There was a pigeon who would spend her entire life on my shoulder, close to the heart.  At times I looked like a bronze statue in a park covered with white-green bird s..t.  The animal shelter I called wanted to put her to sleep, “because” they would say, “she’s not native,” and I would ask, “Are you?”

We would end up spending three months together.  Her name is Angel.

She’s the sum of all teachers.  And she’s what teaching points to.

Angel would stick her beak in my ear and scream things I wouldn’t understand.  That caused a ringing in my ears.  Now, when my ears ring my mind falls into silence.  And through silence appear the words.






I ask, “Who are you?”

Angel replies, “I Am.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean ‘that’ which moved you to rescue me, healed my broken wing, fed me, and showed me how to fly. What is it in you that gave me life?”

“I don’t think I know the answer.”

“Thoughts and knowledge are subject to change. Try to drop your attention into the empty space from where they rise and fall, like the waves of an ocean. How would you recognize love and beauty if you hadn’t already possessed the memory of it?”

“Where does this memory come from?”

“You’re born with it, and that’s what gives rise to your body.”

“What is ‘death’ then?”

“It is returning to the same memory, the source from which you arise.”


“First we must ask ‘why am I here?’ – not ‘where will I be?’”

“Why am I here?”

“To experience and to express ‘self’.”

“Where will I be?”

“Abiding in self.”

“What is ‘self’?”

“The source.”

“What is ‘source’?”


“How can I be aware of this self?”

“Who is asking?”

“The self…?!”

“Yes, if you hadn’t possessed the sense of what you want to be aware of, why would you care about being aware of it?”

“What is ‘awareness’?”

“Recognition of what is.”

“Who’s the one recognizing it?”


“You mean ‘awareness’ is becoming aware of itself?”

“Already is.”

“What about ‘me’?”

“You are.”

“And you…?”

“I am.”


“Awareness of self”



“Happy New Year, Angel.”

“You as well.”

“What now?”

“Let’s celebrate it.”

“What about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow we may be dead.”

“What if we die today?”

“Then we should have celebrated it yesterday.”

“We’re alive now.”

“Then let’s celebrate the now.”



“Angel, my new year’s resolution is to forgive everyone who has broken my heart.”

“Why don’t you?”

“It’s hard to forgive unless they admit being wrong.”

“So, you’re running conditions on forgiveness!”

“Sort of.”

“What if they die before they can ask for your forgiveness, Your highness?”

“Then I’m stuck with feelings of un-forgiveness for the rest of my life; aren’t I?”

“…Sort of.”

“What now?”

“Say,  ‘Unconditional’.”


“Say, ‘ Forgiveness’.”


“Now say it together.”

“Unconditional forgiveness.”

“Repeat three times.”


“How does your heart feel now?”

“Partially whole.”



“Angel, why in life is there so much suffering?”

“It’s the survival of the organism.  You could cut your arm off and not even know it if there were no pain.”

“I know that.  I’m talking about the pain I felt when I found my cat Princess dead.  Her jaws were broken.  And her eyeballs were hanging out.  I couldn’t function well for three days.”

“Why did you feel so much pain?”

“Because we loved each other very much.”

“So, if love gives rise to suffering, would you rather not love?”

“No, I would rather love.”

“Are you still suffering?”

“Yes, and it’s the best suffering I’ve ever experienced.”


“It’s in service to love.”



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