Are birds freer than you?

Birds flying to rooftop bar to drink some beer after a tough day of work at sea; photo credit to Kee Straver (flickr)

At one moment or another, we’ve all felt jealousy towards birds.

‘Damn, I wish I can be those birds right now. Fly away to Maldives and drink some Mojitos and listen to the waves…’

Today was a tough day at work for me, and I was thinking just that, looking at the birds flying above me. I was like,

‘… You luck birds! Take me too, take me!’

But this time, I didn’t just stop there, being jealous. I actually thought about,

‘Are they really freer than me?’

And I realized that is not quite true, and that I shall rejoice in my own freedom that is bigger than freedom of any birds on this planet.

Becuase, it’s not like a bird comes up with an idea and say,

“Hey y’all, what about building a huge tower of stones so we can knock out these humans who cut off our trees?”

And the rest of the group goes,

“What a fabulous idea! You are genius. Let’s do stone them!!”

And they all fly up, look for stones, and build these towers to stone all the tree-cutters.

I do knot know much about birds, but I doubt that’s what they think about and communicate to each other.

A bit more probable picture might look like this:

“Guys it’s my ass is freezing around here, aren’t yours too?? I think it’s time to move South and find new home for some months.”

“Good call, let’s do it.”

What birds do – eating, flying, deciding where to build their houses, etc. – are all conditioned responses to the their immediate physical environment that are built in their DNA through years and years of evolution.

And as much as I love gorgeous birds that can fly, I don’t think they ever have moments of intuition like: “Mm… if I can get together hundreds of my friends, we could feast on this human living alone in the woods!”

If they could, we won’t have Warden or not much of Zen buddhism in this world, which would be a tragedy.

And I think that’s because birds are not capable of imagining a different way of living than the way their ancestors did.

However, a human is capable of holding a vision that had never appeared in any of her ancestors consciousness.

The decisions we humans make are part derived from our observation of the immediate physical world, and part derived by our reflection and imagination upon it.

And most of the time, innovation and fun things happen when these two things are fused together in our mind, not just one day or a week, but consistently for a sustained period of time.

Although we can’t physically fly, we fly far higher dimensions in our mind.

So, in a sense, I think we are far more free than birds.

We can observe what’s in front of us, and imagine a different story, other possibilities, test them, find what works to bring that better story into our lives, and share with others.

So let us ask, what vision do I see? What will I make and share?



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