Featured Teaching of the Month

From To Show Another Way: 
How to Learn, Heal, and Serve at a Time of Crisis on Planet Earth

On the Wings of an Eagle

If I had the wings of an eagle
I would soar to the heights of the sky
To look down on the beauty of life itself
And the marvels of creation from on high 

~ Richard Moriarty

 

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You may have noticed that the phrase, “the bigger picture,” has become more prevalent in our language over the last several years. This phrase often weaves itself throughout conversations and writings of those drawn to an expanded—even an evolutionary—perspective of life. When we heed the call to see a bigger picture, we accept the invitation to explore what it means for ourselves, for others, and for the world at large.

A call to see the bigger picture is a call to rise above the daily fray of events, whether personal or global. In our personal life, we may face physical and mental health challenges, financial uncertainty, broken relationships, lack of education, and loneliness. Living in an unstable world adds to our distress—a world blanketed with natural disasters, wars, economic insecurity, misused technology, political upheavals, terrorism, pandemics, and threats of global destruction from climate collapse.

Eagle Consciousness

Once we choose to see the bigger picture, we expand our search for a higher consciousness that exists beyond our present comprehension of the world and our linear, black-and-white thinking. We begin to seek answers to far-reaching questions that show us another way to see the world, such as:

  • What is the greatest need in our world today?
  • How do we connect with our inner strength?
  • What is the highest service we can extend to humanity?
  • How do we learn to stretch our perception and see the bigger picture of our personal life, of our work, of our place on the planet, and of our Universe?

These questions remind me of what a colleague recently said to me: “To learn to see the bigger picture, we must fly on the wings of an eagle.” In other words, to learn to see the bigger picture, we need to be shown another way to view the world. We must consciously rise above events and view the totality of their patterns, their energies, and their truths. We must move into more of the air element and out of the density of the earth element. We must move out of the cave of the bear into the sky of the eagle.


The eagle symbolizes high ideals, loftiness, clear insight, dignity, wisdom, and the highest place we can reach. The eagle is strength, height, authority, pride, victory, release from bondage, contemplation, inspiration, ascension, and the element of air. Mythically thought to be able to fly up to the sun and gaze unwaveringly upon it, the eagle represents the spiritual principle in humanity that soars heavenwards. Developing eagle consciousness would not be a small attainment in one’s life.

Cultivating the metaphor of eagle consciousness is a powerful way to see the bigger picture of our personal life, our community, our nation, our world—and the Home where it resides, Planet Earth. On the wings of an eagle, we fly high and soar. We utilize the air element to carry us above to a place that frees us from our personality entanglements. In this place, we see the greater good of all, where all differences have a win-win resolution. We see events and patterns of events; we see cause and the effect of cause.

The Bigger Picture of Service

Few of us are able to consciously and consistently see the bigger picture. To do so requires that we practice showing ourselves another way—readjusting our thought processes, letting go of old belief systems, and embracing a new reality. Seeing the bigger picture punctures our illusions of what we believe to be true. We learn the true meaning of the phrase, “things are not as they appear to be.” Truth revealed by the bigger picture comforts us. Contrary to being fearful of what we may not know, seeing the truth of what’s so can gift us with healing, relief, and serenity.

Seeing the bigger picture has a learning curve. If developing eagle consciousness is our heart-centered goal, we need to learn how and when to shift our awareness from small to large, from constraint to expansiveness, and from limitation to previously unimaginable possibilities. Our compassionate actions will arise naturally when we see the bigger picture of service, serving others by giving the right amount of the right thing for the right reason and at the right time.

The eagle does not escape the storm.
The eagle simply uses the storm to lift it higher.
It spreads its mighty wings and rises
on the winds that bring the storm. 

~ Jack White


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 To Show Another Way: Applications

Choose one or both of the following to explore “the bigger picture” in your life:

  1. Place the focus of your attention in your heart. Silently observe an interaction between two people. Use eagle consciousness by centering your awareness on “moving out of the cave of the bear into the sky of the eagle.”

    Ask yourself: What impact did using eagle consciousness have on how I experienced and interpreted this interaction? On how I was shown another way? Be specific.
  2. Fly on the wings of an eagle when you listen to or watch the news. Ask yourself these questions in relation to two or three news items:

    What patterns, energies, and truths emerged for me as I viewed the news from the perspective of the bigger picture? What is the larger truth “behind” the words? Behind the nonverbal language of news reporters and those being reported on? How was I shown another way to listen to or watch the news?

Source: Trout, Susan. To Show Another Way: How to Learn, Heal, and Serve at a Time of Crisis on Planet Earth. Alexandria, VA: Institute for the Advancement of Service, 2020.

Photo attribution: © Can Stock Photo / stevebyland

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