The Golden Cage
“The wing structure of the hornet, in relation to its weight, is not suitable for flight, but he does not know this and flies anyway.”Albert Einstein
While doing some research for yesterday’s installment of these chronicles, I stumbled on an Indian gentleman blog page, telling the tale of a bird, a parrot and a golden cage. In these days of forced confinement, this metaphor reminds us that our minds and hearts can find enlightenment and freedom in every event that life throws at us, even if we are forced to give away some of our comforts. This is the integral content of that page, references are at the end.
“There was once a king, who heard the sweet song of a bird. A bird that was able to fly to different branches of different trees, roam in the clear blue sky or thunderous showers. It could see the whole world with it’s wings whenever it wanted. It enjoyed its freedom. However, the King was in love with the birdsong and wanted to hear it every morning.
The King’s Assistant caught the bird and placed it in a golden cage filled with diamonds, and other precious stones. However, the bird didn’t like the cage because he couldn’t fly and this deeply upset him. He would weep and the King thought the bird was singing a beautiful song and was immensely happy. Unknown to the King, he felt the bird appreciated the golden cage and precious gems, who wouldn’t love it?
One day, the King’s Assistant was assigned to clean the cage, whilst doing so, at the most opportune moment, the bird flew out and didn’t look back. He flew to the nearest branch, he could find.
Watching all this was a parrot and the parrot was annoyed at the bird and said to him, ‘What are you thinking? You had such an amazing home, you had to just sing beautiful songs for the King and you was given a golden cage. You are an idiot for giving up those precious gems. You didn’t even take one out when you left. You have lost everything with your so-called freedom’
The bird listened and after giving some thought, he replied to the parrot, ‘You may live in the cage if you like it so much but I prefer the freedom of roaming in the sky, living day by day and being happy because I am alive.’
Before the bird was intending to finish, the parrot flew inside the cage.”
The moral of this story is that we as human beings love to be caged under doctrines, repeat whatever isn’t our own experience, we bound ourselves under religion, nationality, race, gender and color. If by some chance, someone decides to be free, to tread on a path that no one is willing to walk upon, we think they are crazy. However, if we really want the Truth, if we really want enlightenment then we have to do it alone and be willing to live moment to moment, whatever it brings. Yesterday, today and tomorrow will be the same for the parrot in the gems-filled, golden cage. However, every day brings in a new possibility for the bird that found it’s freedom again.
Likewise, if we are stuck on a body level only, then we will only be subject to the laws of the physical. If we choose to let go of this cage of the mind, invest time in thinking, in inquiring about what stops us from living the truth then we can truly transcend the time and live as consciousness, a pure awareness, as the Formless.