The Way of the Goose

On a Fall day, a ragged flock of geese heading south had failed so far to form a “V.” They had a “J” going with members struggling to keep up, falling back, slipping into line where they could, or catching, eventually, the tail end of the formation. They felt the fit of the natural way to fly south and not through plan, but through struggle and need the “V” formation came into form.

These geese didn’t fly in symmetry because of a love of geometry or aesthetics. They formed into a “V” because that worked best. The flying was a little easier in the draft of their peers.

Had these been geese with human brains, someone might have demanded that, “today we shall fly in the ‘Q’ formation.” After the flock had exhausted itself trying to fly in an unnatural formation and had reverted to the more aerodynamic “V,” the leader would likely have defined the “V” as evil or maybe uncool.

We humans spend much of our time doing things because someone else said that is what we should do or how we should to it. We have civilization because certain behaviors work out better than others and our culture encourages them. But not all cultural influences are equal. Some are less wholesome than others. When we get caught up in the whirl of activity in work, school or family life we can lose the ability to sense what is good, natural and wholesome. We get caught in what we think we should do or that our desires tell us we must do, rather than sensing what our wisdom and intuition might direct us to do. When we lose touch with our inner sensing, we can get caught in life patterns that don’t work well for us. We can’t figure out why we are so stressed out, tired or depressed when the reason may well be that we are flying in a formation that is contrary to nature.

In order to think clearly and feel intuitively we must take care of our body/mind. If we are over-stimulated, dulled by intoxicants or fatigue, or our body is poorly nourished or under exercised we will not be in a resourceful state. Taking time to quiet the mind chatter can help us to enter a more useful condition where choices are guided by wisdom, where we can sense the flow around us and find the natural way.

Sit down and listen to the hum of your body. Notice if you can feel your heart beating. Note the pattern of your breathing. Do you feel vibration, tingling, itching in your body? Do you feel warmth or cold? Do you feel tense or restless? Use these signs to assess your level of calm. If you feel revved up or otherwise uncomfortable, it may be a signal to you that you need to take more time to focus your mind and relax.

Breathe in calmness.
Exhale your tension.
Smile gently to yourself.
Tell yourself, “This is time for calm, for peace.”
Let go of your stress and invite your body to relax.
Feel yourself move into a state of calm awareness.
Stay there awhile.

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© 2004 Tom Barrett