Once upon a time, a beautiful ostrich was born. Well, it was beautiful to its mother anyway. While it was with its mother, it was the happiest, most carefree ostrich it knew. One day, it got separated from its mother and from that day on, it never found her again. From that day on, the ostrich remained uneasy.
Every day, it did what it thought was what ostriches were created to do. It was good to its fellow ostriches and thought itself better than most of them at being good. However, it found it couldn’t ignore the possibility that there might be more to the meaning of ostrich life. This thought frightened the ostrich for two reasons. If this were true, and it didn’t discover it while it was still alive, and it missed preparing for whatever might happen to it after it had died, its brief life on earth might turn out to have been wasted. More urgently, pursuing this possibility would mean that its comfortable security, that its position on life’s
meaning was all there was to it, would be challenged. It decided to protect itself from this challenge by burying its head in the sand, so that the uneasiness couldn’t find it and it could ignore it. Because the sand blinded the ostrich, it never discovered that most ostriches do this.
For some of its ostrich friends, the sand is scientific knowledge. Their reliance on observation of what can be observed leads to their conviction that what cannot be observed cannot be real. Anything else is merely ostrich superstition. They remain blinded to anything beyond what they materially experience.
For other ostrich friends, the sand is an essential comfort. It protects them from questions about their position. They feel protected from uncomfortable challenges to their certainty. They feel comfort in the security of their convictions. Of course, the fact that they cannot see challenges does not mean that the challenges cannot find them or that they will go away.
After some time, the ostrich tired of having its head in the sand. But what to do? The protection from exposure to new and challenging thinking was all that was keeping it safe. Pondering this, it finally thought to itself, what if I just take a peek around me. What could go wrong? The moment I came across a challenging thought, I could quickly put my head back in the sand and all would be safe again. So, in a flash of courage, it cautiously raised its head.
To its surprise, it discovered that there was not a threat to be seen. It dipped its toe into something new and nothing bad happened. It wondered if it would be good to eat as it had been unavoidably fasting for far too long a time. It cautiously touched the new thought with its tongue and discovered it tasted like nothing it had ever experienced. Its first bite was not very tasty, but it didn’t taste too bad either. The more it exposed itself to this new
thinking, the better it tasted.
Days later, the ostrich had still not put its head back into the sand. It had discovered one or two other ways of thinking and found they posed no threat. It started to enjoy this exploration. It decided the view out of the sand was much better than the view in it. It found that the more it explored, the more sense things made and the richer its knowledge became. It never returned to the sand.
What about you? Are you ready to refresh your thinking on life’s purpose? Great New Year’s resolution?