Pigeons, Feathers And All

              All types of art hold the possibility of mirroring our interior ideas, deeper insights and personal philosophies. As well, they can be symbols or vehicles of spiritual truth. This is so with this image by André Jolicoeur (click here for his website) which I call "Pigeons, Feathers And All"  or  "Lies My Teachers Told Me." Our teachers  are parents, professors, relatives, wisdom figures, church leaders, social institutions, etc., any persons or organizations that hand down traditions and precepts about life. All teachers inevitably feed us feathers, bones and all. However, it is only as we move through life, do we begin to access the real meat under the feathers and around the bones. This becomes possible with an approach of respectful openness. With such an attitude we are able to discover the real meat: "My meat is to do the will of him who sent me," Jn 4:34. What follows are various explanations of how we can develop such a stance.

Three Basic Paths
We Can Choose To Travel
As We Respond To Life . . .
......  We can be afraid of life and go along with laws, norms, expectations of others, using them as our excuse not to take responsibility, not to take risks.  We do not trust ourselves and have a general feeling that we can't do things right, that we are guilty whenever we do not conform.  This response does not allow the good in us to emerge for fear of the evil that might surface.  It keeps us from realizing that God is calling us to birth, to life in every situation.

..... We can strike out against the law, the norm, the standards, the expectations of others, and refuse to deal with question of whether there is something of worth, dignity, beauty to be found in them.

...... We can say "yes" to the situation by respectfully looking at the norms, the laws, the expectations of others, and by dealing with our own personal response to reality.  In this case we must be willing to deal with what is born in us as the result of the choice.  Some of what is born will be incredibly beautiful.  Some of what is born will appear to be sin, contradictions, ugliness.  We have to take responsibility for and celebrate both the beauty that evolves and the ugliness, contradiction, sin which evolve.  These latter are healed and become occasions of growth when we expose them to the light and warmth of other people's love. 

 -- from a program called Guilt and Trust, TABOR PUBLISHING

Buddhist Readings
About Different Paths

He who treads the Path in earnest
Sees not the mistakes of the world;
If we find fault with others
We ourselves are also in the wrong.

-The Sutra of Hui Neng

"How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?"
"By not halting friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood."
"But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?"
"When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood."

- Buddha, "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha"

There are three ways of seeing life. In one people stick fast. In another they go to excess. In the third they see correctly.

In the first way, people take pleasure in all the things of life --in possessions and happenings, in families and continuation. When a teaching is proclaimed that advises non attachment and going beyond the dictates of the self, their heart does not leap up and they are not drawn to it. In the second way, people are afflicted by hatred of life. Just as attached to life, they nonetheless revile it and make a bad thing of it to excess.

In the third way, people see life as it is -- forever being and ceasing to be. They accept it willingly but are not attached and do not despair. It is they who begin to know the unconditioned.

-Itivuttaka Sutta

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East Blends With West Before The Holy One