Thursday, March 01, 2007

Common Mind Grows Common Brain

Some time after my mother died I was walking by a peaceful spot of green, and just as a thought of her came and how she would have liked to have been there, a little gust of wind riffled some grasses, all by itself, and the words "I am not far away" arose in my mind. She is where she would ever want to be.

Those who are no longer in life surround me. They surround us all. Not that most people care. We have learned to ignore them. Sometimes for good reason.

There comes a time when one has to forgive them and to ask their forgiveness for things one has done or failed to do. With the past left behind, they become present in spirit, present to one's own spirit. But not to the brain, not as an external object.

One can pray for their closeness to God and hope they may return the blessing.

Following this awareness, birds flew into my life.

The first one through the door was a monk parrot found flopping in the gutter, disoriented and unable to fly. Old and dying. He was able to hop around the house, though, and looked wistfully out the window toward his tree and the rest of his flock. He so wanted to fly to them, but he could no longer fly.

Food was ignored. The evening of the third day, after watching the sun set, he fell out of a perch in a ficus he had crawled to and I gently put him in his nest box. At ten PM he said the three words he knew - geek, grawk, and shrike - in a weak, gentle tone. By morning he was gone.

Since then I have watched flocks. One mind flying. I cleaned house and adopted a chick. She's one of the world's smallest parrots, a lovebird. A happy little camper. She's teaching me as best she can.

Man prides himself on logical thought and on discovering what causes what. Bird brains appear to be simpler and look to see associations between things. A small plastic hook once fell off a toy in birdie's playspace. She picked it up in her beak and carried it up a ladder to lay it against a similar hook at the top of the ladder. She wanted to see how they would connect if they were introduced. They had so much in common!

Scientists study the mechanisms for connectedness. Little lovebird has a patch of blue in her tail that would be seen by a bird following close behind. When she spreads her tail feathers, as one might to land, an orange eye appears in the feathers on each side. Baby has stop-and-go lights.

So the perception of connectedness may be all in the mind. But then, so is the sense of self.

While our individual lives may connect in a collective subconscious, they connect also over the internet these days, and that connection is becoming ever more profound. When the time arrives that I can play my flute in America in duet with your shakuhachi, a new harmony may infect us all.

Common mind is not yet cosmic mind. It is earthbound, focused on what happens here. While one is in the body, feet upon the earth, there is the possibility of reaching upwards, pushing beyond the mere focus on the earth to come to what is universal.

In silence we meet.


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