I was re-reading a book last evening by the late Anthony de Mello where a parable was shared in the Forward. It reminded me how much we shape our own reality in all areas of life by the labels and limitations we place upon ourselves. Here’s the story…
“A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
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“It’s only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events by which the path to success may be recognized.” I Ching
Naked, undiluted reality can be a harsh or even bitter foe in confronting the conditions and challenges of our everyday life. On a global level, wars, natural disasters, disease, famine, political turmoil and terrorism can “take a toll on our soul” as we search for meaning by asking “why” things have to be this way.
On a personal level, the economy, our financial circumstance, illness, moments of family trials and turmoil and even routine disappointments can cause us to seek an escape to a better “reality” through fantasy, distraction, or simple denial.
I’ve shucked and ducked “reality” more times than I care to share or admit, even to myself. It’s a human reaction but it doesn’t have to be our only mechanism for maintaining our mental sanity and emotional stability.
“Reality” can also be a joyous recognition and embodiment of the beauty that surrounds our everyday existence–love, kindness, caring, sharing, and the opportunity for growth and achievement. The chance to make the world and the reality in which we live a better place. The opportunity to pursue our passions and our personal bliss.
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