From the foreword:
A Journey Beyond Limitations combines two previously published books, The Three Feathers and The Dawning of the True Self. Some of the feedback I have received from readers over the years was the wish to have a combined volume of the two. I always felt that they should be published together eventually, as both complement each other very nicely.
The Three Feathers, a fable, tells the story of Joshua Aylong, a young rooster, who wakes up one morning with the realization that this can’t be it and that there must be more to life than what he sees in front of him each day. He longs to leave his limitations behind. His life no longer fulfills him, up to the point where one day he musters all his courage, jumps up onto the highest perch inside the pen and flies out. His adventure, the journey of discovery of who he is, begins.
The Three Feathers was originally written for those among us who, in one way or another, have experienced that very same longing inside—the longing to find meaning in a world where very little can be found.
The second age group, one that I didn’t think about when I wrote it, was that of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Whenever I read in front of a class at a school, I usually get the following question: “Why did you choose a rooster as the hero of your story?” This deserves an answer here, slightly changed to address the adult reader: Joshua is a perfect hero because he is very limited at the outset of his quest. He isn’t overly smart or strong, neither can he fly very high or over long distances. His limitations far outweigh his abilities. He’s like me. You might see yourself in him. He is an average rooster and he does what average roosters do on a daily basis. When you meet him for the first time in the story, you’ll never think him to be a hero.
But Joshua has a dream and a very powerful one. In it he sees three feathers on a blackened stone deep inside a mountain. The feathers seem to call to him, demanding to be found. And when he wakes up the next morning…
He found himself gazing longingly through the fence and toward the world beyond. “I need to find them,” he thought to himself one day. “I have to find them.” Joshua could feel the unrest among the hens when he jumped up onto the highest perch of the pen. For a moment he thought he should just stay with them, protect them, settle their quarrels, and strut his stuff in front of them as he always did. But something inside him knew that he would not be able to do that anymore. And when this something, this force inside him, swelled up and grew and became utterly unbearable, he opened his wings and jumped.
While in the midst of writing The Three Feathers, I realized that Joshua’s journey was an allegory for not only my own spiritual quest but possibly one for many other people. When it was completed, I thought it might be helpful to have a companion. The finished product was The Dawning of the True Self which compares Joshua’s journey to enlightenment to our own.
I have been a student of spiritual practices since my early twenties. If there was one realization that stood out during all those years, it was that we are all searching for something we can’t quite pinpoint. We are aware—some more, others less—that this can’t possibly be all there is. We search in many ways but, except for moments of respite, most of us can hardly claim to have found what it is we are searching for so fervently.
If you have read The Three Feathers already, don’t bother buying this one. In that case and if you wish to dive a little deeper into the spiritual aspects of it, I suggest to get The Dawning of the True Self. If you have not read The Three Feathers yet and are looking for a story that might mirror your own journey to some extent, then this might be for you.
It is my hope that this set serves you in whatever form you need it to and helps you on your journey.
New Paltz, New York, in May 2015