We were sitting on our deck under the table umbrella on a beautiful summer morning. A bee flew up into the point of the umbrella, and there he stayed. He buzzed around the top looking for a way out. When he got tired he would rest on the fabric. Rested, he would once again try to get out through the top of the umbrella.
We knew that if he would fly down, instead of up, he would discover that he wasn’t trapped at all. But, he didn’t. He had trapped himself.
As we watched, a hummingbird flew under the umbrella straight at the bee. It hovered right by him, almost poking him with his beak, and then turned, showing him the way out from beneath the umbrella.
Did the bee follow? No. He continued to struggle trying to get out the top. Finally Del took the umbrella off the post, turned it upside down, and the bee flew up and away.
How often do we do this in our life?
We “fly” into a situation and then try to get out of it in a direction that will never work. If we would pause, or back up, or look around, we would see there is always a different way out.
Sometimes a friendly “hummingbird” will come up to us and attempt to show us a way to freedom. How often do we follow?
In the song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” there is the phrase, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” There are two ways to look at this sentence. One: Once everything is gone there is nothing left to lose. Or Two: When we realize that we have nothing that can be lost, we are free.
Jedi Master Yoda, from Star Wars, tells Anakin, “The fear of loss is the path to the dark side.” Afraid of losing something, we trade in our freedom for something with which we are familiar.
In the case of the bee, the top of the umbrella was familiar because he was used to “flying up” to get away. But, this familiarity and his unwillingness to let go of how he thought it should be, placed him in his own personal prison.
We all put ourselves in a personal prison. Just like the bee, it is the prison of our own thinking.
When we think we need something, or want something we are bound to it. Not by the thing itself, but by our thinking that we need it and don’t yet have it. The only thing that ever needs to be “fixed” is our perception.
It is our point of view that is always the trap, and at the same time it is always the open door.
When we choose, and then stay with, a point of view that we have to own things to have them, or that work provides income, or companionship provides love, and that the loss of anything means we no longer have it, we are trapped within our own personal prison.
There is a story about a boy in Sunday school. The teacher asked the children if they would be afraid if they found themselves alone in the middle of the ocean. They all answered, “Yes” except one small boy. He said, “No I wouldn’t be afraid.”
The Sunday school teacher asked him, “Why not?” He said, “Because God would be there with me.” The Sunday school teacher asked him, “How do you know for sure He would be there?”
The boy replied, “Because I was there.” This point of view is the key to freedom. The small boy knew that where he was, God was, and that meant there was nothing to fear, or to lose.
We all have had a friendly “hummingbird” or two that has shown us the way out of traps we have flown into. There are teachers, past and present, that have dedicated their lives to show us the way. It is so much easier to follow them than to wait until the world turns upside down so we can be set free.