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An Unkindness of Ravens, A Murmuration of Souls

Did you know that a flock of ravens is called an unkindness? When they come together collectively, they are like a great gathering of solitary souls, close in proximity, yet completely disconnected and isolated from each other in flight.

Video: An Unkindness of Ravens

In stark contrast is a murmuration of starlings. When flocking they fly in complete synchronicity. Many individuals coming together as one.

Video: A Murmuration of Starlings

People too, when we are collectively in a place of fear, lack, or are focused on meeting our own needs first are much like an unkindness of ravens–in close proximity, but with little or no feeling of connection.

But there are also those beautiful moments when we are deeply, collectively engaged in selfless good works. It is then, I think, we must look like starlings from the perspective of heaven. A murmuration of souls, moving and swaying in such exquisite harmony it takes God’s breath away.

It is good to make it a practice every day to do something selfless, no matter how small, completely for the benefit of someone else. And every now and then plot conspiracies of kindness with others and watch what happens. You will feel that murmur of love and oneness fluttering in your heart.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. This thought seems to have been resonating with a lot of people lately, and your words capture it with poetry. I told my partner yesterday that I wondered how we must look from heaven–in some places, a wild, untamed mess of activities, and in others, a gentle wave of simple being. It’s the “collective kindness” that you write of that begins to create a smoothing (or soothing?) of the surface…I feel calmer just imagining that.

    THIS is some beautiful writing, friend. Thank you.

    December 3, 2011
  2. The murmuration of starlings video has not ceased to amaze me. The stark contrast of the unkindness of ravens is particularly vivid. Thank you for this. This is an excellent reminder of how beautiful connection and collective selflessness is.

    December 3, 2011

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