could have been, who I want to be, on and on –-simply pass through the mind, casting a fleeting shadow. Sitting, walking, standing, or lying down, when we’re being mindful, the shadow of thought fades away. We are renewed.

Thousands of years ago, the Taoist master Wu Hsin wrote:

There is a shadow that runs parallel to life.

This shadow is the thought I-am

The movement of life is shadowed by the movement of thought.

One must not forget that that which runs parallel can never touch

That to which it runs parallel…the reality of what is called life.