We had a robin nest on our patio this summer. That was a fascinating study of Mother Nature… and an intriguing reflection on human nature.
One amazing scene was the baby’s big moment leaving the nest, which took a mere ten days from hatching. It was a rainy evening — the rain provided perfect cover from predators. The two older siblings had left already, and father was waiting patiently on the lawn for this last child to take the plunge.
A plunge it certainly was. Seven feet above the patio floor were two beams we put up for our swing seats. Where these beams meet the house wall was the perfect feng shui enclave that his parents chose, and had constructed the bullet proof nest with skills of master builders.
This ten day old toddler had never climbed out of the nest before, never walked, never experienced rain, and of course, never flown. With barely a tail yet, it hopped out of the nest nonchalantly and started making its way down the beam, backtracking twice at the sight and touch of this strange substance known as rain water. Nothing awful happened, it continued its adventure down to the end of the beam. After just a very brief moment of hesitation, it leaped off, vigorously flapping those little wings to a ‘Perfect 10’ landing. A few more hops and flaps off the patio steps, followed father’s lead across the lawn into the bushes, and safely to the next family camping spot.
I found this act of courage totally inspiring. Before the big plunge, this little miracle of nature never wondered the “what ifs”. What if it doesn’t make it? There is no elevator nor stairs to climb back up to the nest. What if it breaks a leg? It would become food for the crows in no time. Like the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It!” My friend shrugged it off as “hardwired” behavior in birds.
A human baby is the same. When it is hungry, it knows to simply cry out for attention, and food will manifest. Before crying out, it doesn’t wonder if this is acceptable behavior to society, it doesn’t wonder if its voice is beautiful enough, if it is worthy enough to interrupt what the adults may be doing, if there is enough food…. Somewhere along the way later, he/she will come into strange issues of pride and humiliation, self-esteem, self-worth, lack, and more.
What is this state of ‘mindless innocence’ that works so effectively, that which my friend termed “hardwiring”? Ah, that is our souls: THAT IS US! We go through years of early life building up a plethora of experiences in the name of maturity, and then after midlife try to untangle the mess of issues which resulted from these maturing experiences, simply hoping to return to our peaceful carefree hardwired state! Isn’t life fun?!?
Well, hopefully all that maturing is not wasted. Hopefully we have learnt something during our spiritual sojourns around the block. If we can begin to distinguish between our souls’ hardwired instincts versus our egos’ learned behaviors, then we can begin to live every moment of our lives in conscious choice – love or fear. And then we can manifest our desires at will.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time” – T.S. Eliot
Wishing you simple thoughts back to innocent hardwiring!