Sunday, July 11, 2010

Scratching In The Dirt

The Blackfoot Indians tell this story.

While climbing in an area of steep cliffs, an Indian brave came upon a eagles’ nest. There were several eggs in the next, and he managed to steal one and carry it back to his village. He placed the egg in a hen’s next, and after it hatched, the young eagle followed the mother chicken about and grew up believing itself to be a chicken.

All day the young eagle walked about with its head lowered to the ground in the same way the chickens did, scratching in the dirt, pecking at worms and seeds.

One day, when the eagle was fully grown, he looked up and saw a magnificent bird soaring in the heavens. He went to the old grandmother hen, who knew many things about the world, and asked, ‘What’s that bird, Grandma?’

"That's an eagle," answered the old grandma hen.
"How wonderful it must be to fly so high," he said.
"Yes, it must be, " she agreed. "But forget it. You're a chicken."

So without further question, the eagle lived out the rest of his life a chicken, scratching in the dirt.

The rest of the story is . . .

Interviewer: Excuse me, could I ask you a few questions?

Chicken-eagle: Sure.

Interviewer: I heard that you have seen the eagle flying high in the heavens.

Chicken-eagle: Oh, yes. How wonderful it must be to be so free. If I could fly like that I’d be the happiest creature on earth!

Interviewer: Did you know that this spiritual book says ‘You are an eagle.’

Chicken/eagle: (with attitude) No way, buddy. Have you lost your mind. I’m a chicken. Can’t you see me here scratching in the dirt like all the other chickens!

Interviewer: This book was written by an authority who says . . .

Chicken-eagle: Are you calling my Momma a liar? She said I’m a chicken, so I’m a chicken. Okay? If I was an eagle, why would I be sleeping in this chicken coop every night?

Interviewer: But those wings of yours. Surely you can fly high with wings like that?

Chicken-eagle: These wings? They’re too big! I tried opening them once and knocked three other chickens in the head. Gave them black eyes. The other chickens didn’t like that one bit. I’m never going to do that again.

Interviewer: At least you can see that you are different than the other chickens.

Chicken-eagle: It’s awful, isn’t it? I don’t know what I did in a past life to be cursed with this ugly body. My wings are too big, and this beak makes it so hard to eat seeds and bugs.

Interviewer: Do you like eating those bugs and seeds?

Chicken-eagle: Of course! . . . . (sheepishly) well, honestly, I really don’t. But you see, I just try to be real nice and not make waves so that all the other chickens will accept me. Maybe in my next life I’ll be more like everybody else.

Interviewer: If you don’t like to eat bugs, then why do it?

Chicken-eagle: The wise-old chickens say it builds character. Suffering is our lot in life. And besides, I should be grateful that I have bugs and seeds to eat!

Interviewer: The spiritual master, who wrote this book, says he can even teach chickens to fly like an eagle.

Chicken-eagle: And leave the other chickens! Are you trying to get me killed? Every bird knows if you go off from the chicken coop, a fox could eat you.

Interviewer: But you said if you could fly high like that you’d be so happy.

Chicken-eagle: Listen, man, even if I could, I just can’t go flying off like that. I’ve got responsibilities! Can’t you see! I’ve got to eat these bugs and seeds.

Interviewer: What if there was something you could do in this life to find a greater freedom.

Chicken-eagle: Oh, well, I’ve been taught the way since childhood. See that black rooster over there? He teaches us that if we eat enough bugs and seeds and get real fat, we’ll get to go to heaven. Then we’ll be happy.

Interviewer: Do you believe that will work?

Chicken-eagle: Of course. Why else would all the fat chickens disappear?


Spiritually, are we not eagles? --- How do we know?

Are we the slave?
Or free?

NOTE: The initial parable came from Harold Klemp, Unlocking the Puzzle Box, pg. 35

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