THE CHAINED EAGLE
Folk tales and ballads have a way of conveying deep truths in ways that long and elaborate philosophical treatises never quite can. As an example, consider the words of this old Irish folk ballad …
“I’d like to tell the story about an eagle
Chained so long to a stake upon the ground
Day by day he’d strut around in circles
‘Til he’d worn a rut from walking ’round and ’round.
When his master finally chose to give him freedom,
He took off the metal ring that kept him bound
And tossed him high to spread his wings and fly
But the bird just flip-flopped right back to the ground.
No more chain, no more bird-band.
Well, he went right back to his rut again,
Began the same old strut again
Just the same old habit kept him bound.”
The balladeer then goes on to underscore the lesson…
“So many people today are like that eagle.
And though the truth could loose them from their chains,
When freedom calls them on to new horizons
They jump right back into their rut again.
It’s better to fly into the sky of freedom,
To break free from the old and sail on into the new.
So don’t forget the sad story of that eagle
And don’t ever let the same thing happen to you.”
(Click here to listen to an old recording of this song!)
The ancients, incidentally, used the word ‘habit’ differently than we do. The word comes from the Latin ‘habere’ which literally means to ’hold or possess’. In modern English we say, ”I have a habit.” In ancient Latin, however, they used to say, ”A habit has me!” — A very accurate description of a habit that has been allowed to go on for a while!
It is important to be aware of our habits, especially if they are not serving us well. It is equally important to realize that, just like the old eagle had the freedom to fly, we, too, possess the power and agency to do things differently, and with a bit of effort, we can ‘break free from the old and sail on into the new’.
Do something differently this week! You will be delighted to see you can!
Have a great week!