Float like the clouds, fly like the birds

On a clear day, the author watches the white clouds and the birds in the sky and contemplates the profundity in Nature's simplicity

A clouds with two bird
Photo: Sanjay Pal

It’s a lovely spring morning. I’m sitting by the window in my living room, watching the scene outside. The blue sky is looking nice and bright. The white clouds are drifting slowly, very slowly, somewhere towards the north east. Across the backdrop of the white clouds, the birds are flying past occasionally. Some of these birds look tiny, others are big; some are flying low, others are kissing the clouds. Adding to the beauty of the scene is a background score composed by various birds, chirping away incessantly—there are sparrows and pigeons; there are crows and parrots. Once in while, an odd eagle glides around. Each of them makes a unique sound and has a distinct manner of flapping its wings; each has a peculiar pattern of flying.

These birds hunt for food in the mornings, I know. But why are some of them flying so high in the sky? I can’t help but wonder. Surely they won’t find food on the clouds. It seems they are just enjoying being birds. Have wings, will fly. Some are flying in pairs, enjoying companionship in the midst of clouds. The clouds themselves are continuing on their journey; those that were adorning the sky just a few minutes ago are not to be seen; new ones have appeared. They are drifting continuously, sometimes hiding the mighty sun, and covering up most of the blue sky.

A thought occurs to me: I am so preoccupied with my life that mostly I remain unaware of a great unalterable truth—that I am a part of a much greater whole. I am flowing in the river of an incredible consciousness, unconsciously! My attention turns to the wonderful trees and flowers and another thought arises. As humans, we think of everything in terms of its utility to us. We’ve become economists, all of us. “Does it fulfil any demand?”, we ask. If not, it’s useless. We haven’t spared even flowers, whose beauty cannot be grasped by the human intellect. We have made them into a commercial proposition—growing them for sale. We’re civilized, we say, but does civilization mean being so disconnected from nature? Why has greed overshadowed everything else? Why has it colored every thought and every deed of humans?

Going with the flow

Meanwhile, the white clouds have now disappeared from the scene altogether. But they are there somewhere, moving along to some place they themselves don’t know; they are surrendered to nature. If they are conscious, they are wise; they offer no resistance. I wish I could ride the clouds—it would be so much fun, moving at a gentle pace to I don’t know where. When I have no destination, it doesn’t matter where I reach, it’s still the right place. And that’s how it is with life. If I have no resistance to what is unfolding, I will never be anxious about where I’ll end up.

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No wonder animals and birds don’t need psychiatrists, I reckon. They live in absolute uncertainty, accepting whatever comes their way. They don’t think about future and so have no anxiety. Their fears too are instinctive—when there is clear and present danger—unlike ours, which are mostly psychotic, created by our overactive minds.

It’s time to go, get ready for work. As I leave the scene, I realize that we can learn so much from Nature—if only we would pay attention.

This was first published in the April 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing magazine.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri has spent the last two decades learning, teaching and writing about wellbeing and mindful living. He has contributed over 1500 articles for several newspapers and magazines including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Statesman, Mid-Day, Bombay Times, Femina, and more. He is a counseling therapist and the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on self-transformation. An award-winning editor, Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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