The hollow bones of eagles are like the emptiness of form revered in the practice of Soto Zen Buddhism. Except emptiness is expressed with an enso, the popular Zen circle. Many are unaware that this emptiness of life expressed in the enso is empty because it is vast, it is open for anything to exist within it at any moment. In the hollowness of our lives ease is given passage through without effort. The bone marrow, if still there, softens into openness from being stimulated by something new and fresh coming in to sustain your life. In the hollowness we are not weighed down by how our senses perceive the world and each other. We understand that we are not always certain of what we see, smell, taste, touch or think. In hollowness we are not confused by past experiences that can surface unconsciously. We can breathe ourselves into freedom from the struggle that we were taught to engage as children. In the same way as being hollow, emptiness of the bone, allows the passage of breath into what appears as nothing but is still heard and felt as a sacred song. We cannot perceive the origin of this song. We can only experience it.
In the introduction I talked about the eagle body being heavy and muscular. I talked about how the eagle needs the strength of its muscles to push off the ground into the air. It’s big and tough. The eagle is an animal that faces threat full force and is considered a great predator. These are the characteristics I assume motivated using the bald eagle as the national bird of the United States. But in my experience with seeing eagles fly and having prayed over one that had died, I know this soft animal is not about struggle. I only use the eagle-body to represent the amount of strength and energy that we use as humans within a consciousness of struggle.
All of us fly into this world when we are born. Once we begin to talk and walk we are grounded in a consciousness of struggle. We are warned that the world is dangerous. It is a well-meaning act on the part of our parents or guardians to ground us so that we survive the harsh world. Does this grounding take away our ability to walk lightly in the world? Do we remain as heavy as the body of an eagle or can we transform back into the flight of our birth at will.