Our friend Steve has a wonderful garden: veggies, fruit trees, flowers and…chickens.
This is a true story of chicken karma.
Among his flock, Steve had one aggressive chicken who didn’t lay eggs and would attack every new chicken that Steve introduced into the coop.
“I had to get rid of the chicken,” Steve told me. “She was causing havoc—and not producing a single egg. But I couldn’t bring myself to kill her.”
His property is adjacent to a huge stretch of protected wetlands—the San Elijo Lagoon. Steve, with mixed feelings, tossed the chicken over the fence into the wilds.
Peace descended on the chicken coop…it seemed.
Three days later, there was a knock on his door. It was Steve’s neighbor.
“You’ve got a chicken in the front yard.”
Yep, the chicken was home again.
We all have unwanted chickens.
I do—and so do you.
Now, I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about your inner chickens. The patterns of emotional reactivity, unwanted attitudes, thoughts, behaviors and emotions that aren’t producing any eggs and cause endless upsets and havoc.
Being spiritually inclined, we don’t want to wield a hatchet.
So, we toss them over the fence—into the wilderness of the mind. We suppress, repress, ignore or distract ourselves from facing the unwanted chickens within. We hope that they’ll just go away, starve or get eaten by a passing coyote.
However, our inner chickens aren’t disposable.
Whatever is unhealed and unintegrated will keep returning to be recognized and infused with loving awareness.
Meditation practice is a welcoming process that brings loving awareness into your body and mind, and it reveals the places in the mind, memory and body where unresolved suffering resides.
The descent of loving awareness into the body and mind can be intense.
It awakens memories and emotions—often ancient, deep memories and emotions—of love lost, love betrayed, love compromised, love interrupted…and yes, also love fulfilled.
The memories are encoded deep in the cells of the body and petals of the mind.
These encoded memories operate as a web of defensiveness and self-protection. These memories are organic states of consciousness, whose main function is to ensure that you never experience the loss, betrayal, compromise or wound again.
These memories are like angry chickens on patrol 24/7, guarding you and circling your heart. They are playing defense—ensuring that your heart stays safe.
But this safety is a prison. It may be safe, but it’s the safety of a defended and contracted heart.
I’m here to remind you (and myself): There’s a chicken in your front yard.
It wants to come home—to heal, to be free.
Who knows, it may even produce some eggs.
Author: Eric Klein
Image: Flickr/thedabblist; Author’s original illustration
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina