This is not a quote from Charles Dickens' ‘A Christmas Carol’, currently being revitalised by the Walt Disney film version, although it would be appropriate. No, these words were written some 700 years before Dickens' 1843 classic first appeared, but were not translated into English until the 1850s and not published until 1889.
The words were originally Persian, from the pen of 12th century pharmacist, philosopher and poet Farrid ud-Din Attar; Edward FitzGerald, the English poet, the translator.
Attar posed this question in a still largely unknown narrative poem called ‘Bird Parliament’. FitzGerald's translation condensed this work by almost one third, a full translation, as the ‘Conference of the Birds’, was not published until 1984.
In these works, the world's birds gather and eloquently debate whether to be content with what they have, or give up all worldly things and undertake a long and hazardous physical and spiritual journey in a quest to discover fulfilment and a great leader.
They eventually agree to undertake the journey, but only 30 birds, bruised and battered, survive to discover that fulfilment and the great leader they sought was within themselves.
In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Ebenezer Scrooge discovered his true self waited within, just as the surviving birds some 700 years earlier, discovered that the true path to greatness, wisdom and fulfilment was also within.
This Christmas, we may not experience the reformation and transformation that Scrooge did when he moved from miser to humanity, or undertake the long and hazardous journey of
the birds, but we can acknowledge our talents, our skills, our passions, and where our true greatness lies.
Hiding our talents is like a miser hoarding gold - none have valueuntil realised. Not being prepared to undertake a journey of great discovery is like a bird not using its wings - progress comes only by rising above self-imposed restrictions.
Our wish for you is that you rest well over the Christmas season, appreciating all that you have,
including the power to find the greatness within you, and that you begin 2010 ready for your
unique, magnificent and challenging journey.
Quotes To Consider
"How should we reach the Mountain? And if there How get so great a prince to hear our prayer?"
Farrid ud-Din Attar (circa 1120-1229), Persian pharmacist, philosopher and poet.
Do you in life the mountain seek, Or of its presence rarely speak And, in deep, dark valleys keep confined, The body, soul and narrowed mind?"Of Travel not of Days or Months, but Years-Life-long perhaps: of Dangers, Doubts and Fears." Farrid ud-Din Attar.
Do dangers, doubts and fears Cloud your journey through the years, Or do you travel with a quest to learnLife's lessons as the darkness clears?
A Step To Take
Relax and enjoy your Christmas break.