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The cardinal


 
A friend in Program says:

As I sat thinking how difficult it had been for me to meditate lately, I noticed a cardinal perched on the bird feeder outside my window. The brightly colored bird must have been not ten feet away from me, and I was astonished at the luminosity of its red feathers. As I continued watching, I could hear the unmistakable chirp of this gorgeous creature. The wind was blowing to such an extent that the bird feeder was slightly wavering, and it was also causing the bird's feathers to cascade around its breast. The bird would select one type of seed, while flicking away another, for reasons known only to itself. It would methodically crack the seed and swallow it in one flawless motion. In addition to the bird's call, I also began noticing faint background noises. Suddenly I realized that the sun's moving behind a cloud had had a profound effect on the hue of the cardinal's color.

After I made a slight movement, the cardinal became aware that he was not alone, and its eyes met mine. Sensing that there was no danger, it began its fascinating eating ritual again. As always happens, a random thought entered my head, and I suddenly realized that fifteen minutes had passed. While worrying about how hard meditation was, I'd been unaware that I'd had actually been doing it. The awareness of the bird's simplicity and beauty, coupled with the realization that he had been living in the "here and now," brought a smile of serenity to my face.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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