This little dove is from the cover of a childhood story book of mine. The book is one of those 3D pop up books with bits n pieces that can move! absolute magic, when I was five years old. I have kept this book all these years and today I took it out to use in an art project. As I paged through the pages, many feelings and experiences came back to me. Now, today, with the insight of years of spiritual study and practice, I see life very differently and many of those childhood experiences and the impact that they had on me have become more vivid. And many of them have found their 'place' in my psyche after years of struggle with emotional torment.
The one thing that I noticed for the first time is that on each and every page of the book is a picture of the white dove! I cannot recall having noticed it particularly. As I sat with the book and allowed myself to be absorbed into those magical pages again, I allowed myself to fall into a deep state of contemplation, letting go of my adult mind and senses.
I slowly paged through the book and allowed the memories to speak to me. And the little white bird became my guide; it shone with a luminosity and I saw how it formed a thread between the pages. I felt my child's mind and heart resonate with the feelings of Hansel and Gretel (the fairy tale of the book). Their sadness at the plight of their family; their deep feelings of fear at being lost and abandoned in the woods; their horror when they realise that it is a witch that has outwitted them; Hansel's desperation at being locked up and his sister's empathy. And in each of these situations and feelings I found myself. All those feelings were my own. I walked in the darkness with them and throughout it all, the little white bird shone with a message. What is the message? Where is this little white bird taking me? What is it telling me?
I paged to the most horrible and thrilling at the same time, page of the book : where Gretel shoves the witch into the fire! And there the little white bird is sitting on the corner of the oven!
And then it dawned on me : the little white bird (the white dove in fact) is the symbol of Hope and Faith! Even without knowing the symbology, the five year old me knew the meaning of that little white bird.
And nothing has changed. Look around you. Wherever you are, whatever you are going through : the little white bird is with you. It may look different to my white dove, but Hope and Faith's messengers are always with you. That small still voice inside your heart, is also in your outer world. Maybe the messenger comes in the form of a friend with a supportive word; or in a line in a book that really jumps out at you; or a new blossom on the fruit tree or a new song on the radio. There is no separation between your inner and outer worlds. The Divine Power that loves you unconditionally, leaves bread crumbs for you to guide you back home. Home is that place within yourself, where you feel safe and nurtured. Home within exists at all times, but sometimes our minds have become so overwrought with fear and worry and our hearts have closed down and we forget how to nurture and take care of ourselves.
You have to feather that nest within. Do what it takes. Set time aside for meditation, contemplation, sacred art, devotional activities, reading sacred literature or spending time in nature. Find the tools that will help you - inform yourself about emotions and feelings and the workings of the mind. Make lifestyle changes, eat better, sleep more, drink more water.
And change the way you talk to yourself. Turn your inner talk into positive and optimistic self-talk. Become your own biggest fan! I used to ask my student 'which team do you play for? your own or the opposition?'
And in the same way remind yourself that whatever you feel or fear, you will find manifest in your outer world. Whatever is big and scary in your outer world, is bringing you the message that you need to change your belief systems and habits. It is not there to harm you or persecute you, but it is there to help you to overcome yourself! Yes, the enemy lives within. All of life is a divine mirror, the goddess Maya. She is dancing this incredible Leela (game) for us in order for us to get to know ourselves and to find who we are and who we are not. Only through self-knowledge will you come to Know the Divine Self.
Faith means that you have to hold on to Hope and Joy without knowing where you are going or what is happening! Faith means that you believe without reserve in a Power greater than Yourself; a loving power which never abandons you and which only has your highest interest at heart.
Faith is that little white bird.