Once upon a time there lived two very unusual Eagles whom both had three heads.
The two Eagles both had the same affliction, one head was always good, one head was always bad and the poor third head couldn’t decide between the two.
Both the two Eagles and their three heads were often found talking amongst themselves, the good heads that represented love, kindness and compassion often fought with the bad heads, that represented Anger, hatred and loathing. The good and bad heads always argued as to the best solution to any given problem, and the poor third head always felt stuck in the middle and unable to make a decision as what to do.
The first head, the one that was good, always wanted to see the honesty and trust in everything exploring the problem with an open heart. The second head, the one that was bad, always found the negative side of the argument usually wanting to be cautious waiting to see what unfolded.
The third head listened to the other two but could never decide between them, both raised valuable points that couldn’t be ignored, and as such a decision could never be found and our two poor Eagles would spend many hours in confusion, never making their minds up as to what was the best choice.
One day this all changed
Once again both our three headed Eagles found themselves in a moral dilemma and became stuck in their thinking. The good heads were adamant they were correct and the bad heads were positive they were right and so the arguments pursued.
It was at this exact moment that one of our Three Headed Eagles had an idea. It decided that the only way to live a normal life, like all the other Eagles, was to cut off the other two heads. Only doing this, thought the Eagle, would it sever their constant arguing and bickering between what was always right and wrong, good or bad.
The other Three Headed Eagle didn’t agree, they thought this idea wasn’t such a good plan, but agreed that something should be done.
Our first three headed Eagle makes their plan to separate themselves from the other two heads. With careful timing and precision our three headed Eagle takes a sharp knife and quickly cuts the other two heads off in one fell swoop.
For just a moment all is content in our Eagles world. There is no more fighting and arguing between the other two heads and our Eagle feels at peace.
However as our Eagle leaps from the tree tops, stretching his wings ready for a celebratory flight, he suddenly finds himself completely off balance and totally out of control. Try as he might our Eagle cannot gain composure without his other two heads. With the ground rushing ever closer there is only going to be one inevitable outcome and our Eagle hits the ground with a nasty thud.
The second of our three headed Eagles has a different kind of plan. His plan is to use kindness and compassion toward his situation and so begins to meditate. He focused his attention on his breathing, breathing in, breathing out, becoming truly present in the moment. Slowly he witnesses a calming with the chatter of his other two heads.
With this calming came a quietness slowly the other two heads began to shrink every so slightly. Seeing the other two heads become smaller and smaller was all our Three headed Eagle needed to know that his plan was working.
With a determined effort, closely following every breath and the silence that comes with it, the two heads shrink ever more slightly and became increasingly quieter, until finally they disappeared altogether, our three headed Eagle had found his true freedom.
Author: Dhamma Tāpasā*
Moral of the Story:
Our inner speech is just like that of our three headed Eagles, always chattering away and seemingly never ending. The fundamental reason for all of our life’s problems is this inner speech, our inner speech creates all of our fears, anger, hatred, boredom, guilt, anxiety and depression. And the exceedingly high regard we place onto this inner speech, onto our own thoughts, is, and has become, the main obstacle in our lives.
Our inner speech is just like from our story The Monk and The Grasshopper, always jumping from one thing to the next. And just like our poor Three Headed Eagles, this inner speech that jumps around from one thing to the next can cause us extreme amounts of personal torment and suffering.
When the mind is full of thoughts and wanders around jumping from this to that, sooner or later it finds itself in negativity. It is like having a lengthy conversation with a dear friend, you may start the conversation with praise and positivity but gradually, sooner or later it turns to negativity, criticising the world around us or our own lives at that of others. The exact same thing happens with our inner thinking and inner speech.
To help us still and calm this inner speech we practise meditation and mindfulness. We focus our attention on our breathing, either at the tip of our nose or on the rise and fall of the abdomen. In doing so we gradually witness the silence that lies between this inner speech. To begin with this silence is ever so subtly and needs pure focus on our breath. Gradually as you see one thought subside and another just begin, there, right there in between those two thoughts is a silence a stillness and calm. A silence so sweet your mind will begin to want more.
Meditation and mindfulness take practice but just like anything you practice at you get better and better. And the better we get at meditation and mindfulness your inner speech becomes quieter. And the quieter you become the more happiness you will have.
*Dhamma Tāpasā a trained ex Buddhist Monk and the spiritual name given to Andrew Hallas. An inspirational teacher of mindfulness and meditation techniques through the art of storytelling. Dhamma Tāpasā is able to capture our imaginations whilst teaching us valuable moral principles and deepening our understanding of the human consciousness and the everyday problems we face.