Not My Shadow


I was reading about the Myth of Sisyphus, a very peculiar story about the absurdity of this man’s life, a figure of Greek Mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a rock up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. Ronald Rolheiser compares the life of Sisyphus with the lack of interiority, when our actions no longer issue from a center within us, but instead are products of compulsion. We do things and we no longer know why. We overwork, but are bored; socialize excessively, but are lonely; work to the point of exhaustion, but feel like our lives are a waste (The Shattered Lantern).

The journey of interiority is a forgotten way that is disappearing in this new society. Relationships tend to be very superficial, and in many occasions we will never show the realness of our humanity because as another friend said, “To show kindness shows you’re weak.” We are more concern about showing off our successes than our weaknesses; we are creating perfect models and forgetting the beauty of our humanity. We are loosing the beauty of finding ourselves, because if we do that, we are afraid we are not going to like what we will see. Raw humanity is uncooked, without any created flavors, and for many it could be a little hard to swallow. So what we would do is to start seasoning it, covering it with all kinds of natural and artificial condiments, so we can soften the raw flavor. In a way we are loosing the natural taste of who we are and we keep rolling up and down our stone thinking that eventually we will accomplish something, but in reality we are living an absurdity. We have replaced interiority with superficiality, so that is why at the end of the day we feel empty, frustrated and without any sense of direction. We lost contact with ourselves, lost in a strange world that it continues to drive us away from discovering the beauty within us.

Society in general is creating a life that, unconsciously we do not really desire, but we fall into the rush that this produce in us. We admire people with perfect bodies, and great careers. Have you ever read a story on a business magazine about how the failure of a company brought a new discovery in the lives of the people who were involved in this failure? Have you ever seen a chubby or big guy in the cover of GQ magazine, and admire the good attributes of the people who was interviewed? Superficiality has filled our friendships, our business interactions, and part of our daily life. We get into the attitude of “I will show you who I am not, so you will never discover who I am”. We have changed sincerity for pretension, honesty for a false appearance, interiority for superficiality. And the most hurtful in all this is that we have taken this way of thinking into the world of the church and it has become a faithful member, damaging what true religion should be: a journey to find our true self in the hands of a higher being. That is why we are called hypocrites, because we have forgotten our interiority, our humaneness, and we are just showing a shadow of whom we really are. But this is not only a church’s illness, is part of life and lives in most of the places we interact with each other. That is why we can not forget ourselves, and we need to keep walking out journey to find ourselves, as Pema Chodron says, “Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others.” I am not showing you my shadow, hopefully you can know who I am.

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