European Mistle Thrush

I’m becoming a real lover of nature, as I am finding that we can learn so much about life through a mindful watch on the way nature works.  Did you know that there are many health benefits from being out in nature more often?  This new find gave me a new love for nature.  I have a treadmill, but will run outside in -25 degree Celsius weather, just to get my time in for the day with the great outdoors.

Lately, in my hometown, we’ve been blessed with a rare visiting bird called a European Mistle Thrush and it’s attracting bird lovers from across Canada and the United States.  I find this very intriguing.  You may think I’m crazy or wonder why, but let me explain.

Have you ever tried to track a bird?  Growing up in the country, and living a boring childhood, this is something that I honestly tried to do.  I would spend an afternoon following a bird around until finally it would fly away and I couldn’t keep track of it any longer.

Even when I did find that special bird I decided to follow, I never knew where the bird had originated.  I was never educated on any other bird species other than the local residential birds like the crow, robin, cardinal and of course the partridge that were taught to me from childhood.  They are the birds I grew up around.  I’ve never seen any other birds.

For some reason, more clever bird watchers than myself, when educated on the different species of bird, can determine a bird’s origin, like they have with this European Mistle Thrush bird from Europe.

Would they know exactly where in Europe?  Probably not.  Many of us are very much on the path similar to these birds.  We originate in one place, and have our own flight pattern, and stops along our way.  Sometimes, of course, we may get lost like this poor bird from Europe, but then we usually find a way back home.

How many of us look at other people’s paths uneducated?  How many of us think we should know what is the best path for certain people, even though we have no idea where they came from or where they have flown to?  How many of us push our beliefs on people, just because they are what were taught to us from childhood or because we “think” we are right?  How many of us think our way is the right way and only way…mostly because we read it on a map that we feel is the only map to read.

This is the path we choose to take, but that might not be the flight pattern for every bird in this world.  Have you ever judged someone because they don’t believe the way you do?  Have you ever tried to educate birds on your flight path because you are convinced it is the only way to reach the divine destination?  How many of us think we should map out the flight patterns for the birds around us or the birds we are raising in our own nests, just because we think we know best?

If only we could free ourselves of this judgment.  How birds should fly, or the paths that they should take, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?  We would be free of all this fighting over who is right and who is wrong.  We have to lose this egocentric vision that we have the only map to this grande destination.

We have no idea what is in a person’s heart, or their intentions.  Just because they don’t take the same route as us doesn’t make you any better than anyone else.  Just like the bird’s path, we have no idea its mapped course, but we love to judge it.  We love to think we are from an exclusive bird club with the golden treasure map, judging others that might think differently.  Most, if not all religions stress this factor about judging others, but for some reason we all still do it…constantly.  When I started researching this, I couldn’t believe all the spiritual texts similarities.

“Happy is the person who finds fault with himself instead of finding fault with others.” This was from Islam’s Hadith.  Or from the Bible in the Book of Luke 6:37 that says, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Or this quote from Hinduism’s Garuda Purana 112,  “The vile are ever prone to detect the faults of others, though they be as small as mustard seeds, and persistently shut their eyes against their own, though they be as large as Vilva fruit.”

I’m a huge fan of Buddha and this quote, “Easily seen are others’ faults, hard indeed to see are one’s own. Like chaff one winnows others’ faults, but one’s own one hides, as a crafty fowler conceals himself by camouflage.  He who sees others’ faults is ever irritable–his corruptions grow. He is far from the destruction of the corruptions.”  This is from the Dhammapada 252-53.  And my new personal favorite that I found while researching this topic, “A man holding a basket of eggs does not dance on stones.” From the African Traditional Religions, Buji Proverb (Nigeria).

I just sited five quotes from five different spiritual texts, all expressing the importance of not judging others, but still we continually do it…myself included.  I’m thinking since it is such a universal teaching throughout all religions, that maybe…just maybe…we might want to start focusing our attention towards bettering ourselves in this area and stop trying to track birds and the path they choose to fly.  Just let them fly free.  Nobody flies the same path.

The Birders in this province think that this European Mistle Thrush must have gotten separated from its flock and then been driven to Canada by strong winds and bad weather.  This is just their educated judgment.  In reality, we all go through our times of strong winds and bad weather, and that is the path that we must take to find the place that we are supposed to end up.  It’s our own personal flight path, and it is not for anyone to judge or criticize.  It’s just for us to experience and enjoy the ride…judgment free!