The Chaser

The past chases, and we seem to have no option but to flee, or to be overtaken.
The path of life appears as but a race,
Where the goal is to get away as fast and as far as possible.
Some never make it; they fall and perish.
Must we always be only weary, exhausted and fatigued?

I once knew a man who could never outrun his history. And not just his past but his entire genealogical heritage. It chased him while he ran on furiously. He was ardent, but he inevitably stumbled along the way. At least three or four key moments could be said to have been his demise. The chaser never faltered and seemed to pounce as soon as he was down.

Each time he persisted in resisting and rising and continuing to run. But the pauses weakened him. He was slower than before and in the never-ending sprint, the pursuer became so close as to almost be a companion. So near did it follow as to be confused with death itself; that inevitable destination. And so, he despaired when he feared that that which followed him was very same goal to which he naively fled. As if he was on a wheel, where either running or stopping would mean the same tragic end. Oh, the futility of life!

Finally, after ever so long, when all hope was gone, and overwhelmed by exhaustion, he stopped. He simply turned and hunched over, hands on knees. His breath was in heaving gasps but still he faced his hunter. He made direct eye contact, but he did not prepare to fight. He waited. Not angry and not fearful. Just being. He resolved that should his past destroy him, so be it.

And yet, great was his surprise to see that the predator could not harm him.

At that moment, he understood that its only strength is in creating fear, in hopes of either making a victim, (1) collapse in fatigue, or (2) stop to try to fight; in both cases giving up the journey.

“I see,” he thought. “All we must do is to keep going. The goal of the stalker is to make us stop. His only tool is to generate fear by chasing.”

And so, after catching his breath, the man turned, and began to calmly walk away from his past.

He realized he need never run again.


The past is different for almost everyone. We all have happy and sad memories. Those places of sadness can be more pronounced for some: discouragement, abuse, neglect, pain, alcohol, immorality, despair, addiction, desperation, hopelessness, etc.

And yet, the past need not define us, unless we allow it such prominence. Our former days are behind, and we do not also have two eyes in the back of our heads. Therefore, we need never look that way, if necessary. The past is moreover never to be repeated unless we are tempted to turn aside from our peaceful stroll and leap onto a spinning mouse wheel.

But such enticing circular diversions no longer hold the fancy of the matured traveler. Instead there are new preferences: the methodical step after step after step, and each day a facing forward not backward. Nowadays he walks and sometimes runs for fun; but he never flees, for he is no longer being chased.

Most importantly of all—the one thing he will never forget—is that he always keeps going.

© 2019, Alignment Life

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