Losing Everything Again

Wind Compass

Just over a week ago I wrote about seeing two pigeons fighting over a piece of bread. They were so intent on their argument that they failed to spot the seagull coming in and taking the bread. They ended up losing everything.

Watching the same flock of birds, yesterday, it struck me that there was something else that we could learn from the response of the losing pigeons. They were strutting around in the sun, or simply resting in the spring heat.

But they were still there. They had not suffered permanent damage from their loss. In fact, I remembered that, after the fight, having lost their meal, they turned around and carried on about their daily business. They simply got on with their lives.

Maybe that is something else that we can learn. How important are material things? In fact, how many of us can say that our very lives totally depend on our next meal? Yes, there are people in the world for whom one meal could mean the difference between life and death. Yet for most of us, that is simply not so. In fact, for many people the problem is not that they cannot find enough to eat. Their problem is that they find too much. With the statistics on obesity showing a growing problem, how many of us really need to worry about missing a meal? The reality is that if we were to drop our plate of food, we would simply go and get another.

So what is the lesson? Why make a big issue of a material loss. We were born with nothing; and if you have spent any time in the emergency unit of the local hospital, you know that none of those material things matter when your life is at risk. Plus, of course, the end of life signals the end of using those material things.

Can we not learn, then, to let go when we suffer loss, and just get on with life, instead of complaining bitterly about it? Can we not take the loss with equanimity?

This will only happen if we have the right view of material things compared with the value of life.

It is all a matter of perspective. Maybe we just need a bird’s eye view.

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I Used to Travel by Train

I used to travel by train
From this station.
Then life changed.
I was made redundant.
And my boss tried to pretend he was sorry;
Apologetic.
And I said, “Thank you.”

He seemed to have difficulty believing
That he was doing me a favour;
Making my life easier.
He couldn’t grasp
That he was helping me to fulfil
A long-term ambition,
A dream;
A personal goal.

So I said, “Thank you.”
And he couldn’t believe it.
And, now, I live the life I’ve planned
For such a long time;
While he has to get up every morning
And commute to a job he’s done all his life,
Even though he no longer enjoys it.

And I travel by train
Past the same station
To a life of fulfillment
That benefits other people
And leaves me with
A sense of accomplishment
And satisfaction.

And I look at all the people
Rushing by
To their dream jobs.
(So why do they all look miserable?)
And I think to myself,
“It’s the clutter;
“They don’t have time to enjoy life.”

Minimalist lifestyle;
Simplicity;
Mindfulness;
Contentment.
A simple eye.
Its all
An attitude of mind.