There is nothing better than this beautiful tale to give a glimpse of the infinite that resides in all of us. A seagull who revolts against the accepted behavior of “The Flock” and is considered an outcast. Through his quest for perfect flight, he soon discovers others of like mind and his true nature. Excerpt below is taken from the legendary book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, written by Richard Bach .
Fletcher turned to his instructor, and there was a moment of fright in his eye. “Me leading? What do you mean, me leading? You’re the instructor here. You can’t leave!”
“Couldn’t I? Don’t you think that there might be other flocks, other Fletchers, that need an instructor more than this one, that’s on its way toward the light?”
“Me? Jonathan, I’m just a plain seagull, and you’re …”
Jonathan sighed and looked out to sea. “You don’t need me any longer. You need to keep finding yourself, a little more each day, that real, unlimited Fletcher Seagull. He’s your instructor. You need to understand him and to practice him.”
A moment later Jonathan‘s body wavered in the air, shimmering, and began to go transparent. “Don’t let them spread silly rumors about me, or make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I’m a seagull. I like to fly, maybe …”
“Poor Fletch. Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.”
The shimmering stopped. Jonathan Seagull had vanished into empty air.
After a time, Fletcher Gull dragged himself into the sky and faced a brand-new group of students, eager for their first lesson.
“To begin with,” he said heavily, “you’ve got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your thought itself.”
The young gulls looked at him quizzically. Hey, man, they thought, this doesn’t sound like a rule for a loop.
Fletcher sighed and started over. “Hm. Ah… very well,” he said, and eyed them critically. “Let’s begin with Level Flight.” and saying that, he understood all at once that his friend had quite honestly been no more divine than Fletcher himself.
And though he tried to look properly severe for his students, Fletcher Seagull suddenly saw them all as they really were, just for a moment, and he more than liked, he loved what it was he saw. No limits, Jonathan? he thought, and he smiled. His race to learn had begun.
This short excerpt is an incredible allegory for finding the limitless self within us all. This limitless/infinite self is often hinted at by scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita and Ashtavakra Gita. Also in various other yogic traditions, its unlimited potential has been expounded.
- Book : “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, by Richard Bach, Published by Scribner, New York, 1970