In June 2009, I attended my first Inner Awakening program with a living incarnation, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji) after having left my corporate life for good. I remembered he narrated an incident from his wandering days and I would like to share this incident because it will help us understand our mind better.
“When I was wandering in the villages of Northern India, I had often noticed the villagers using a novel trap to catch birds. They would suspend a stick horizontally from the branch of a tree. The stick will be hanging from the tree by a rope tied around its middle, that’s all. This stick is the trap for the birds.
You must be wondering – how a stick can trap a bird?
Please understand, when this stick is hanging freely, it is in a horizontal position. When a bird comes and sits on one end of the stick, the stick turns down on the side because of the weight of the bird. Just like a see-saw, one side of the stick goes up and the other side goes down and the stick becomes almost vertical. The bird will end up hanging topsy-turvy, upside down! The poor bird is terrified of hanging upside down! But it thinks that if it lets go of the stick, it will fall head first onto the ground and die. I have seen birds clutching on the stick for hours together, so afraid to let go! It will be fluttering its wings, shaking its whole body, trying its best to get back to the earlier upright position but it won’t dare to let go of the stick!
Have you ever heard of a bird falling and breaking its head and dying?
NO! But foolish bird does not know that if it just let go, it can simply fly! It can be liberated. After a few hours, the hunter comes along leisurely, simply catches hold of the bird and puts it in his cage.”
When I first heard this story, I had a big click – this is the exact story of me and my mind. Just like the bird, I was hanging onto the very thing that is putting me into suffering. Because the bird feels that the stick is its security, it hangs onto the stick to its dear life. But when the hunter comes, not only does the bird lose the stick, but it is captured and caged too. In the same way, we hold onto our mind, onto our life. We think these things are our security. But when death comes, not only all the so-called security becomes worthless, we are also put to death. Since the bird is hanging topsy-turvy, when it lets go of the stick, maybe for a couple of seconds it will start falling. Then it will just simply turn upwards and start flying.
Very rarely, a bird which was once stuck in the trap but had the courage to let go and fly, comes back to save the other birds. The bird who comes back to save the other birds is called an incarnation. Swamiji told us that once he was in the same state as we are. But when he let go, he just started flying, he became liberated. All it will take for us to regain our balance is a few seconds. Have courage and do it. Courageously facing those few seconds of chaos is what is called Tapas – spiritual practice.
From this incident, Swamiji then gave the group of seekers a very powerful initiation into science of unclutching and he declared that that he has brought enough powers in this body to liberate us, just let go of our mind and we will simply fly. Even if we were to fall, he puts a safety net under to support all of us. He will be there in our consciousness, just unclutch, let go, do not be afraid.
That was such a powerful initiation! Many of the participants in the hall had tears in their eyes, totally moved by the compassion of the Master. I can say that from that day, the courage to let go becomes a part of my bio memory!
From my personal experience, you can see how you try to hold on to your mind, thinking it is going to save you from the fall in life. But if you are courageous enough to let go of your mind and be able to trust the Master and be ready to face the moments of chaos through spiritual practice, you will see that you regain your balance and freedom. Simply you can soar again like a bird to great height and be liberated from the clutches of life. Namaste! 😀