“I won’t even stop at the valley’s brook for fear that my shadow may flow into the world.”
The person who wrote this does not want to wander off their path to visit a local stream flowing to the world. They are afraid their shadow, a reflection or mimic of their actions, will be carried off by the brook. Sometimes we are afraid to get too close to the actions, or flow, of the majority of locals around us. We are afraid that our shadow will join them, that our “personal echo” of our own unique actions or path with just get muddled in with the rest of the populous.
This is a genuine concern. We must not be afraid to get close to those around us, or even to join them in common activities. We must however, be aware of where we were going, not so we can follow that path blindly, for the branches of a tree go far more places than the trunk. Instead, it is so we make sure that we don’t get carried away with concerns of general acceptance in lieu of following our own path we were taking.
Each of our journeys through life are unique, and as such, each of our journeys to enlightenment are different. Respecting this while living a normal life, that is the key.