Chicken Dreams; The hen and the zen master

She sat under the roosting bar entirely still. Rosemary’s small face turned toward nothing in particular. Her body covered in black and dark grey feathers softer than a baby’s kiss remained as still as she. Her breathing slow, her little feet and legs tucked under her ultra light frame. She is love in less than a pound.

Sitting Zazen, or in meditation, is something Rosemary does naturally.  She and her fellow chickens have a strong discipline and a clear mind unfettered by ego. They know they are nature, neither above or below but in absolute harmony. She breathes and sits without thoughts, plans, or a sense of personal importance. By the ruffle of her feathers as the breeze blows through them and the quiet of her body it is clear she is in a state of untethered bliss.

The other chickens may chat and move about, some my fly around her yet she sits undistributed.  Throughout the day each of the birds will replicate what Rosemary is doing now in seated meditation, but her practice calls her at the start of each day.

It is said that all other living creatures understand they are nature, they know how to sit in it and with it– requiring no instruction.  It’s also said that if great apes in the form of people could get this, could take their ego and shelve it even for brief periods every day we would awaken and with it change the world for the better.

As a practitioner of sitting meditation or Zazen, Rosemary knows she cannot do anything about what humans will or will not understand, she may not know that the failure to practice kindness through understanding is placing her world on a collision course and her–as nature– but it does not affect her essential spirit as cheerful and in harmony. Deep and daily practice can get any individual to that point.

She rises now, shakes all of her eight thousand feathers, looks around with her special sight which sees all spectrum’s of light including ultra violet and she turns her head toward the sound of another bird sitting on a phone line landing as quietly as a feather falling. She can hear it as she can hear the heartbeat of the earth because she is quiet enough.

As a chicken Rosemary is often enclosed for her own protection yet she is freer than me running solo on a beach at the end of the world except when I am willing as she is to simply sit quietly and let go of all that I consider me.

A small bird sitting quietly in a small act of unity and yet her impact can be felt larger than an earthquake through me as I learn what the caged bird can teach me–all there is to know of love without longing or expectation.

Next time you are offered the chance to meet a living bird, a chicken of natural wisdom, take it and let her teach you. You will not be the same as she calls you to all that is true. 

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