As I went outside to sit on my balcony on a pleasant June afternoon, I was surprised to see a dead bird lying just outside my balcony door. After saying a prayer for the bird, I asked the help of my apartment’s maintenance team to remove it from my balcony (call me a girlie girl, but I definitely could not take care of this myself!). When the gentleman who works for the maintenance team came over, he told me that he has often seen birds pass in this way, by trying to fly through glass doors and windows. This statement got me thinking, because it seems to me that us humans are not much different from the birds – at some point in time, we all try to fly through glass windows, only to crash and fall. Thankfully, as humans, as long as we are living and breathing, we have the opportunity to pick ourselves up and try again.
So often, we march forward in our lives, heading in a direction that seems so clear and right. We imagine our lives with the new job, relationship, or house. And, so often, as we steadfastly move toward these desires, we are jolted to a sudden halt – we hit a glass window. It could be that we don’t get hired for our dream job, or that unforeseen issues arise in our relationships, or that our new house just doesn’t feel as cozy as the old one. Or, it could be our own internal limitations that jolt us, such as our fears, anxieties, or projections from past experiences. Regardless of the specific cause, we are suddenly called to a halt as we crash and fall.
How we respond and recover from the fall determines whether we will march forward on a new, clearer path, or simply get up and run into the same glass window again. Often, we do not have the ability to control the events that led to the initial jolt; but, we do have the power to decide how we react. We may get covered with dirt and incur wounds from the fall, but can we take time to brush off the dirt? Can we practice patience to rest while allowing our wounds to heal? Perhaps we can then take time to look around with a new perspective, to re-examine our surroundings and the direction that we are heading before getting up to fly once again.
Or, we can jump up, weighed down by the dirt, still in pain from our unhealed wounds, only to run into the same glass window again. Now, sometimes we need to repeat an experience in order to truly learn the lessons that we are meant to learn. However, perhaps we can also learn a lesson from the fallen bird on my balcony. Perhaps we can cultivate the tools to avoid running into the same glass window again. And, although we may run into a different window at another time and place, perhaps we can begin to see that life offers us these experiences as opportunities for our continued growth and healing.
As for the fallen bird, may his soul be blessed with a new birth in which he may continue to live, learn, love, and grow.
Hari Om Tat Sat