PSIKÉ

PSIKÉ

“When my suffering was increased,

I soon realized that there were two ways

with which they could respond to the situation:

react with bitterness or transform

suffering into a creative force.

I chose the latter.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING

 

“Hope has two beautiful children:

their names are anger and courage;

angry to see how things are

and courage not to allow them to continue that.”

SAINT AUGUSTINE

 

 

These two quotes, so magnificent, on our ability to pull ahead in critical situations by calling for our inner strength and our courage, are into the climax part (a selection of aphorisms about happiness, love, transformation and courage) of “The Maze of Happiness” (now also available as appbook), which I wrote along with my friend Francesc Miralles almost six years ago. And I want to introduce here one of the excerpts of the story, which reads:

“Passengers turned up sparingly down the cars, some loaded with huge bundles, and crossed the platform to reach the fields. They started queuing in front of what looked like a scarecrow. Yet, dozens of large and small birds kept flying around around it busily.

Ariadne queued up for the unusual procession, wondering how could be about this puppet being so unefficient in scaring birds.

All passengers seemed excited at the prospect of visiting the Scarecrow, but the fact was that once they were close, the visit was limited to a few seconds look and then they started returning from whence they came.

When it came Ariadne’s turn, she was stunned to see that those sticks were not supporting a puppet stuffed with straw, but a real man smiled under his wide-brimmed hat. Around him, dozens of birds fluttered chirping loudly.

-What are you doing there? -She asked- Do not you realize that you do not scare any birds?

-I do not want to scare them. I am an attractcrow, instead.

– Attractcrow? I did not know there was something like that.

-Just because one not knows something does not mean it does not exist -he explained. Besides, did not you notice the name of the station?

-Yes: Scarefears.

-Well, now you know why I’m here.

-To scare birds’ fears? What nonsense!

-Not only birds’, also people’s. It was Master Obelisk’s idea.

-Who is that?

He let me know the true meaning of scarecrowing. It is true that at first it frightens the birds, because it resembles a farmer who can try to kill them so they do not eat the seeds. However, when they overcome the fear it becomes an opportunity, as the scarecrow determines the place where they can find food. Isn’t it fabulous? Underneath our fears it is the treasure we’re looking for.

-It’s a very original way of seeing it.

-Thus spake the Master Obelisk: fear is the means.

-Why the means?

-It is the means to find what you need. But first you must open the door of fear: it will take you to what you most secretly crave.

-Then fear is an opportunity.

-Yes, because it lets you know what you’re looking for. I’ll give you a very clear example: the fear of death. People who are terrified of the idea of dying actually have a great desire to live, but do not dare to live  according to the dictates of their hearts. So they fear death: because it causes them bitterness to leave this world without having accomplished their own missions.

-And what if you do not know what your mission is? It is not so easy to find the meaning of life! Ariadne protested. I’ve been around here for four days and I have not managed to find the center of the maze!

-Fear is the means -repeated Attractcrows as an answer. Be instructed by it and find the seeds.

That said, he dismissed her, lifting his straw hat.

And Ariadne continued her journey through the maze, attentive and awake to see, first, if she was able to overcome her fears and, second, if she would find the butterfly that would lead her to the maze’s end, as it read the legend.”

 

Symbol of the soul, life, vital breath, the butterfly is a metaphor for resurrection, rebirth, immortality, and transformation. So it is freedom.

On the other hand, the presence of butterflies in a natural environment is an indicator of the ecological health of that environment. Since due to their fragility, butterflies are bright indicators of pollution and lack of proper conservation of biodiversity. Just because of this, when an ecosystem is deteriorating, they are the first living beings in extinguising. Fine, sensitive and fragile, they do not lie. They are where the health, diversity, life and beauty are. Now that everything is born, in Spring, it is a joy to find and see them return, specially for us parents, who can appreciate the surprise and fascination they arise in our children.

Interestingly, the word Psiké, in classical Greek, means soul, life force, and butterfly, and psycho the verb means “to blow”. Breath of life, breath of hope, the butterfly is the symbol of the free spirit, healthy and happy one. Another etymological curiosity, for example, is that the word psychology means study (logos) of the soul (psyche).

Perhaps because of this, good people have the soul (Psiké) like a butterfly (Psiké, too): delicate, beautiful, sensitive. And perhaps, fears we live in this life are like the walls of a maze into which we are prisoners. The maze, is a symbol of the soul imprisoned within walls taht are built of fears. The butterfly, a symbol of free spirit flying over those walls with the impulse of the force that gives us the love of life.

 

Yes, fear is the means like Master Obelisk said.

And the butterfly… is you. It is worth remembering, Psiké: soul, life force, butterfly.

 

Kisses and hugs,

 

Álex

 

Alex Rovira