(You don’t have to do this at 5am but aim to practise in the early morning when it is just you and the birds awake).
For a long time I used the birdcage as a symbol in my writing and illustrative work. To me it represented the primitive, wild nature of humanity becoming free of restrictive ideas, beliefs and structures.
Then quite recently, I realised that by constantly focusing on the birdcage of as a symbol, I was feeding the power of restriction v freedom.
So I decided to let go of my birdcage.
This is an antique that lived on my mum’s dresser when I was a child. It has been resident in my house now for many years. After thinking a lot about how to release the symbol, a decision was eventually made.
The birdcage would go to a nearby forest and have its doors removed. I’d hang it in a tree where the wind and the birdsong it carries could blow through the coiled wire.
So, to get the birdcage used to its new way of being, I first hung the birdcage from the apple tree in my garden.
And it has been hanging there ever since.
Then this morning I got up at 5am and went running. On my return I went to the lower bit of the garden to meditate. Eventually, as I managed to still all of the termite nest thoughts in this brain, a silence fell. That silence was filled with the birdsong.
It occurred to me that human minds are just like the artisan coils of the white birdcage; sculpted and twisted into a structure. Sometimes they are crammed with chattering birds, flapping and flittering. Other times we make the space to open the doors, release all that stuff and instead just exist, empty yet filled with awareness.
After that occurrence, I realised that perhaps me and my birdcage still have a little way to go.