Jonathan Livingston Seagull
“They are saying in the Flock that if you are not the Son of the Great Gull Himself”, Fletcher told Jonathan one morning after Advanced Speed Practice, “then you are a thousand years ahead of your time.”
Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood he thought. They call you devil or they call you god. “What do you think, Fletch? Are we ahead of our time?”
A long silence, “Well, this kind of flying has always been here to be learned by anyone who wanted to discover it; that’s got nothing to do with time. We’re ahead of the fashion, maybe. Ahead of the way that most gulls fly.”“That’s something,” Jonathan said, rolling to glide inverted for a while. “That’s not half as bad as being ahead of our time”.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
The Seagull Speaks Creative Commons Copyright
Original work on The Seagull Speaks by Michael A Wride is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The Boy was unusual. He had always thought this, but he was only just beginning to figure out the hows and whys of it. He had always been sensitive to things. He always seemed to see and feel more than other boys. Even now, as he stared out to sea across the great sweep of the Bay, he felt that he had the answers to things that most boys didn't even have questions for.
For example, this rock he was currently perched on - several million years old probably, a piece of solid granite. The rock had moved little, if at all, in the last several hundred thousand years. Maybe, the sea had nudged it slightly in a storm. Maybe, it had been worn away a bit. After all, some of the pebbles on this beach were undoubtedly its children - bits of it that had gone off to explore for themselves.
And yet, the boy sensed the life in this rock. Yes, it definitely felt alive to him - vibrant, teeming with swirling thoughts and observations and memories from millennia gone by. But, the rock itself continued sitting there, placidly, still, but somehow silently observing - all seeing and all knowing.
The boy began to feel that this rock knew pretty much everything there was to know about the moods of the sea. It had seen stormy nights, frozen seas, warm seas, waves crashing in, waves lapping out, full moons, new moons, and clear nights when bright stars shone down like you wouldn't believe.
The boy sensed that through its stillness, the rock knew everything about this beach and the sea that today lapped in gently around the boy's feet. But, much more than that - the rock really did know everything. It seemed to have all the secrets of the universe within it. A universe within a rock?
And the boy, by sitting on the rock, felt that he too could receive the answers to all the things that he wanted to know. Was the universe also within him? Yes, if the rock could obtain the answers, so could he. All he had to do was sit still, be silent and focus on himself, just like the rock. And so he knew that sooner or later he would indeed receive all the answers. Patience then was what was required.. ... and time.
So, the boy came back to the beach over many years as he grew older. He visited the rock as often as he could. He had no expectations about anything, he just enjoyed being alone with the rock. He continued to sit and listen to the sea and feel the rock beneath him and watch the waves lap at his feet.
Then, one day as he sat on the rock and stared out to sea, he began to relax, but at the same time, he felt heavier and heavier. He closed his eyes.
But, hang on, did he now feel heavy or light? There was a part of him that felt heavy - yes definitely, so, so heavy ... .his breathing slowed, the presence of the cool air itself surrounding him seemed to be his means of breathing.
He breathed out, he breathed in - shallower and shallower until his breath virtually stopped. He felt the weight of his body on the rock ... .or was it in the rock? Yes, he felt he was merging with the rock - going inside the rock, but at the same time another part of him continued to feel lighter and lighter. His arms tingled and then it seemed that his hands were floating upwards. Then this feeling spread ... he was both entering deeper into the rock and floating upwards, both above himself and below himself at the same time.
"How could this be?", he thought for a fleeting moment.
His eyes opened slightly and he caught a glimpse of the glowing white sea; not the grey, green sea he had seen earlier. But, the moment passed even before it was complete, and he relaxed again. His eyelids gently closed and his eyes themselves began to focus on a flickering white light that began to appear in front of him ... it seemed to shine within him, like moonlight. But how could he see this light? His eyes were closed! But the light became brighter and brighter. It swirled and pulsated and moved around in front of him, now bright white, now a deep bright violet, now pure gold.
He felt like he was looking into another world - a world within himself? Yes, that was it, he was inside his own inner world. Exploring the universe within himself.
Then ... .Bang! Flash! Lightening bolt! Wallop! A voice!
The boy jumped up, startled. Simultaneously, he was catapulted up out of the rock and back into his body and from above the part of him that was floating also entered his body again. He straightened and looked around him - no one there!
"Oh well, I'm imagining things", he thought.
But, then again ...
"It's who? What is going on? Voices in my head?" He said out loud.
Who or what was he talking to? Was it the rock talking to him? No - impossible. But then he saw a seagull next to him, simply looking up at him serenely.
Then, the voice again, "It's me! Sorry to startle you."
"Me ... the seagull! I am Natalie Seagull.", came the reply.
He jumped high in the air and landed on the beach and turned around.
"Natalie Seagull? Seagulls don't speak!"
"How do you know that? Ever spoken to a seagull before?"
"No!", said the boy - incredulously.
