Book Review – Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

It was morning,and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea.

A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water,and the word for breakfast flock flashed through the air,till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food.It was another busy day beginning.

But way off alone,out by himself beyond boat and shore,Jonathan Livingstone seagull was practicing. A hundred feet in the sky he lowered his seagullwebbed feet,lifted his beak, and strained to hold a painful hard twisting curve through his wings.The curve meant that he would slow,and now he slowed untill the wind was whisper in his face,untill the ocean stood still beneath him.He narrowed his eyes in fierce concentration ,held his breath ,forced one….single….more….inch…..of ….curve…..then his feathers ruffled,he stalled and fell.

Seagulls as you know,never falter,never stall.To stall in  the air for them disgrace and it is dishonor.

But Jonathan Livingstone seagull,unashamed,streching his wings again in that trembling hard curve – slowing,slowing,and stalling again –

Was no ordinary bird.

Overcome space and all we have left is here.Overcome time and all we have left is now.

Chiang says” You will begin to touch heaven in the moment you begin to touch perfect speed.And that isn’t flying thousand miles an hour,or a million,or flying at the speed of light.Because any number is a limit,and perfection does’nt have limits.Perfect speed,my son,is being there.”

A classic from Richard Bach the book has inspired millions including me.I feel a tremendous sense of identification with Jonathan Seagull Achievement that’s measured with a view of what people think of you is shallow,fleeting but achievement that brings you closer to yourself is permanent,for always and it is a part of you.Life is a continuous journey of raising the bar on yourself .The joy of knowing that you have been able to challenge yourself and win is unparalleled.Enjoy being yourself,revel in your own company,wake up early or work late in the night………the silence is bliss full.

Lines from Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena resonate a similiar resolve :

सामर्थ्य केवल इच्छा का दूसरा नाम है,
जीवन और मृत्यु के बीच जो भूमि है
वह नियति की नहीं मेरी है।

A classic that takes about an hour to read but a lifetime to absorb.Read one page at a time.