The shadow dancers hang out in the cave with their backs to the light. They move and create shadows on the cave wall and mistakenly believe that it is the truth. They play with their shadows to make pleasing images. But they never experience the pure truth, because they are not willing to face the light.
Shadow dancers replace the inquisitive mind of wanting to know what the truth is with the intrigue of the images they can create when they distort the truth. Note that without the light, there is no shadow. Shadow dancers draw on the power of the light, but rather than having the courage to face the music, they play with the light.
By not facing the light, they do not have to surrender to it and look at the way things are. By shadow dancing, they can have a sense of control of the light and dance with it on their terms. But what they create is not real, but rather a pleasing distortion. It is contrived. It is maya. This is how human beings create a story about the way things are, rather than directly perceiving the truth of how things are.
We have all indulged in shadow dancing. Shadow dancing is a choice in any given experience. Do we choose to face the light and be part of it on its terms, or do we dance with its shadow to have a pleasing experience?
Shadow dancing is hedonistic. It is not overtly destructive, but rather subtly distracting. Its sin is that by shadow dancing, we seduce ourselves away from the light. We indulge in it rather than directly experiencing the truth and unfolding our dream of what we came here to do. We can spend life lifetimes shadow dancing and miss the opportunity that life offers us. It is a tough pill to swallow when we wake up and see that we could have danced in the light, but rather chose to dance in the shadows.
Shadow dancing is rampant these days. Many in their spirituality opt to have far out experiences, rather than surrendering to the light and discovering their essential nature. Many structure their entire lives and retirements around enjoying the good life.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with creating a pleasing life, but it is no substitute for dancing in the light.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009 and will publish my second book Natural Way of Being in 2018.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.