06 June 2011

Stilts Visits Ananda Ashram

Stilts has been feeling blurry lately. Do you ever feel that way? Unclear, garbled, or fuzzy-sighted? He decided to take some time in the Catskills to refocus and refresh his mind, body, and spirit.

His yoga teacher suggested he visit an ashram—a place where he could practice yoga, be close to nature, meditate, and be surrounded by like-minded folks. So Stilts took a bus upstate and stopped at Ananda Ashram. It looked perfect. It even had a white picket fence.

As soon as he entered the ashram, he found The Enlightened One and immediately perched on his knee. "I can't see the forest for its trees, Buddha. Can you help me out?" Stilts asked. Buddha smiled and nodded his head and then whispered wisdom into Stilts' ear. When Buddha was finished Stilts thanked him and flew off to think about what he had learned.

Stilts landed at the ashram's bird bath at the same moment as another bird. After exchanging a friendly greeting, the new bird chimed, "I'm Roman Times. I'm from the Upper West Side and have never been to an ashram before." Stilts suggested they take one more dip and then explore the place together while he shared Buddha's words of wisdom.

When they arrived at the bridge by the lake, Stilts rehearsed: Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. 

When they reached the lake, Roman flew over the glass as Stilts shared: Let yourself be open and life will be easier.  A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.

Did you know Tibetans put prayers on flags because they believe the prayers will be blown by the winds to spread compassion?

Did you know that deer are associated to Buddha's first teaching in Deer Park? Can you imagine being so peaceful that even animals would stop to listen?

As they made their way through the woods, Stilts and Roman came upon a stack of logs. "If these trees could talk..." but before Stilts could finish his thoughts, Roman yelled, "I love that post-rock band!" There was an awkward moment of silence as they realized their sync had sunk for a moment.

They found a dense collection of leaves and decided to think in silence. Before they began, Stilts shared: Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds...


As they walked back through the woods, they stopped to look at the sun peering through the branches. In this quiet moment, they felt a rush of realization: they were seeing the forest for its trees.

As they rounded the lawn near the garden, Stilts turned to Roman,"You know, Roman, I think you would really like my friends. We call ourselves The Jolly Troop. You should do a fly-by sometime because... well, 'birds of a feather flock together.'" Roman smiled gratefully and replied with some Emerson: The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship. And just like that, a new friendship was formed.


  1. Dear angel-human, there are so many books in you that it thrills me to think of one day having a stack of them to hold and marvel at. Here you have painted words of wisdom and deep-seated joy, just as you are wise and joyful in your deepest nature. Sing on!

  2. oh my goodness! I love Stilts and his friends, I really enjoy every single part of the story! It is wonderful to have him in my life and many other birds.
    This is a wonderful surprise, you are so talented to have visions from your heart and be able to make it a reality for you and others.

  3. @Maria: Your kind words inspire and uplift! I always see many birds flying around your head and heart! Stacks of books?! Sounds fantastic!

    @Elias: Stilts feels the same for you and your friends! You were placed in his path for a reason and he and the rest of The Jolly Troop will be blessed for your life work! Thanks Elias!