“Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree, intimate friends the ego and the Self dwell in the same body. The former eats the sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life while the latter looks on in detachment.
“As long as we think we are the ego, we feel attached and fall into sorrow. But realize that you are the Self, the Lord of Life, and you will be freed from sorrow. When you realize that you are the Self, supreme source of light,supreme source of love, you transcend the duality of life and enter into the unitive state.
“The Lord of Love shines in the hearts of all. Seeing him in all creatures, the wise forget themselves in the service of all.” ~The Mundaka Upanishad
Two Golden Birds
I love this analogy of the ego and the Self as two golden birds sitting together in the same tree. It isn’t one gold bird and one black one, it isn’t one bird and one snake: two golden birds. No indication that one bird is evil and needs to die. That is the true relationship of ego and Self (Soul). Neither one is worthless. Neither one is inherently evil. Both are of value. But they need to work together.
While the quote says the ego and soul (Self) are intimate friends, that is only true if the soul has been awakened. As long as the Self remains dormant, it can’t help guide the ego. And the ego can’t know higher levels of being,and higher purposes beyond the physical without the Self.
Even after being awakened, the ego may refuse to listen to the soul. The soul may have to convince it that it will benefit the ego to listen. Then the two can truly become friends.
Attachments and Sorrow
The quote says if we think we are ego, we will feel attached and “fall into sorrow”. That is because the ego knows nothing beyond the realm of matter. It may be told about spiritual things, but it doesn’t actually know anything spiritual. So it becomes attached to matter, attached to things and to physical life. When those things get taken from us by crooks, fire, floods and so on, we suffer because we identify with them. We see it every time there is an evacuation ordered for an area and some insist on remaining behind to protect their things. We are in sad shape indeed when things become more important than people, including ourselves.
But when we awaken the Self, we find a greater world of spirit. One that is permanent. One where there are no things to be attached to, just beings. When the Soul and the Ego can work together, then we can live in joy. Continue reading “Two Golden Birds of Matter and Spirit”