Two Birds Sutra
Two Birds ~by Michael Jackson, 1992, Dancing the Dream
“It’s hard to tell them what I feel for you. They haven’t ever met you, and no one has your picture. So how can they ever understand your mystery? Let’s give them a clue:
Two birds sit in a tree. One eats cherries, while the other looks on. Two birds fly through the air. One’s song drops like crystal from the sky while the other keeps silent. Two birds wheel in the sun. One catches the light on its silver feathers, while the other spreads wings of invisibility.
It’s easy to guess which bird I am, but they’ll never find you. Unless…
Unless they already know a love that never interferes, that watches from beyond, that breathes free in the invisible air. Sweet bird, my soul, your silence is so precious. How long will it be before the world hears your song in mine?
Oh, that is a day I hunger for!”
In light of Michael’s musings, I find it inspiring to reflect upon two particular sutras found in the Upanishads. The Upanishads is a compilation of philosophical stories which serve to elucidate the spiritual meanings of ancient Vedic scripture. A sutra is loosely defined as a type of literary composition in Buddhism and Hinduism.
Below are two famous sutras from the Upanishads:
There are two birds sitting on the tree of the body. One of them is trying to eat the fruits of the tree, and the other is just watching. The first bird is suffering, but when he turns his attention to the other bird, he will be freed from this unhappiness.
[Mundaka Upanishad 3.1]
The individual soul and the Supreme Soul are like two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds is eating the fruit of the tree and the other bird is not trying to eat these fruits, but is simply watching His friend. Although the two birds are on the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his attention to his friend who is the Lord and knows His glories, at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties.
[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.6-7]
Michael Jackson was a lover of knowledge and a seeker of Truth. He sincerely sought to live rightly, and to live LOVE.
I like to call Two Birds “a Michael sutra.” Two Birds elucidates the spiritual longing of the soul.