Another Way

Another Way...

Another Way... Once upon a time there was a flock of birds. This particular flock of birds was quite large, and had been inspired by the Most Wondrous Bird of all time, a Bird so lustrous that all birds agreed to follow it on a quest of utmost importance and beauty.

After a while, the Most Wondrous Bird passed on, but left a magical Song with so many wondrous melodies that all who heard the song were enchanted. Some individual birds only heard and understood one particular melody; other birds caught on to a different melody; each bird remembered enough fragments of a melody to be enchanted for life and to follow the flock on the quest; but no one recalled all the melodies, for the Great Melody was infinite and varied. But only with all of the many melodies sung together could the flock be truly guided to reach the ultimate goal of the vision-quest, a Paradise at the end of a long torturous series of dangerous valleys between horrible mountain peaks with awful predators. Worse, the mountains each beckoned with side tracks and dead ends which led not to Paradise, but to discordant valleys of disunity, for only small fragments of the flock could follow any given side track.

The birds were in a big hurry and started out. As the flock flew between two towering and scary mountains, a fight broke out. One bird remembered perfectly well that they were supposed to go left; another cited the Song as saying they had to go right; both were sure they were right, so soon the group was about to split up as each bird was determined to follow the Melody and magical lyrics as it understood them.

"We must break up this group," one said. "It is too divergent and discordant. Surely the Most Great Bird could not have inspired all of us. We are too different. If my Melody is right and giving us correct guidance, as I'm 100% sure it is, then some of these other birds are wrong in their memories, and in fact some of their songs sound like pure evil, not beauty and truth."

But another bird spoke up and barely managed to carry the day, at least for many of them. "If we split up, we will lose the guidance of the Song" she said. "We must stay together" To herself she said "I'm sure some of these birds are dead wrong, but they will be straitened out when we reach paradise valley, and they hear the whole melody again all together. Even though they are wrong and if left alone, would corrupt the Great Song, we will keep them together unless they stray too far."

And yet some birds split off into side groups and went their separate ways.

And so the main group set out. One after another, strange birds took the lead of the ragged band for short intervals. While feeling insane for following some of these weird birds, the individual birds wearily flew on. Each mountain pass provided a fresh opportunity to choose the wrong route. It was a mottled crew, to be sure, but somehow they weaved in and out amidst the towering and forbidding mountains.

After a long while however, the battered flock was at the point of exhaustion and individual birds began to have nervous breakdowns. "I'd better leave and fly on my own, for better to abandon even the Most Great Song than to suffer a nervous breakdown, and besides, this flock has no chance at all of ever finding the whole Melody again anyway" said more than one bird to itself.

And then it happened. Slowly, a beautiful but transparent white bird began to appear in front of the flock. With each beat of the little birds' wings, the big beautiful white bird became more visible to the naked eye. As they rounded a corner between two awesome mountains, some other lost sub-flocks came into view.

Each flock was led by an Invisible White Bird of Unity, and upon making formation together in the large valley, they all became a flock of the most beautiful birds ever seen. And right then all the birds heard, for the first time in thousands of years, the Whole Song, which told of the Beautiful Invisible Bird of Unity and how it would lead them to the promised land.

Each sub-melody told of the need for all the individual bird's tunes, even with their idiosyncrasies and imperfections, and how they would be led by an Invisible Bird of Unity until they were all brought together in the Valley of Paradise. If they had all parted ways back there, they could all have become lost forever in the valleys of despair. They were always led by an Invisible Bird of Unity, even when they squabbled and fought. But they didn't know it because they couldn't see it.

The key was to listen to each bird's point of view , even though it was naturally strange and discordant. After all, each little bird had only a small fragment of the original and final Song.

"There is Another Way," sang the beautiful leader of the Unity Flock, "to listen to each other, even when its ugly, so that later you can hear the entire melodious symphony which can only be sung by the whole flock. The path was only right when each bird's small part was sung, so no bird could have made it to this sweet valley unless all birds stayed together."

From then on , the flock of wild birds flew over the broad valley, each sub-flock swerving wildly, but the whole flock guided unerringly by the Invisible.