In What Way Are You Trapped?

There is a Whole Foods location in Manhattan that I have adopted. I go there to work several times a week. I basically have a breakfast or lunch there, & after the meal I pull out my laptop & get to work. Having a communal buzz around me while I work keeps me energized & focused. Plus, on every day that I work there, I have a least one person coming to meet me. Everyone needs support in getting things done & staying on purpose. Rubbing elbows & staying connected keeps people inspired.

For several months I have seen a bird in the Whole Foods cafeteria. I am usually pleased to catch a glimpse of it. Just seeing it for a few seconds brings me closer to nature & gives me an indescribable feeling of lightness. But on this day, I actually spent a bit of time observing it & watching it attentively. I watched it for 20 minutes, & during this time, all it did was attempt to fly through the various windowpanes — ramming into one after the other. These are large floor-to-ceiling windows in a huge loft space. So this little bird could be easily 10 feet above every one’s heads trying to escape for hours everyday, without anyone taking notice.

I spoke to a friend about this little bird & my concern for it. I told him that I would speak to the Whole Foods manager & do what I could to help it return to nature safely. I noticed how affected I was by this bird being trapped, & how desperately I wanted it to be free. Then I had to look at myself: Am I just as stuck as this bird? Where in my life do I keep hitting my head against the wall? Where is it that I feel trapped? What habits do I have that I can’t seem to break? How have I ignored my own self-entrapment because I have been too busy to notice?

I pondered these questions as I looked around at the jam-packed cafeteria. Are the crowds at Whole Foods just as trapped as this bird? Hitting their heads against some sort of barrier to their own freedom? Yet they don’t even know it? As I looked around, people were dressed similar. Most of them were office workers or students, eating lunch while monitoring the clock. Almost everyone appeared to be on autopilot.

“In what way are you trapped?” It’s an interesting question. And it got me to think about my life. To think about it with the same attentiveness I had, as I closely observed the bird in its environment.

We are so distracted in this culture. Everything is largely centered around school (to find work), or work (to earn money), or entertainment (to escape monotony). To me all of them are a distraction. A very clever & carefully orchestrated distraction. It takes a lot of awareness to be able to see though all the busyness. To see through the game. To see through the absurdity. It also takes quite a bit of courage to face up to it. But it takes even more courage, much more, to go beyond it. That kind of courage is more like the French word: coeur. It is the same as cor in Latin. It means heart, which is the root of the word courage.

If we want to go beyond the false & illusory reality around us, that we have all irresponsibly co-created & entrapped ourselves with — it takes tremendous heart. It also takes constant awareness and commitment to live up to a higher truth. I think this awareness is the first step. After this first step, we must bravely walk forward & not look back. Fearlessly walk into the unknown & trust where it leads us. I think it’s wiser to trust one’s intuition, & to allow follow one’s feet — allowing their greater awareness to guide them — than to blindly follow the masses.

It is always good to check-in with ourselves. To turn our concerns or questions back on ourselves, examining how we could be more aware or responsible. It’s very easy to fall into comfortable patterns, and then wonder why we have stationary complaints that never fully leave us. We are the only ones that can set ourselves free. But, in order to have the courage to make the necessary changes, we must first have the heart.



Filed under awareness, unlearning

5 responses to “In What Way Are You Trapped?

  1. Khalid

    I find myself complaining about working where I work now, and not doing what it is that I SAY I want to do. I keep saying I am going to live in Europe for at least one year, but I keep finding other distractions to keep myself from doing it. The reality of moving there is terrifying to me for some reason. The first fear is: How will I find a place to live. Second: How will I earn money? Just like that bird. I attempt to get out of my situation but the glass window for me is “fear”. Maybe its healthy, maybe its not.

    • Wow, really great comment.
      How well you have laid your predicament out so that you can see it clearly.
      There is a quote that says: “The condition of an enlightened mind is a surrendered heart.”
      I think you have to somehow surrender to the fact that you do not have all of the answers. Answers about where to live, what to do — or even why you are here (on this planet). And the reason you do not have all of the answers, is because you are not supposed to! :) We are all in this boat.
      This is where trust comes in. Trusting that where you are is where you are supposed to be (because that is where you are at this moment). And trusting that where you will be in the future is where you are supposed to be (because that is where you will be at that moment).
      Allow this trust to open your heart. Allow it to cultivate a humble, yet fearless spirit.
      Trust that no matter what — you will be OK.
      You always have, right? Somehow, you are still here & I am sure that life has had its scary moments.
      I think it’s important to look at our fears right in the eye. Meet them face to face. This is the only way to see through them. To see that they are not holding us back, it’s only our unexamined idea of them. Our story that we have made up.
      Test it. See for yourself if your fear is correct.
      But be kind to yourself. Do it when you have surrendered to a higher Will. To a Divine Will. :)
      When you surrender to something higher than yourself, something supremely Divine, you have the whole Universe behind you.
      How can you lose?
      Here is another quote for you: “The concentration and dedication — the intangibles are the deciding factors between who won and who lost.”

  2. dwayne

    nice post. the bird trapped in whole foods is such an interesting metaphor. what happened when you spoke to the manager?

    • Thanks! :)
      The latest scoop is that they have a trap set up. Once they find it in the trap, they will set it free.
      The problem is, this plan is not working (in my opinion). It has been weeks & the bird is not interested in going in the trap to eat the food that is inside. (Why would he? He has a gigantic cafeteria FULL of crumbs to eat from, everyday.)
      If anyone has suggestions on how to catch/rescue the bird — please let me know.

  3. I have another update! :)
    Whole Foods is willing to let me help rescue the bird! Yay!
    So far I have one super great person who loves to rescue animals & has experience doing this sort of thing. The two of us will team up & see what we can do.
    But if anyone reading this blog knows of others that would like to help in some way, please reach out to me.
    :) Thank you!

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