Working together for a better world...
Have you ever watched a large flock of birds wheeling and turning in the sky? It is a magnificent sight. Like a single organism, an organic form, fluid and transparent, yet taking on shape and density, they weave and roll in a collective dance. This image of birds in flight came to me strongly as I thought of Tariki and the new developments this weekend.
This weekend a group of seven of us came together to affirm our Buddhist refuges and to commit ourselves to practice and mutual spiritual support.
The birds move like a cloud, turning themselves inside out; rolling in corkscrews of dust-like points, a thousand strong. There is no leader yet within their congregation, an ordered flow of movement emerges and collectively they find direction.
In our ceremony, each passed on to the next the assignation. There was no need for overarching authority, for the process, once started, continued to unfold until all were included. One person supported the next to offer vows and receive wagessas.
Circling through the sky, in constant movement, always turning back towards their centre, the flock reincorporates its stragglers but gives space for deviance.
Where the focus is strong there is no need for boundaries. Our heart connection to the Buddha and to each other holds us in the tension of relationship, which, like the invisible heart strings of a child, draws us back or lets us explore as we find ourselves drawn by the different circumstances of life.
Once, whilst on retreat in Amida France, I watched a flock of birds arriving in the old oak tree by the meditation hut. They were varied. Not just one species, but the whole British Book of Birds - a nuthatch and a woodpecker, green finches and blue tits, sparrows and blackcaps, all arriving in the tree together. For a few minutes I watch in fascination before, just as suddenly, they move on.
Here we are diverse. Our common interest in practicalities – therapy, psychology, chaplaincy – creates a shared impetus, but our practices may vary. All Buddhism is good. We find commonality in our diversity and richness in our differences. No need to choose. Refuge is broad and open to all.
A flock of birds
against a dove grey sky
soaring spiral traces in the space where seagull-wing clouds
the feather soft pigeon breast folds
a turning kaleidoscope
wheeling to heaven
melts into chaos
in perfect formation
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