Red Bird

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Red Bird has been outside my window most days, in the dogwood tree collecting berries, but there aren’t very many red berries left in the dogwood tree today. The center part of the flower that blooms in Spring on the dogwood tree turns into a red berry in the Fall. Sometimes I see Red Bird, and sometimes I only hear him.

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I’ve recently gained a deeper understanding of “Red Bird, Everything is seen & heard”. At first it was mostly just a linguistic formula for regaining honesty & integrity. Words I wanted to live by; to believe that everything is seen & heard. When I thought about Red Bird I thought as much about the bird as I did about the fluttering of the heart.

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After internalizing the linguistic formula and entering it into a repetition of speech and writing, I started finding evidence of Red Bird in the world. Most notably in Mary Oliver’s poetry collection & Agnes Martin’s drawing. Agnes says that Red Bird is a bird in the mind. Tracking down Mary Oliver’s poetry collection culminated in a moment in a bookstore in Colorado on a rainy day, finding a copy of Red Bird, taking it off the shelf and opening it to find there was a letter in an envelope tucked between the pages addressed “to You from the Universe” written in blue paint.

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I read Mary Oliver’s collection and researched more about Red Bird. In navigation there are four cardinal directions, in the Angelic hierarchy there are four cardinal Angels.

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When I would see a Red Bird in the world I would take it as a reminder to live with the awareness that everything is seen & heard. But at this time in the unfolding there was still an oscillation between outside and inside. Red Bird was oscillating between being something concrete or literal and something abstract and in the mind. Recognition would take place outside and be brought within, or my imagination would make a formula and see how the world responded. The research was looking outside of myself, and the creative part of me was looking within. Bird in the world, Bird in the mind, Bird of the heart.

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It wasn’t until just yesterday, nearly two years into this Red Bird unfolding, that I had a new insight, or received what I currently feel to be a final understanding — why everything is seen & heard.

It’s because God is everything. God is in everything. It’s all seen and heard because it is all the same thing: the mind of God. All difference is illusion.

While this might not sound like a great insight, what happened for me is that I suddenly felt it to be true. I think this is the beginning of Faith.

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 I wrote a poem for Red Bird:

Red Bird

Soul-leading thread,
When my soul is threadbare, and cold –

In possessing the finite, you are free.
Possessed by the infinite, you are bound.

Light through your wings motion
Is a pink cloud whirling
Before four heavens
At day’s end, or beginning –

Your wavering red line
Dissolving in air;
Threshold-keeper of parting worlds,
Falling & lifting –

Augury of spirit’s escaping;
To go on
Becoming material, ribboning into form.

Bird in the mind,
Witnessed outside & recognized within,
Visible in no sense but innocent discernment.

Swooping through, across;
A flight of fire over abysses –
A song to sing in the silence of the heart.

Red Bird,
It is enough to know that you are here.
Revealing the seeing without being seer.
The hearing without being ear.

You will be what you will be,
Returning with twigs for the nest
In fractals of swaying treelight.

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