Saturday, April 3, 2010

Am I a Rescued Chicken?

"Although the Siva Samhita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika mention the period of time within which success might be achieved, Patanjali nowhere lays down the time required to unite the individual soul with the Divine Universal Soul."
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, first half of the 55th paragraph of the Introduction.

Over the last several years, step by step, I have been walking in the direction of myself. Prior to this part of my life I think that I was mostly buffeted around by the forces that delivered me to the moment where I could start to look for “myself” within all the activity of life. “What do I want?” has not always been a easy question for me to answer.

I remember this story I heard on NPR quite a while back. It was about some really nice-sounding people who allowed rescued chickens to live in their yards. I think one open-hearted lady was from New Hampshire. She said that when the chickens first come to a real yard with sunshine and grass they are confused. They have lived their lives up to that time in close confinement with other birds, and they are disabled because their legs are barely strong enough to carry their enlarged breast-flesh around. But the miracle is that over time they begin to see themselves as individuals, when at first the person being interviewed for the story had the sense that the chickens were unaware of themselves in that way. …something about the close confinement with so many other birds in the artificially lit or darkness of factory farming conditions… In a yard environment with caring human friends they began to show their individual, unique personalities and to enjoy their new lives. How inspiring!

This story stays with me because I wonder if I see a parallel with my own development here. Having been raised in a family and society of people with so much already in motion, I didn’t have a chance of understanding everything even though I tried to. And after a time I learned to look to myself to see what I wanted and needed out of life. I found environments, like yoga classes, that supported this, and started to feel happier even though it wasn’t always an easy road.

In the above paragraph from Light on Yoga, Mr. Iyengar talks about the individual soul being united with the Divine Universal Soul, which is of course a definition of Yoga. When I read this a part of me recognizes that I have just started to know myself! I think I have initiated a friendship with my soul, and that feels good.

It's been hard enough to try to see my own soul, but in yoga we are looking for a union beyond that, and when that happens we might find ourselves going for a real ride! Cluck! Cluck!


Linda-Sama said...

there comes a time in our life when we truly know our destiny, we truly know what we have been living for. who knows at what age that deep knowing occurs, it is different for all of us. that is called knowing that you know. and I thank god that I am capable of such joy.

YogaforCynics said...

This reminds me of a less optimistic story I read a little while about a tiger...or lion...or panther...anyway, a large jungle cat, that spent its life walking back and forth in a tiny zoo cage, until the zoo decided to build this great big habitat area, and moved the cat to there...where, alas, it walked back and forth on a patch of grass the size of its previous cage. Depressing.

Your chicken story gives hope, though (particularly as chickens have far smaller brains and are less adaptable than large jungle cats), that, deeply set as patterns and views might be, we don't have to stay stuck in them...