|The Guru's Cave, photo by James Wilson|
Many genuine thanks to James Braha and Peter Dziuban for sending me such encouraging emails about Awakening Clarity yesterday and today. They're fine teachers, fine writers and just plain nice people. Between James, Peter, Scott Kiloby and Jerry Katz, I'm getting some "uber-peer" review on AC, which is really helpful.
Peter was actually one of the first people to point me toward doing some writing in this field. James and Scott also suggested it, and now here is Life, presently inclusive of an apparent new image, a blog and living experiment called Awakening Clarity, yet all the while Life neither changed nor expanded. Fascinating, is it not?
Let me also say thank you my always terrific next-door neighbor, James Wilson, who came over yesterday and took a picture of the wren’s nest. It’s far better than I could have taken, which is precisely why I asked him to do it.
I'm getting quite a bit of email from others hovering in and around the mysterious (to me) blogosphere, so let me say thanks and that I’m getting back to everyone as fast as I can. Peter kindly reminded me to eat and sleep. Betsy will be tickled to hear of that advice.
Our golden retriever, Gustopher Robin Hackett-Davis, is pushing me to credit him for his many positive woofing noises about AC (in between snores) over this past week. While my insidious ego wants to Web post every positive gush, it should be noted that Gus’ praise can easily be bought for the price of a bit of rawhide, so take anything he tells you and cut it squarely in half.
The Wren’s Story, Part II
If Momma Wren happened to be a talking bird with an average human being’s point of view and you asked her what had transpired in the last few weeks, she would tell you something like this:
“Oh, it’s just been terribly difficult! I flew and flew and flew, looking all over the place for a safe place to raise my babies. It’s a dangerous world these days, you know. Finally I found a nice snug spot, out of the rain, adequate sun, a windbreak right behind it—oh, just right I tell you! And then, then for God’s sake—can you even believe this?—just about the time I get some eggs in there, along comes this monster dumping water on the thing!
“I go to all the trouble to find a spot out of the rain and then he louses it up! I can’t say that what he did was directed at me personally, but neither can I say it wasn’t. It’s suspicious, I know that. He’s all over the place with that wretched can of his, wreaking havoc with every stop! You’d think he’d have better things to do.
“And then there’s my husband! Mate for life, we wrens do. We’re bonded, for God’s sake! Yet he refuses to carry his own weight. Get this: I’ve laid every egg we’ve ever had! Can you imagine? Every single egg. Then he makes a big show out of helping “build the nest” and “guard the nest” and “feed the children”. Rot. There’s nothing to all that. But him lay an egg? Never on your life.”
Fortunately the wren in question is not a talking bird, and she does not show human qualities. As a result, what the wren does is her job. And she doesn’t make a fuss about it. She’s content to do her job as it morphs: now scouting, now building, now laying, now raising, and finally resting until the cycle begins again. It comes around three times a year for wrens, somewhat less often for humans.
The first question many people will ask after reading this little analogy is, “But is the wren happy?” This question only arises when the bird is seen to be the center of the world. It implies that the happiness of the wren is more important than the babies. Babies are seen to be adjuncts to the central figure, starring figure, namely us in the guise of a wren.
“Is the wren happy?” implies that the purpose of the world is to make the wren happy. So the wren is not a tool within and for Life, but rather Life is a tool outside of and for the wren. That is the clear implication for the wren, and it is the same for us.
The health and balance and simple beingness of the yard and neighborhood is, on a relative level, more important than any single wren, even if it’s Poppa Wren and his name is Fred. On an absolute level it must be seen and accepted (but only if we’re looking for peace) that, hello-hello, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE WREN!
From the standpoint of nature everything has a job to do. It may be to raise babies, or to be eaten by a cat. Three years ago I had a wren’s nest on the same porch, in a similar basket. She had babies, too. We were so excited. And when they morphed into ants in the course of a hot summer day, I took it personally. I could see it was not supposed to be like that. I had a pre-conceived storyline, and Life wasn’t following it.
I suffered. But I didn’t suffer because something bad happened to the little baby birds. I suffered because something bad happened to me! I didn’t get what I wanted. My projections didn’t turn out. My future-event storyline was broken. My expectations went unmet. Life was seen to be lacking.
I got into an argument with reality and reality won, just as it will at every turn. “But only 100% of the time,” as Byron Katie would say so sweetly while she smiled.
So far as I know, the pair of wrens from three years ago was not admitted to any crisis hospital. I never noticed a line of counselors or mourners. What’s to counsel? Life is as it is. What’s to mourn? Everything changes, but nothing is ever gained or lost. Life is as it is. Always.
At every moment I can choose to see what is through the limitless eyes of Life Itself, or the extraordinarily limited and necessarily self-centered eyes of an individual. In the first instance I will be free. Maybe happy, maybe not so happy, but always free. Peace is beyond the happiness I’m speaking of, which is condition-driven.
Really I am speaking of joy. Freedom, peace, joy: these are three words which really mean the same thing here. And I cannot have this freedom, neither this peace, nor this joy, until and unless I value truth more than I do comfort.
In the second instance, if I choose a story, no matter how great or grand or apparently permanent, or seemingly special due to its apex of happiness or nadir of horror, I will eventually suffer. I may fly today, but I will be walking tomorrow and crawling the next day. That’s just the way it works. I’m not saying it’s bad, or even that it’s the wrong choice. I just say let us make these decisions consciously, rather than by default.
My resident wren does not have a story. She does what she does without projection, without complaint, without expectation. And that is her teaching: Do your job and shut up about it. Everything is as it is. And all is well.