the seen

IMG_2020POSTCARD #112: New Delhi: Birds fly low between the buildings, suddenly see me sitting in the sunshine on the roof terrace and swoop straight up into the sky… not expecting me to be there – usually there’s nobody around on these rooftops, the human domain should be down below. I’m in their flight path and feeling a bit uneasy about that, move my chair out of the way… avoiding collision with bird flying at 30 mph.

But they seem to have communicated with each other about it somehow – is it possible? No birds pass through after that. I’m looking out from the roof terrace level with the treetops, birds flit, zoom, dart, leave no tracks in the sky. Perch on a branch for a moment, flick their head in my direction – aware of my presence, and away without warning in unexpected directions; ‘up’ is not necessarily up and neither is down – ground level is not the reference point.

And these ominous birds of prey circling high above… I’m thinking I want to take a photo if one comes near. Take out phone camera and stand in the middle of the roof, point it at the birds. They’re too far away… no, wait, there’s one coming towards me. Take a few photos as it comes closer. It seems curious, coming over for a look – nearer and nearer; our eyes meet in a strange encounter, it knows it’s being looked at and I’m on the edge of being hypnotised by it watching me here in the centre of this pool of intense vision, like a spotlight moving over the landscape.

Are these smaller birds aware of the predator – is this why they move so quickly? All this and more; an extraordinary alertness, joyful, immediate. They’re in a different kind of temporality. Their world is forever the same moment here-and-now taking place in all other locations and everywhere at the same time. I’m in slow motion, don’t see it, burdened with human mechanisms of sensory perception and lost in thought. I have to consciously look for the way to get back to ‘here’… telescopic sights of mindfulness on crosshairs of past/future that focus on the ‘now’, the point of reference – discovering I don’t have to try to create it because the present moment is already here, always present… it’s the mind that goes away.

Traces of these last thoughts vanish. If I don’t reach out for the next thing to think about, there’s just the stillness of the event itself; a transparent curtain through which there’s a transparent stage in a transparent theatre and all the actors with the illuminated background shining through from behind.

“…sound does not exist, separate from our hearing; sights do not exist, separate from our seeing; tastes do not exist, separate from our tasting; smells do not exist separate from our smelling [….] our projection of an “external world” — of objects “out there” which we then interact with via the sense-organs of a seemingly individual bodymind — is a claim that can never be experientially verified.” [Elizabeth Reninger, “If A Tree Falls In A Forest …” – Bishop Berkeley Meets Laozi]


Another  post about birds of prey: seeing with alertness.  Note: Our young friend Ng arrived back from New York on the night of 17 Feb, there were storms when she was there and the dance performance at Brooklyn Bridge was cancelled

14 thoughts on “the seen

  1. Just opened and read “New Delhi, birds…” the first post I have received from Dharma Footsteps, here in my little house, in an empty strath on a bitter and beautiful end -of-winter morning in the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. Thank you…How vividly you convey being there on that roof top so far away. I can feel and see it all in my mind’s eye. And strangely, (or not) you are focused on the very thing that filled much of my mind yesterday…the experience of a sudden first falling into the eternal now as I drove home at lunchtime through the sunlit landscape where everything is building with the potential of spring.Everything deepens and sharpens and brims up with love…..And what is Delhi like today??

    • Thanks Mairi, Delhi was sunny and warm today, like a British summer’s day. It’ll start to get much hotter very soon, though. Good to hear from you there in the Cairngorms, an area I’m familiar with. And the falling into the eternal now, I’ve heard different people decribe it as non-duality. I don’t know how it’s been for you, I found Rupert Spira is very helpful, analytical, there are others I got to know about through the Conscious TV series. Glad the rooftop post was meaningful – I realise now the description of wild birds and large Kite is something I have an automatic response to because of my childhood in Scotland. Thanks for visiting, and let me know how everything is going…

  2. Your post here, Tiramit, had me wondering about animal communication. We have lots of snow on the ground here, (several feet deep), and my wife has been putting out some deer feed in the afternoons at the edge of the yard to provide a little support. It is amazing to watch them creep to the edge of the woods– cautiously, so profoundly alert and present– but on a schedule they do not think about. And over time their numbers grow. I’ve been wondering how they communicate their findings to one another. How the various bundles and groupings intertwine on trails out there in the woods, what threads they follow. The birds struck me in a similar way…

    Makes me wonder if humans actually communicate when they’re speaking? 🙂 Or if that is just a bunch of blah, blah, blah and there’s perhaps some deeper form of consciousness working without our thought, that brings us to the edge of the woods at sunset.


    • It’s something I think about everytime there’s an opportunity to have that kind of closeness with wild animals. You could speculate on all kinds of possibilities… or just say animals are functioning in the actual reality – the place that the human mind process has obscured with its various constructs of meaning. Animals have a oneness with their own clan situated in the all-inclusive reflexive ‘outer’ world. Language isn’t necessary, all they need to know and share, the directions, and deep-rooted urgencies like food, danger, etc., are tangible in some form we don’t see.
      Seems to me we’re mostly engaged in the blah, blah, blah of the language construct 🙂 even though the deeper form of consciousness is always present and doesn’t require to have the fascination with the means of understanding. The extent to which this is revealed to us depends so much on how sensitive we are to the deeper presence…

  3. I have read that dogs, at least, use mental telepathy. Rupert Sheldrake ( theorizes that there are such things as morphic fields which the dogs are sensitive to. But trees can communicate as well but they don’t know how. They can communicate warnings to trees around them to protect themselves from insect infestations and also when to produce seeds for reproduction and survival of the species. Scientists think maybe through the roots…

    • Thanks for the Rupert Sheldrake video, and recognise this extraordinary ability that dogs and cats have. I‘ve been going through Blogs I Follow trying to find the video of the woman scientist who studies trees. Can’t find it right now, she talks about how in a forest their roots are totally intertwined so it’s like one organisim – the kind of thing you’re talking about here. I don’t usually have a particular sensitivity to animals, it was just that on that day up on the roof, there was a distinct sense of being in the space where the birds are. The large Kite looking down at me, its field of vision, was a tangible presence…

  4. ‘…get back to ‘here’… telescopic sights of mindfulness on crosshairs of past/future that focus on the ‘now’..’ So wonderfully stated! It’s a constant battle (for me) to focus on the ‘now’ – not letting the baggage from past or concerns about future intrude into the present. However I think I’m getting a tad bit better. The wise have said that now is all that exists and that I think is key to lasting happiness. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  5. Pingback: the seen, from dhamma footsteps | Daily Echo

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