Fixed views and sore heads

plums_0.standard 460x345 There is a plum tree just outside the place where I live.

In the late summer the plums ripen and many wasps come to this wonderful restaurant for the free food and drink.


03_Vespula_germanica_Richard_Bartz I like to have the fresh air coming in so I often leave my door open.

Some of the wasps get lost (maybe they’ve drunk too much) and they end up inside my flat.

They fly to the windows and try to get out through the glass.

This they cannot do.

They try very hard, and they hammer with their little heads on the glass over and over again. They use up a lot of energy and sound quite frantic.

The noise is quite irritating, and I feel sorry for the wasps, so I open the window for them.

These windows are Velux Windows set in the roof; as you pull down the handle the window open up and out into the space outside.

As I do this, the wasp is free to go … but it doesn’t leave, it clings tightly to the glass.

It doesn’t see that it is free to go anywhere it likes; the wasp is literally holding a fixed view.

It’s little eyes are very close to the glass, looking through the pane of glass to the freedom it desires, and it has no awareness that it is already out in space.

Even when the window is almost vertical–so all around the wasp is space–the wasp insists, with great agitation, on trying to get through the glass.

The wasp is unaware of the futility of its approach, and holds very tightly to the very thing which is preventing it from being free.

Our attachment to thoughts, fixed views, makes us like the wasps; agitated, buzzing, repeating old patterns, with no rest. We are so caught up in this behaviour that we ignore the spacious awareness in which we move;  the view in which  alternative, more helpful, moves are possible.

The true freedom that comes from seeing the trap of believing in thoughts may not be available to wasps but for us, thanks to the teachings, this is a real and very wonderful possibility.

How to liberate the wasps? Me, I use some care and flick them off with a plastic spatula. If I did not do this the wasp would die—exhausted from its efforts trying to get through the glass.

We are more fortunate in that, having come across the teachings, we can see that moment by moment, the choice is in our hands.

We can hold our fixed view in front of us, look through it and be stuck; or be aware of the ways in which we construe (or construct) things,  relax and be free.

P.S Today a butterfly flew in and up to the window. It too fluttered against the window pane trying to get out. As I opened the window, the butterfly settled down. When the window was fully open, a breeze slightly lifted the wings of the butterfly and it flew up and away, out into space.

I wrote this some years ago when living in a different place,but was reminded of it today as i was trying to persuade a fly to leave through the open velux window in the kitchen. This was more tricky as he had flown in following his nose and was not trying to escape. He flew out and then flew back in again (perhaps having a liking for samsara!) So encouraging him out of the kitchen into another, more boring, room and leaving him there with the window open….was like us in meditation, cooling down the busyness to see clearly and find our way.. it took a while, he was there when i first checked, but eventually he went free : )