Kuan Yin Speaks. Can you be like a bird head?
“Greetings! This is Kuan Yin.
It is an interesting quality of birds, that they can hold their heads absolutely still while their body moves around in different ways. This is to enable the bird to keeps its eyes riveted in an unmoving way on whatever it is concentrating on, a prey, a danger, food.
Many humans misunderstand animals in an unfortunate way. The complexity of their abilities and range of emotions are wide-ranging and beautiful, but the prime directive in the animal world is survival, food and finding a mate. Humans ascribe human attributes to animals that aren’t there, to their detriment. Animal existence on this planet is an often desperate struggle to find food and water, and stay clear of predators of all kinds.
That aside, the description of this ability to hold the head steady in birds is called
(There is a beautiful video on YouTube that shows a Kingfisher exhibiting this behavior. author)
How do we apply this concept to spiritual discipline and practice? What I am leading to is not to somehow hold your head steady, but your heart.
First, let’s do a practice.
Become still, sit in whatever position is comfortable for you when you meditate or do other spiritual practice.
Breathe deeply and bring your mind to your lower abdomen, allow it to rest, assure your mind it is safe to be still for a while. See your mind there at the first chakra level, filled with light, healed, quiet.
Now go to your heart, and start pulling light from 360 degrees, call light from Heaven, from the Source, from all universes, from the mother earth. Breathe this light in to your heart for 10 mindful breaths, or until you truly perceive that the center of your being is radiant with light. Continue to breathe, and see the edges of your heart universe spreading out to all universes, encompassing all planets and stars, all worlds. Rest suspended in this vast spaciousness with its view of Heaven, of Mother Earth, of your own inner universe of body heart mind soul and being. There is no sound, no up or down, no individuality, no movement. All is spacious stillness.
Rest there, for as long as you can. Call this gaze stability. Rest in the great peace and confidence of this space, unshakable and pure. Here is the truest freedom.
As you bring your awareness back to your mortal experience, hold that stillness, like the bird. Can you imagine what your life might be if you were able to hold this heart space of stillness and awareness no matter how your outer world moved and shook?
You might envision a carpenter’s level with its little bubble that tells you when you are off the level.
Be creative, visualize whatever works for you.
The next time someone speaks negatively to you, or does some traffic misdeed, or you see something on the news that is upsetting, stop for an moment, close your eyes, and feel your heart performing gaze stabilization. See your heart in its absolute illuminated serenity. It is unmoving, undisturbed, unshakable, as your outer world jostles and screams.
Don’t forget to breathe deep in your belly, slowly, and keep your awareness there too, as much as possible. When people get agitated and upset they breathe in about the top third of their lungs, which creates even more anxiety.
It is important to note that this is also a wonderful opportunity to serve, to say in a moving situation,
“With my heart of light, how may I serve this person? How may I bless and harmonize this situation?”
Experiment with moving your body around, dance! Stretch, run, walk, with your awareness on that inner gaze of stabilization, that great and vibrant stillness.
This is a place past humility, as there is no “you” there, there is only the great infinite “I am”, of which you are an intrinsic part.
As your world seems to descend into chaos, it is possible to feel overwhelmed, frightened, powerless, upset. Can you see how this great serenity and stillness of the heart’s true location can bring you back to groundedness? Here, at the center of all creation, you cannot take anything personally, you cannot be harmed in any way that matters. You are one with the farthest galaxy, with the blade of grass under your foot. You behold the miracle of breathing. Here you may see through the illusion of the mortal world, and become Light.
Smile. Just a little.
That is all, I love you.”
This teaching was expressed through Kristin Strachan, Kuan Yin Lineage Holder, student of Master Zhi Gang Sha, teacher, and spiritual practitioner in Colorado. I am most grateful and blessed.