Sunday, 28 August 2011

Phoenix Bird

A bird. The most beautiful of birds that has an incredible long life and at the end, builds a nest, puts it on fire and becomes ashes. From ashes it comes back anew, younger, starting the circle again.

I have read the myth when I was still a child, probably no more then 10. I have been, and still am, passionate, or obsessive about the mythology of the world. Anyway, the Phoenix Bird myth caught my imagination and over the years remained one of those myths that play into my head trying to find a meaning. I understand now, that regardless how beautiful is for a child to read it, it is a myth for adults.

It does not matter if the Fire Bird existed or not. I think that it is quite irrelevant. The reality or lack of it of the Bird, does not change the wisdom of the Myth.

Sometimes I imagine a really old wise person. It is irrelevant if it was a wise woman or a wise man. This really wise person, after had passed through the years and journeys of life with eyes wide open, notices that people in general, put themselves in fire, without seeming to have a meaning, a purpose.
Why do we chose to enter situations that come close to destroying us? Because we did not know? Looking back and after talking to people that looked back, one thing is clear. One way or another, for some reason or other, we all knew on some elemental level, that the situation not only that is not as rose as we have tried to see it, but is actually quite dangerous. One thing that always comes out goes along the lines of I knew it, but did not want to see it. Why? Why do we know the danger and still step blindly into it?

The only reason I can think of, is that we need, we are compelled to do it in order to regenerate ourself.  Like the bird that puts itself on fire, we put our lives in fire with the hope that something radical will change. Why? Because we, humans, don’t seem to learn through happiness. No matter how may times our parents tell us that the fire is hot, we seem to get it only after we burn our little fingers by touching it. We need the pain of the situation in order to learn it’s lesson. Why? Because it in our nature. Learning, understanding, thinking and emotions are what defines us as being humans.  And we lack the wisdom to learn from other people mistakes.

I have read somewhere, can’t remember where as I am obsessed with reading, that A wise man learns from watching others, an intelligent man learns by doing and a dumb man never learns. Now, few of us actually have wisdom, me included. Some of us, never learn, for varied reasons. Most of us, manage to learn sooner or later by repeating the same mistakes. For the purpose of figuring on the myth, I will focus on the most.

We need to learn. As humans, our need to learn goes beyond will, into the territory of the unknown. Let’s be honest. We don’t like learning. We don’t like to go to school, but we do it because someone, parents, law, society pushes us. We don’t like to listen to our parents because we think they know nothing and we know all. We don’t learn new skills unless the old ones proved to not help. We don’t learn to cook unless we are hungry. And so on. We don’t learn, or most of us don’t, because learning is a pleasure. We learn because we have to learn, because we are forced, goaded or slapped into it.
Same goes with life lessons. I honestly doubt that any off us like going through unpleasant situations, much less painful ones. We don’t like pain, of any kind. But going through pain is the only way to learn, regardless if it is the pain of spending six hours in a classroom on a really sunny day when we could be playing on the beach, cooking a new meal and burning it therefore going without dinner (or having to spend money for take away) or getting into messy life situations because our unconscious mind pushes us to learn one more lesson. We only learn because we are pushed into it.
Because I said that the Phoenix Bird myth is mainly for adults, I shall leave classrooms behind in thought as I have done in age. And I will focus on the situations we get ourselves into once that we are old enough to think we have a choice. But do we really have a choice?

According to my spiritual believes, I have chosen for myself what lessons to learn in this life. It has the advantage of putting all the responsibility onto my own shoulders and as much as I like whining, it is a good thing to blame myself, not others. However, not all share my believes so i shall leave that train of thought behind. Most believe in a god that takes care of us and it is nothing wrong with that. But if we choose to see god as a parent, we have to remember that our parents request of us many things. Manners for one. Or we can only hope that mum and dad are trying to teach us manners, as it is an important skill in life. Now, if not manners, it could be something as simple as picking up the spoon and feeding ourselves. I’m quite sure that our parents are not too happy when first give us the spoon and the food flies all over the kitchen. Not happy because they will have to clean up the mess. God, if we believe in one, puts the spoon into our hand and tells us to feed ourselves. Or to learn a lesson he deems necessary. Leaving the age with the spoon, the lessons get harder. and more and more unpleasant. Here I go back into we have to learn. There is not a choice, it is a fact. Because I am so big onto personal responsibility I chose to think that I have mapped out the lessons for myself. But if I would chose to believe in god as a parent, it would be irrelevant because no matter who decides I need to learn, I still have to do it.

And once that we established that we have to learn, regardless what we believe in, we have to figure out why. For me, the necessity of learning is because I want to spiritually grow in order to become Nirvana, the god like force. But for others, it can be in order to go to heaven. same story, different words. Now, that heaven or nirvana, can not accept us unless we are as pure as It is. Of course, it is a different theory for atheists, but not really that different once you get passed dogmas.  Simply put, we need to learn in order to grow up and stop being helpless infants.

The Phoenix Bird, lives and lives and then needs to put herself in fire in order to regenerate.
As humans, we choose a different fire with the hope that we will grow up. That fire is the life lessons I nagged before. So, regardless of the believes we enter these fires of knowledge willingly or not. The more grown up we are, the harder the fires are. Simple logic. I’m bigger, I need bigger clothes and more food in order to function. Same with the lessons. The more advanced we are, the harder the lesson.

What is the purpose of these lessons other then getting into heaven? I think, part of it is the fact that we are meant to try and teach others as the old wise person tried to teach of by relating the myth. I’m not saying that we all need to become writers. But we all need to become more compassionate, more loving, more wise. In order to achieve that, we step into the fire. And after we went into it, and we understood it’s lesson, we are starting the circle again, exactly like the Phoenix Bird. A new understanding, more evolved let’s say, gives us joy. That’s after we got out of the fire with the treasure of knowledge.  Simple joy is the attribute of the very young that can laugh with tears at a leaf falling out of the tree and making twirls in the air. The purpose of the fire is to show as the joy that can be found in simple things. That makes us “young” again. But in order we keep that ability to be young (we people have a habit of wanting to be older and better then we are today), we need new lessons and so we start inviting them into our lives. Phoenix Bird.

So, at the end, I think that the wise person from the beginning, the one that stepped through life with eyes wide open, was indeed very wise and served us a lesson. We can not have joy without pain. The two faces of the coin. We can not enjoy only one. A coin needs two faces, because everything in our world has at least two sides. Actually because we live in a 3D world, it has more then two. But in order to simplify, we need pain to know joy. We need lessons to grow up.

I love the Phoenix Bird myth. And I welcome being the bird itself.

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