Winner: 2013’s Blog of the Year
You’re sitting there trying to figure out which road to take. Are you this, or are you that? Should you be in school or at a job? And what job? Working for who? And who should you be in a relationship with? Or should you be in a relationship at all? Should you choose this city or that one? This car or that one? Should you have skipped this party to be at that other one? Should you have said this or that? Blah blah blah goes our heads.
Shoulda coulda woulda. If our aunt was a man she would be our uncle. Why are we even thinking/talking-to-ourselves about what-ifs? Our speculation is meaningless. There is no point in using our thoughts to want to be somewhere or someone else. We need to stop having internal conversations where we wish we had a different history. Our lives are sitting still while we have those incessant internal conversations.
There are no wrong choices, there are only the choices we make. Seriously. We need only be present where we are, because no amount of planning will give anyone a safe and secure path through life. Us being safe and secure is not the point. Us being alive is the point.
Our life is not a set of events. Let’s go over that again: our life is not a series of events.
Our life is a stream of experiences. So we need to stop trying to manage the events and start to more fully live the experiences. Because two people can be at the same event and have vastly different experiences. The difference between them is not where they were, or what was happening outside of them, the difference was what they chose to focus their attention on within themselves.
That choice —the choice of what we invite into your awareness— is what forms our life experience. We need to stop thinking about how we wish we could fly, and start re-imagining ourselves as someone who already can, because the only thing keeping us grounded is our belief that we can’t ‘fly.’
You’ll see me post Tony DeMello talks on my social media occasionally. Tony was a Jesuit Priest, but more importantly he was an enlightened psychologist and a hilarious guy. He used to tell a story about all of us. I’ll paraphrase/rewrite it from memory, but you can read his version in his excellent book Awareness—I would highly recommend reading it. Tony was an excellent guru. Here’s the story:
Someone once took an egg from an eagle’s nest and placed it under a barnyard hen. A chicken sat on the egg and eventually it hatched. All his life, the little eagle grew up with chickens, and he did as the chickens around him did. He walked around, pecking at the ground for worms and insects, clucking and cackling. And like them he occasionally fluttered his wings for a short hop through the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he was pecking away with all of the chickens in the yard and a large shadow passed overhead. The barnyard eagle looked up in awe at a magnificent, giant golden eagle. It hovered effortlessly over the farmyard, held aloft by only a small breeze. The little bird turned to the chicken next to him and asked, “Who is that?!”
The other chicken looked up to see the eagle floating majestically, high above them. “That is the eagle. He is the King of the Sky. He has the freedom to fly wherever he chooses.”
He’s magnificent,” said the little eagle. “I so wish I could fly like he does.”
“Yes, that would be nice,” replied the other chicken. “But the eagle belongs to the sky. And we are chickens. And chickens belong on the ground.”
And so the eagle turned away from the sky, and looked back down to the dirt in the barnyard, where he began scratching and pecking at the dry ground again. And in the end that little eagle never did fly. Instead he lived and died, on the ground, scratching and pecking, just like all of the other barnyard chickens–because that is what he thought he was.
We are not chickens. We are eagles. Everyone needs to stop looking downward in some panicked effort to find more, or better, scraps than our neighbour. We must forget competing with the chickens of ego. It is time to fly.
We must stop using the weight of our own judgmental thinking to hold our spirit down. Instead, we should use that energy to empower the wings of our imagination to lift us to heights we previously did not know belonged to us. We’ll not only have a much greater perspective that way, but our freedom will be an inspiration to all of the other chickens still on the ground.
There is no right or wrong way to fly. There are no good or bad paths through the sky. There is only flying. So let’s go be eagles.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.