Letting each other fly

Nasrudin found a weary falcon sitting one day on his window-sill. He had never seen a bird like this before.
‘You poor thing’, he said, ‘how ever were you to allowed to get into this state?’
He clipped the falcon’s talons and cut its beak straight, and trimmed its feathers.
‘Now you look more like a bird,’ said Nasrudin.

To me, each person’s journey inward is unique. The path to truly knowing ourselves, to connecting with all that exists, is totally individual, and completely right. It cannot be conveyed in words, it can only be experienced directly.

Some people call their inward journeys spiritual development, some refer to it as the path to enlightenment, others call it their growing in their personal relationship with Jesus, and some simply call it finding themselves. When people experience a profound connection to the eternal they call it samadhi, or transcendence, or nirvana, or God’s love. Scientific atheists talk of experiencing a sense of awe or wonder and the beauty of the universe.

I think that all of this is one. I think we’re all talking about the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you believe in a god, or the wonder of the universe, or the goodness of the human spirit, or nothing much at all. There is absolute truth. This universe, in all its current mystery, is utterly real. What is, is. It cannot not be. Because it exists, it is true. We might not yet understand it, but it still is. How we experience it is unique to every individual, but it still is, changing and complete, present and vast, immediate and eternal. We only perceive tiny fractions of this ‘allness’.

During our lives we have infrequent glimpses that move us closer to understanding the truth. And so we continue on our internal path to connect to that which is. The journey is hard and confusing. So we often group together to support each other. We learn from those who have taken the path before. We create structures, rituals, texts and experts as guides on the path. These become religions. Sometimes we become convinced that our way is the best, that all others should follow it. Sometimes we lose sight of the inward journey in our obsession with the external guides and signposts, and we clip the falcon’s wings, and stop it from flying.

When we impose our inward journey on someone else, when we expect their experience to be the same as ours, when we believe our way is the only right way, or insist they use the same words as we do, we risk doing what Nasrudin did to the falcon.

So Friend, how will you follow your inward path? How will you share your inward journey with others, how will you support others in their journey, without clipping their wings?

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