Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Book Notes
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  • For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating.
  • We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!
  • Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher purpose for life?
  • His one sorrow was not solitude, it was that other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them; they refused to open their eyes and see.
  • Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.
  • For you have learned. One school is finished, and the times has come for another to begin.
  • The most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do, and that was to fly.
  • …that place where the Flock lived with its eyes tightly shut to the joy of flight, using its wings as means to the end of finding and fighting for food.
  • …forgetting right away where we had come from, not caring where we were headed, living for the moment.
  • We choose our next world through what we learn in this one.
    • Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations…
  • Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.
  • …any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed is being there.
    • …true nature lived, as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.
  • The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake of travel go nowhere, slowly. Those who put aside travel for the sake of perfection go everywhere, instantly.
  • …his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself.

The gull sees farthest who flies highest.

  • Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.
  • …he knew with practiced ease that he was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all.
  • Still, it was easier for them to practice high performance than it was to understand the reason behind it.
  • Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, an unlimited idea of freedom…and precision flying is a step toward expressing our real nature. Everything that limits us we have to put aside.
  • Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too…
  • We are free to go where we wish and to be what we are.
    • You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.
  • …freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form.
    • The only true law is that which leads to freedom. There is no other.
  • Why is it that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he’d just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard?
  • You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That’s what I mean by love.
  • Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.
  • To begin with, you’ve got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your thought itself.
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