According to ‘The Alchemist’, The Soul of the World represents spiritual unity. It creates a Personal Legend for everyone. To accomplish mine I must tap into the Soul of the World. According to this view I am part of a single spirit and everyone is interconnected. In finding my buried treasure back home I had discovered that I was part of this spiritual unity and as such I was the source of everything. In touching the Soul of the World I had become one with it.
This can all seem a bit esoteric as it did to me for a time. Once I saw that these concepts are simply metaphors for something intangible I was able to see a lot deeper.
For me the Soul of the World represents what Deepak Chopra calls the field of infinite possibilities or pure potential. It is the source of energy that my own soul came from and will return to. I tend to call it the Source or the Universe.
In simple terms I came to understand that my soul, or spiritual nature, is an offshoot of a universal source of spiritual energy. When the time came for me to be born into my physical body I connected with what my purpose was in doing this by choosing the time, place and family of my birth. At the time of my birth I lost awareness of this purpose so that I could fully grow and integrate as a man. Inside though is a lingering memory of what I am here for.
My journey here on earth is to re-connect with that purpose and carry it out. I believe, though, that it is not necessary for me to consciously articulate what that purpose is because it will naturally be underneath all that I do. This means that what I have been doing all along is intimately connected with my reason for being here.
That reason is my Personal Legend, using the language of The Alchemist. In writing this section and this book, I am fulfilling my Legend. In working as a lighting designer I was fulfilling my legend. My return to myself was simply my realisation that I was already fulfilling my Legend. I no longer needed to seek not because I discovered what I was seeking but because I was there already.
In my years of seeking I had a feeling that my life was about more than just living in the period from birth to death. Yes, I wanted to feel that I was important. Yes, I wanted to feel that I was not just a biological accident. It was deeper than that. There was that hint of something already there, something that came with me.
To connect with that deeper sense I needed to read the signs that were put in my path by Source. My initial task was to become aware of these signs, to see what was in front of me daily. It was then important for me to accept their existence and what they meant. Finally I needed to develop a way of living that was an authentic representation of what the signs intended.
Before writing this I sat outside drinking hot lemon, thinking about the day ahead. As I sat gazing at the mountains circling around behind the house, I saw an eagle floating around high overhead. Although eagles are fairly common in the mountains in this part of Spain, this is the first time I have seen one fly so obviously over the house.
Soon afterwards I sat in the pergola, sheltering from the sun and eating my breakfast. A sparrow flew in and sat on a leg of the pergola and chirped away. For a few minutes I had a ‘conversation’ with the bird who was not concerned that I was so near. I see many sparrows around the house, but they tend to be more wary of me and never have one so directly communicate.
I was struck by the closeness of these encounters, realising that there was deep significance here. It is relatively easy to see this but less easy to interpret what is going on. Thinking through what happened and understanding the significance of the two birds I realised that this revelation was, for me multi-layered. To see these layers it is helpful to look into the energetic significance of the two birds.
An eagle appears to inspire a person to be courageous and to stretch their limits. It is time for them to reach higher and become more than they believe they are capable of. It is time to look at things from a new, higher perspective, to be patient with the present, and know that the future holds possibilities that they may not yet be able to see. People influenced by eagles are seen as visionaries, people who are seekers and are willing to push the limits of self-discovery and personal freedom. Eagles bring them a sense of courage and a desire to explore and grow. The lesson of the eagle is to take a look from where it sees, to have the courage to relinquish stale and comfortable beliefs, to soar into unknown and new realities, and to continue to expand the view. It is the time to take full responsibility for life. As spiritual awareness increases, the positive and negative effects will become more immediate and have greater force.
The small sparrow is one of the most common birds but is often overlooked, its power taken for granted. The sparrow energy is both powerful and productive. Its persistence and integrity shows people that they do not have to be big to make a difference, they do not need to have the biggest and best things in order for their voices to be heard. In the wild, these birds are constantly working collecting food and gathering. They teach people to work for what they want. By accomplishing things that they can be proud of, they will continue to boost their self-esteem and sense of worth. The sparrow is a symbol of protection and communal involvement, as they achieve their power through strength of numbers. The sparrow inspires people to stand up for themselves, but also stresses the importance of compassion and the emphasis on teamwork. Sparrows move, eat, rest, and take part in activities as a group, which can be quite intimidating for a predator, no matter how large and fierce it is.
The top layer is the most obvious to me. It confirms that I have a fascinating gift of being able to see the big picture and the details of issues at the same time. The eagle soars overhead seeing far and understanding the lay of the land. The sparrow flies around close to the ground, encountering the individual objects, such as trees and insects, that he has to live with.
This ability was a particular bonus to me in my work as an architectural lighting designer. Design is about marrying the two ends of the scale in any project and success in design is about doing that well. In projects as diverse as cathedrals, theatres, and city lighting strategies, I was able to envision an over-arching theme that was consistent and inspiring. I always conceived this by detailed and close attention to the fine details of equipment, fixings, and client needs.
These two birds are encouraging me to remember my skills and talents and continue to use them to create and inspire. The eagle is encouraging me to look beyond my narrow personal needs and views to take in the bigger picture. This is something I am good at but have been ignoring. Move beyond my comfortable beliefs and see what is out there in the future. The sparrow is showing that the detailed work is done in community, something that is far more powerful than I have so far realised.
It is absolutely clear that it is time for me to soar into my spiritual future. I am already seeing things which I had up to now ignored. I can tap into large-scale shifts in spiritual energy that are out there right now. I can fly high and focus on the individual items I need to catch onto. The sparrow, however teaches me to work in community, a balance to the loneliness of the eagle. Balance is what achieves growth and success and the balance of the two birds is perfect. Working in community will not only achieve success through attention to detail but will also back up the strength of the eagle with the strength of the sparrow.
The working out of the details of these revelations is for another time, but a time that is not far distant. On the Summer Solstice I had a Celebration of Light to honour my name day. It was a year since I adopted my new name and it was a time to reflect on where this change is taking me. That is why these two birds appeared and spoke to me.
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—Photo Credit: Flickr/David Brodbeck