The Art of Life|Oct 23, 2011 2:28 PM| by:

Meditating with a Blue Heron

I got up refreshed at 6 am. As usual, I sat on a chair on our outdoor deck to meditate. It was a lovely morning. Temperature was just right. All was quiet, except for an occasional chirping of a bird. I thought why not walk to the dock and listen to the majestic St Johns River.

I walked quietly on the long dock, appreciating the still “sleepy” St Johns River. The water was completely flat like a polished mirror, which was reflecting the distant lights of the Naval Air Base and the Buckman Bridge, about four miles across. There wasn’t much  traffic on the bridge yet. All was quiet, fresh, and serene. The daybreak was yet to happen. It was still a little dark and mystic.

As soon as I crossed the boathouse, I suddenly noticed a magnificent blue heron, gracefully standing still, on top of a wooden piling in the river. Initially, I was a little surprised by his presence. I immediately stepped back and sat down on the dock, behind the boat, out of his sight, since I did not want to disturb him. I could see him, but he was not perturbed by my presence.

I watched the bird very closely, with caring attention. I admired his calm stillness, standing balanced on one leg gracefully. He looked beautiful against the deep blue sky of dawn. I tried to meditate along with him by being at ease, at the moment, with myself and my surroundings. I kept quiet and silent. I tried not to talk to myself, as I did not want even the sound of my thoughts to disturb the great ambient peace. Very soon, my mind became really quiet, and I could hear the spontaneous sound of silence between the sounds of my breath. It was like a silent listener intently listening to the intrinsic silence. All was naturally peaceful, where nothing was lacking. It was an undivided wonder. What a marvelous timeless and selfless moment it was! I forgot myself in the wonder of the essential existence.

Every-now-and-then, I opened my eyes and looked around at the blue heron and his surroundings. The river was so quiet that it was reflecting the bottom of our power boat, which was raised up in the boathouse. It was like a dustless mirror, reflecting all that was insident upon it. Further to my right, was the shore line with many Cypress and Pine trees, casting a shadow in the shallow waters. In the eastern sky, I noticed a bright star, probably the ‘morning star.’ It was ‘smiling’ at my surprised look!

The blue heron was still standing still, as if meditating. No wonder that there is an ancient Sanskrit saying that one should learn to meditate like a crane. After a while, I decided to go back inside our house and get my camera to take a few pictures of the blue heron. To my surprise, the blue heron was still standing on the same piling, as if waiting patiently for me.

When I went a little close to the blue heron, he noticed me and got a little stirred up. He stood on both legs now and started moving his head and neck around. I took a few more photos. When I went even closer, he got ready to fly off. He bent forward all the way on his tiptoes, and finally took off. He flew across the river making the typical loud sound of his dominance.

I was lucky enough to capture his amazing posture of readiness just before the take-off. One can see that he had gathered up all of his life energy, in perfect harmony, synergy, and synchrony. His whole body looked like a living arrow, a perfect vector, aimed at the infinite matrix of the clear blue sky. What a wonder it was to see such a perfect example of physical and mental stillness followed by such total attentive engagement in action. His very presence and the effortless flight was the great wonder of the moment! He was a great teacher of meditation, wisdom, and the art of integrative living in harmony with Nature. On my way back, I noticed ‘Morning Glory’ in full bloom. I just smiled and took a few more pictures. What a glorious morning it has been!