By Patrick Dongvillo, Oregon

I was driving home on a stormy night, when my headlights suddenly outlined a solitary goose standing in the farm’s driveway. This goose shouldn’t be here. It’s supposed to be in the barn, I thought. With the safety of the farm, domestic geese never really learn to fly; they just become fat and happy. So this lone goose would likely be a sitting duck for some hungry coyote.

But I was in my warm, dry car, wearing my good clothes. Outside it was wet, cold, and windy. Even though my inner guidance said, “Just do it,” my mind was trying to convince me the goose could take care of itself. After all, a goose can put up a big, nasty fight with its razor-sharp claws and biting beak. And normally, there is no way to walk up to a goose undetected.

But eventually I surrendered and braved the storm and possible injury to save that goose.

The next morning, I opened the barn doors for the farm geese, and my flock of overstuffed, lazy couch potatoes waddled out.

Suddenly the air exploded as a sleek, light-bodied goose rocketed skyward. I stood there with my jaw hanging open, watching this mystery traveler disappear into the morning light. When I glanced down at the flock, all thirty of them had their heads cocked to one side so they could watch the wonderful sight of a fellow goose flying high in the sky. Stunned, I realized that the night before I had struggled to save not a farm goose, but a wild Canada goose.


I Can Fly. Who Knew?

What happened next was even more incredible and transformative for me.

That day, and for months to come, the whole flock—every single one of them—left the security of the barnyard and flats where they normally spend their days and hiked up to the highest point of the pasture. There, to my absolute astonishment, they created their own flying exercises: they’d run down the slope, flapping their wings and squawking.

At first, only some were able to get a little airborne. But in time many got stronger and could glide three to five feet off the ground for up to eighty feet.

I was amazed they persisted for so long, after only a glimpse of what was possible. And they achieved great results. These geese always had the potential to fly. But until they actually saw that wild Canada goose, they had never done anything but peck around the barnyard.

Now they ventured far from their normal safety and security and worked to achieve a goal, learning to soar to whatever extent they could. And even when they were in the barnyard, they flew across the field, celebrating their freedom.

The Mahanta (my inner spiritual guide) was showing me something very important. I’d like to say I’m not like these geese; I’m not scared to venture out of my comfort zone and security; I am not a waddling couch potato. But in reality, we probably all have a little bit of silly goose in us. Yet, all it sometimes takes is watching one among us soar. And suddenly we remember who and what we really are.

For me, this experience was a strong reminder from the Inner Master that we are Soul—great spiritual beings of God. And we don’t have to live out our days pecking in the barnyard.

In ECK, we really can soar spiritually by practicing the spiritual exercises, creativity, and perseverance. We can be much freer than we ever imagined!

—Excerpted from “We Are Soul,” by Patrick Dongvillo, in the 2016 Eckankar Journal, Volume 40