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Two Birds

While merrily pecking at the juicy fruit, the bird was startled to spot another bird on the adjoining branch. The bird eating the fruit noticed that the other bird had no fruit to eat. Yet, it didn’t attempt to either snatch from the first bird or utter the usual call note for a request to […]

While merrily pecking at the juicy fruit, the bird was startled to spot another bird on the adjoining branch. The bird eating the fruit noticed that the other bird had no fruit to eat. Yet, it didn’t attempt to either snatch from the first bird or utter the usual call note for a request to share. Also unusual was that it didn’t try to reach other fruits in the tree. Perhaps it wasn’t hungry, as the bird eating the fruit thought. Then it wondered: Why the constant stare and an expression of contentment? The other bird sat still and kept looking at the bird eating the fruit. There wasn’t a shred of emotion in the eyes or fluttering of wings that usually helped a bird understand another’s thoughts. It was unnerving! The bird eating the fruit felt that the other bird might still try to snatch the fruit. However, the other bird didn’t move.

After eating the fruit, the bird flew up into the sky. Even from far above, it spotted the other bird sitting on the branch, with the same express of satisfaction on its face. The first bird wondered at the paradox. It ate the fruit, yet wasn’t satiated. The other bird, despite not eating, seemed content. Perhaps the other bird had already eaten. Then why keep looking like that? Dismissing the entire thing as a mere hallucination, the bird flew high up in the sky.

It’s not a hallucination. In fact, these two birds reside within us. They’re known as the mind and the soul. While the mind continues to be attached to innumerable worldly objects, the soul remains completely detached. Filled with desires, the mind constantly craves something or other. It keeps devouring, cater as it does to the whims of the senses. However, it lacks a sense of fulfilment. The soul, on the other hand, sits observing the mind without reacting, forever content and blissful.

Life keeps giving us glimpses of the silent bird (soul). However, as was the case with the bird that ate the fruit, our mind too is unable to make sense of the soul, not realising that it is our true self. Next time you realise the presence of the other bird sitting still without a demand, acknowledge it. That will make the mind ponder, instead of going berserk with its mad cravings, and eventually stop it from succumbing to temptations.

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