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3 Life lessons I learned from observing the shadows.

When I practice mindfulness, I start becoming aware of the true beauty that moves around me. There are so many little things around you right now, which can become a source for unlimited joy and wonder, only if you observe them. Observing moving shadows is my fascination.

One morning I was going in the bus and observing another moving bus going in front of us. After a while I noticed a shadow which was moving silently with the bus. It was so delightful to observe how the shadow was going exactly at the speed of the bus!

It is so obvious a fact that a shadow is just a part of the real thing and thus shares exactly the same nature of movement as the real thing. But here I had some very original questions:

  • What if the shadows got lazy and fell behind? How funny would they look like trying to catch up to the running bus?
  • What if the shadows got impatient and tried to run faster than the bus?
  • If the sun decided that it wouldn`t cast a shadow for this bus, how funny that would be?

In this delightful and silly contemplation I came to realise a few important things about nature that I would like to share with you.

1.) Nature is neither too fast, nor too slow and nothing remains undone!

Everything in nature has its own pace. Sun never rises faster and moves faster to finish the day early. It has found a perfect speed and rhythm through years and keeps on going with it. This rhythm of nature has an everlasting beauty in it.

And yet here we are! So many times we tend to rush things to reach desperately wanted results! Our desires are strong, and they make us want the results badly. But desires don’t get results. A desire is just a force to move your mind toward taking an action. To expect anything more from a desire is already a sign of madness.

The shadows told me that they reached the destination exactly when their source reached. They were neither early nor late!”

The thing to wonder about is: “how does nature find that perfect speed for things to happen?”, and how can we find that perfect speed and flow that suits best with our personality?

2.) There is a quality of selflessness in nature

Shadows don’t have a self. They don’t have an ego. They do what needs to be done silently and without doubt. The more I observe the trees, the wind, the passing of day and night, the more I see the lack of a purpose. These things just happen as an expression of life.

The ‘purpose’ is created by the self or the ego. We create a ‘purpose of life’ because we cannot accept that life could be meaningless. It just couldn’t fit into our reasoning that all this existence is without a purpose.

But once we accept that there is no purpose, we are free to do anything that is necessary. We can become truly selfless and work without excuses, just like the sun and the shadows!

When ‘I’ becomes irrelevant in your work, then only you will be able to do something bigger and more meaningful than what your ‘ego’ can perceive.

By losing the ‘self’ you truly become a part of the nature and start listening to other things that might be important!

Of course, a ‘purpose’ or a ‘goal’ is important to have a direction in life, but they should never become your life. Goals, plans and dreams are just a part of the game, but the game of life is much bigger and full of wonders.

3.) There are no excuses or laziness!

When you devote your life to selfless work, you remove laziness and excuses from your life!

When I am too overwhelmed by my goals and desires, I try to let go of them for a day or two. I sleep much better when there is nothing to achieve and I can wake up early just to enjoy the beauty of an early morning!

No matter how much you obsess about achieving your goals, there are times when they seem futile. There are times when your goals are a burden more than a motivation. It may happen because you are taking them too seriously. Because of this burden, you tend to lose your efficiency and become lazy or start making excuses for not doing something that you should.

At these times, if you let go of all of them, let go of your self interest, and decide to do your work selflessly, you will find the energy and enthusiasm to work!

Doing something just for the sake of it is probably the best way of doing it. You enjoy your work most when there is no reason to do it!


I started with a mindful day where I observed some shadows, reflected on the phenomena and came to these few lessons that I learned! The original questions came only from the moment of observation in the present. And here are the three points in conclusion:

  • Find a perfect speed and rhythm for your life and work. Don’t try to rush things.
  • Find an element of selflessness in your work and life. It is a beautiful feeling to work selflessly.
  • Give up laziness and excuses and just do!

I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you a few insights, or helped you remember something that you can do/ or not do. Thank you very much for reading! 🙂

Image credit: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “3 Life lessons I learned from observing the shadows.

Add yours

  1. That second observation is the big one… at once both disconcerting and liberating. In the quest for “higher” purpose, it suggests that we are left merely to create them for ourselves… existential nihilism, assuming even the existence of free will. Consequently, from the Buddhist perspective, even that search for “purpose” can be a form of grasping.

    Is that a bad thing? All I can say is that in my own life it’s resulted in reading the likes of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, and many others (including some scientists) who’ve contemplated finding any meaning beyond that of momentary pleasure in such an empty existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment , always generating interesting discussions. 😊
      Yes today a lot of people seem to be talking about “my purpose of life” sort of a thing. I don’t know why we need to create such purpose for life which in itself is so unpredictable and unknown.
      I think it’s not always the bad thing.
      A ‘purpose’ gives you a direction in which you can focus your thoughts and actions to make efficient use of mind. But when the ‘purpose’ is taken too seriously, it ruins the fun of life. It is like forcing your life to mean something that it doesn’t!
      The meaning of life is best left to be discovered as we live through each moment observing the wonder and beauty of nature.😊

      Liked by 1 person

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