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.
The old eagle looked up in awe. ‘Who’s that?’ he asked.
‘That’s the eagle, the king of birds,’ said his neighbor. So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.” Anthony de Mello SJ
When women and children are rescued from an abusive home, and can choose between a safe shelter or returning "home", most choose the hell they know rather than face a freedom they've never experienced. It's so easy to rigidly imprison ourselves in nihilism, hoping that this tiny self-created prison (the hell we know) will protect us against possible disappointments (unknown freedom). Dark humor: 'No sense being pessimistic, it wouldn't work anyway!' Even false optimism has been shown to work better than pessimism. But by far the most effective, balanced & intelligent approach is "leaning in" with curiosity, into ALL aspects of our life, especially those we fear ***, to learn as deeply as possible about ALL that life has to offer.
*** “Jung said that it is exactly where you feel most frightened and most in pain that your greatest opportunity lies for personal growth.”
Robert A. Johnson. “Inner Work. Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth.” HarperOne, 1986. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." Marie Curie
“I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with those we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.” Gus Speth
"Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry asleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics – Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion – are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare."
Anthony de Mello. “Awareness. The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.” Doubleday, 1992.
“Ultimately, however, your path is unique to you, and it begins in the darkness of not knowing and the simple yearning of your own heart. As Nisargadatta Maharaj said, ‘You must find your own way. Unless you find it yourself, it will not be your own way and will take you nowhere.’ You need to be willing to sit in this darkness, recognizing that the truth is hidden here, without immediately leaping to claim easy answers or proven practices. ‘To live in the know is bondage,’ adds Nisargadatta. ‘To live in the unknown is liberation.”
Stephan Bodian. “Wake Up Now. A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening.” McGraw-Hill, 2008.
“As we travel through life, we are all seekers
after something larger than ourselves…”
Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer PhD
Alysha Brilla "Immigrant"