Just ask the bar-headed goose, famous for traversing the Himalayan Mountains on its annual migration from the Indian subcontinent to central Asia. According to NPR, researchers have now determined that the migrant birds, although once believed to soar at heights near the peak of Everest, keep much lower to the ground, rising over obstacles and then settling back into a tighter, more earth-bound trajectory.
It’s worth considering the lesson for those of us who aspire to lives of spiritual elevation. Man is a creature of contradictions, a divinely inspired being whose ethereal soul is nevertheless trapped in a body of flesh and blood and sentenced to live his life amidst the material attractions of the physical world. We long for the heavens but, like Icarus, we risk losing our bearings and plummeting into the abyss if we neglect the needs of our earthly selves.
And so, like the goose, we rise up, we drop down, we endure the peaks and valleys of personal challenge as we try to chart our course through the uncertain terrain that is life in this world.