To the Eagle and to the Serpent in me
I read a story once about Creator giving to the eagle and the snake the roles of protectors of the Earth – to the eagle, the master of the sky, was given the air; to the snake, being so close to the ground all the time, was given the land. When I read the story I sensed there was a lot more than the literal in it, and started imagining the eagle and the snake as the duality of spirit and rationality within myself and the human family. The eagle, not bound by the rules of the terrain became the emblem of the heart and the spiritual, while the snake became the emblem of the mind and thinking in terms of separation.
These two parts present in me are both essential to my functionality and ability to relate in life. However, if it wasn’t for my conscious effort to explore the spiritual side at some point ( first by acknowledging the intuition there’s more to life than what observation my find, then by setting myself to drop convictions that were standing as boundaries to experience a broader sense of observation), I was destined to live a life ruled by rational existentialism. The things is, it always brought just half of the wellbeing I intuited, pursued, and now know for a fact it is possible to experience.
I realized, just as the mind deals with the observable reality like the snake deals with the terrain, the spirit reaches where the mind can no longer explore, define, and constrain. The unexplainable, the indescribable, the felt, is the realm of the eagle in me, yet just as real, influential, and crucial in my life as the realm of the snake – the world of duality I need to deal with every day. There is no one better than the other, or more real than the other for that matter, as they have both been present in my experience of life since the beginning.
The story I read continued with a particular snake, with more power than all other snakes, who became so self-conscious that comparison started to emerge, bringing him to ask questions such as: why am I as powerful as brother eagle is, yet he can fly fast and free and I’m just crawling along the ground? I’m a victim. He took the diversity of creation personally, creating a self-oriented system of justice, not understanding that All have an individual crucial role in the Overall scheme of life, and so he made a promise to become so powerful that he would one day rule the Earth and all Her creatures. Though the story had an opening ending, that’s how it left me.
Because in the society I was raised the observable was almost the only side worth focusing on (to my mind, due to the will to conform to a line of agreeable behavior rather than individual BEING), I saw the metaphor of the snake taking over the world actually happening. In a way I understand this as a consequence of empowering rationality over everything else. If the rational wonder - the how? - approach has led to many helpful discoveries for the individual and the collective (which is not surprising given the amount of passion, imagination, intelligence we are provided with) on the other hand it has also led to the empowerment of the ego, that part that convinces you.
I believe that ego serves as a technology that allows us to be functional in the world of perceivable matter, where separation makes sense; with this I mean, that mechanism that allows me to stand next to you in front of a mirror and distinguish the two; basically the foundation for my sense of identity. When I start noticing the differences and compare, when I start becoming attached to those differences and emotions get involved, when thoughts and feelings of inferiority or superiority arise, however, the ego has gone too far. Observation can happen consciously, in the present moment, and move on without recruiting the past, or old notions of “better vs worse”, but in order for that to happen the observant must be silent enough. The mind can’t be speaking if the directions of consciousness want to be heard.
We all have the ability to hear and connect to our truest, most empowering, beyond-potential force, the spirit, which is the eagle within us, but it needs some sort of surrender from our serpent part first. The rational needs to acknowledge the felt, the mind allow the spirit its freedom to explore, and the thinking give the heart its power to express. Through this, rationality can play in accordance with intuition and keep the channel open to surprise itself with new exciting discoveries. That potential we have been waiting for, has been part of us all along. It is just the balance that had been missing. It’s all about choosing now to walk the path of remembering that in this story both eagle and snake had been assigned to protect Earth’s life, and beyond the superficial observation of how they relate to one another, it’s all about the Earth.
The Overall. That higher, broader, whole being.
The contrasting nature between the two is debatably relevant when confronted to the solution of the contrast and the wellbeing of both parts.
Let’s acknowledge our role and detach from complaints,
we wouldn’t expect capillaries to fight for not being veins;
we have a source in common after all,
let’s play in accordance with the whole.