"Then how do you know that seagulls don't speak?", said Natalie Seagull.
"Well, I don't ... um, uh ... are you really talking to me?", said the boy.
"What do you think?"
"Well, after what's just happened, I wouldn't be surprised if I am talking to a seagull!
"Is there something you want to tell me?" said the boy.
"Yes. I have a message for you."
"So, what is it?", said the boy.
"Well, you've always known that you are here for a reason. So, what you do now is you rest and you wait"
"For how long do I ....um, uh rest and.....uh...wait?", he replied.
"For as long as it takes".
"As long as it takes? How will I know what to do ... .when the time comes?"
"It is more a case of what you will 'be', what you will 'become'. Then you will know what to do. In any case, it will be made known to you ... .look out for the signs. Not only seagulls speak".
"But what is my role in ... ..uh ... ..whatever it is?"
"You will be required to re-assure the people. Are you a leader? Can you do that?"
"Yes, I think I can. I can, but I'm a bit scared now".
"Don't be afraid - focus on love and the truth. These will set you free and guide you to be the best you can be, to do the best you can do and to bring out the best in others. You are a creator, as is everyone. You don't understand the power of your own thoughts to create your reality. So, think positively and bring about the reality you want. No one is stuck in a hopeless situation created by distant forces. If you want change in your world, change your thoughts, change those external forces for the better, for those seemingly external forces, those immovable objects and events that are apparently out of control are the physical manifestation of your thoughts. They are your thoughts crystallised from the mind of God. For the entire universe is the mind of God and you are an essential part of that mind! Create a better reality! Even if only a few boys and girls like you begin to understand this, the world will be a much better place."
"But how long will it take? It seems like an awfully difficult task to take on -- to change an entire planet for the better."
"The time is now approaching fast. More and more boys and girls like you are waking up and finding their higher purpose."
"Thank-you! It's reassuring to know that I'm not alone in this".
"You are never alone my child - you know that. You are not alone. Never. Now, go and begin the first day of your new life as a teacher, as a messenger. Prepare yourself. Remember that you are a master. You will find the truth everywhere you look for it. By your presence alone, you will guide others towards the truth and they will find it because of you. You are welcome to talk to me any time you like, for I am here to offer advice and to guide you when you desire guidance. But, it is up to you whether you accept this mission or not -- you have free will."
Somehow, the boy understood all of this. He had been half expecting it ... .for a long time.
And with that, Natalie Seagull launched herself into the air, flapping her powerful wings as she rose up above the beach and then, catching a thermal, gracefully glided out to sea. She looked back at the boy, nodded her head slightly, extended her wings, swooped low over the white topped waves, then headed up into the sky, soaring ever higher and higher.
The boy followed her with his eyes as she became smaller -- until she became just a luminescence speck of bright white light, making its inexorable progress out to sea and up into the sky.
The boy was transfixed. A warm expansive glow appeared to swell up in his chest. He had never felt such joy, such love, such peace before.
Natalie Seagull turned her head and looked back after a little while. He sensed her smiling back at him. Her face was quite the kindest he had ever seen. And at that moment, she became a brilliant, perfect white, radiant star. Rays of light burst outwards from her body in all directions as she soared upwards. On and on, higher and higher, whiter and whiter her body became, until, in an explosion of pure energy, she literally disappeared from view.
The boy looked up to the sky and raised his arms up in a gesture of thanks, as he looked towards the spot where the seagull had disappeared into eternity.
And then he lowered his gaze and looked out to sea. Everything was different. He saw everything differently.
He saw how the waves were talking to him. He saw how the wind that blew his hair was also telling him things. He saw the sun as a pure bright teacher, a perfect reflection of the perfect bright light within him - the very light of his spirit. He saw the ever-changing clouds as a metaphor for the ever-evolving nature of the human soul. Even the pebbles at his feet were infusing him with wisdom. Everywhere he sensed knowledge and wisdom, understanding, acceptance and truth. Everywhere he looked he saw it, but he knew that the greatest source of all these things was within himself. Within his own soul would he find his greatest strength, to become his true self. For he was the universe and the universe was within him. He knew he would now be free to do anything he wanted. He had a job to do. He was a messenger, a teacher, a guide and a healer.
He walked across to the rock where had been sitting when he had met Natalie Seagull. He put his hand across his heart, closed his eyes and said a few words quietly, thanking her for the experience he had just had, for strengthening his own soul. He opened his eyes again, stretched out his arm and waved his hand gently over the rock and blessed that too.
The Boy thought of Natalie Seagull and smiled, turned around and looked out to sea one last time. He then left the rock and the beach and walked carefully, purposefully, like the master he would eventually become, into his new life.
And these stories are about how Natalie Seagull taught the boy and how one day he became a Master of his Life!
An earlier version of this story, in which the boy talked to a rock, appered in Wordlegs Issue No. 2 Summer 2010: http://www.wordlegs.com/magazine/viewitem.php?id=67