Here’s a wonderful metaphor for the spiritual path. While walking a tightrope, you are accosted by white birds and black birds. The white birds represent your desires, the black birds your repulsions. If you turn your attention to either group – whether to capture them, avoid them or criticise them – you risk slipping.
So, one step at a time, you steel your concentration, ween yourself from distractions, and walk carefully towards your goal: remaining in the present moment.
It reminds me of walking through the Duty Free area of an airport. I used to want to browse around, being spellbound by exotic products and gorgeous imagery; later I found myself disgusted by its rampant materialism and empty promises of status and happiness. Today, finally, I can breeze through without responding one way or the other, just another passenger trying to get to the gate on time. I see it as a metaphor for walking through life, contented in myself.
It’s a small victory, I know… but one I’m grateful for.
“The world is made of rings. The hooks are all yours. Make straight your hooks and nothing can hold you.” –Nisagadatta Maharaj