The Bird who watches the bird eating the fruits

“Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes. The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he recognizes the worshipful Lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more.” ~ The Upanishads: Breath of Eternal Life, translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester.

The ancient sages and mystics of India said the same thing that Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within.” One way to connect with the Divine inside you is to practice cultivating the Witness.

Cultivating the Witness Consciousness means attuning with the Bird who is watching the bird eating the fruits, which is to say aligning with your deepest self and observing all of your thoughts, words, feelings, and actions. Creating and nurturing this connection, between your deeper witnessing mind and your surface acting mind, can help you to feel more peaceful, loving, and kind towards yourself. The Bird who is watching the bird is like a compassionate friend who is always with you, showing you the truth of how things are with neutrality and wisdom.

Cultivating the Witness is a practice you can do anytime, anywhere by just simply stating the observable facts to yourself. For example, if you are waiting in line at the grocery store, you can witness your thoughts and feelings, and then think to yourself, “Some impatience and irritability are passing through me.” Once you witness what’s happening, then you can work with it skillfully by deciding to focus on gratitude, or to say a prayer, or to send blessings for goodness to all of the other people waiting in line. In this way, your deeper observer self can help your cranky surface self to transmute the frustration into loving kindness. So, cultivating the Witness is a great tool for working with difficult emotions.

In the tree of your life, can you see the Bird who is watching the bird eating the fruits? Do you take time to nourish a loving connection between these two birds?

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Photo of birds and blossoms by Zane Lee on Unsplash.

 

Into the Fire

As the musical fantasy film begins, each character sings “I wish…” setting the stage for the Disney movie’s central theme: angst over desires. When I saw Into the Woods (Christmas 2014 with Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp), I loved it so much that I went to see it again the next week. At that time I was forty-four years old, and I had been consumed for decades by a burning desire to meet a charming prince on a white horse who I was just sure would complete me and make me happy. So that movie really touched some deep chords. For me it was a profound external acknowledgement of the unsatisfied yearnings inside me. Anyone who is suffering over unfulfilled desires can find comfort by watching that movie. And, at the same time, it is possible to change our desires and free ourselves of that misery.

For years I prayed to be free of that desire for prince charming. It seemed hopeless because the desire was so strong, but then, by a series of what seemed like unfortunate events, my desires changed. Now I am writing my own new movie called Into the Fire, in which I have taken responsibility for my own happiness. I am married to God and the Spiritual Life, and I now see that as a blessing.

The ancient sages and mystics in India taught the same thing that Jesus taught, that the Kingdom of God is within. The Fire of Divinity is inside each of us already. We just have to sit still and tune in, inside, to that Fire. Everything in all the universes is inside each of us already. When we go inside ourselves regularly, in sitting meditation, or walking in nature, with practice we begin to find more happiness within our own beings than we could ever find with another person.

In the Radiance Rising section at the beginning of my new book (before I begin the fascinating story), I offer an extensive list of spiritual practices that will help you to also find happiness within. To order your copy now, please click on the book’s title here, The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.

So, we have a choice. We can go Into the Woods, crying about what we want and can’t seem to find. OR, we can go Into the Fire, burning through the desires for external things, and finding our happiness inside our very own selves.

I bow to the human condition, and I pray for the happiness of all beings.

 

 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech