Humans are pigeons…

This story begins with a pigeon. Actually it begins with two pigeons, or were there three? Come to think of it I can’t really remember but I don’t think the number of pigeons is important here.

I was cycling home from work and I saw these pigeons on the side of the road. They were chasing after a triangle of white sliced bread. They were pecking at it and the bread kept bouncing away from them so the pigeons were jumping after it clearly enjoying playing this game and oblivious to the rest of the world.

In that moment, watching these pigeons as I was waiting at a red light, I had a big realisation, I realised that we are not pigeons. Has anyone else had this thought before? That we are not pigeons, in fact we are human beings. I don’t know why this thought hit me, but it did. For the first time, I think ever, in my life it sank in that I am a human. With this came the knowledge that as a species we have been gifted with consciousness. We have a higher consciousness than any other life form on this planet (or so we believe) and that gives us the possibility of experiencing things no other plant or animal can. We can love like no other, we can create, we can imagine. We can grow ourselves and learn and travel and remember and do all of this stuff that makes us so full. 

But.. (there is always a but..) But with all of that comes the reverse. We suffer. Have you ever looked at an animal, maybe a bird in the sky or your dog perhaps, and wondered what it would be like to be that free- to be unconscious of how hard life can be and just live in the present moment. Well I do, all of the time. Us humans have this ‘higher consciousness’ which is a gift and a curse at the same time. We are cursed because we experience all the suffering in the world, and not only that, we also hang onto it.

A bird gets in a fight with another bird. Maybe they are two pigeons fighting over one piece of bread. Whatever it is. They fight. And when the fight is over the birds both head in opposite directions, flap their wings and forget that anything ever happened. They do not hold onto this fight, they do not brood over it and think about all the things they should have said to the other bird. They do not feel anxious, stressed or angry because of the fight. No. They just flap their wings and move on with their life.

Humans on the other hand do no such thing. We use our brain power to store up memories of every fight, argument and anything else that happens to us. Anyone who has ever looked at us with a bad glance we will remember it and possibly hold it against them. We are judgey creatures.

So us gifted humans suffer because of our gift. And yet (there is always a yet.. ) within that suffering is the possibility for so much more. If we can rise out of that suffering then we have opportunities like no other. We can tap into the potential of the world and we can create. We can manifest. We can dream.

I like being a human because I like doing all of these things. I like that my life has depth. I like this a lot. If I were a pigeon then I think it would be very one dimensional, yes I probably wouldn’t suffer- I would be oblivious to all of that- but I also wouldn’t be experiencing all of the beauty in the world.

And god do I want to experience it. That is what I realised today: that we are all humans but we are living as pigeons. We are living our one dimensional lives fighting over bread and never looking at the world around us. We haven’t noticed that we can fly. We haven’t noticed that the sky is so big and that it is ours to explore…

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