“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~Buddha
Recently on my camping trip, I would sit in my chair with my cup of coffee and admire the beauty of nature all around me. I spent a lot of time watching the birds. I loved watching the geese and especially the baby geese; they were so cute swimming in the lake. The father was very protective of his children as he came squawking up to me as I took pictures from the shore. He made his point and I backed away.
My favorite bird to watch was the blue heron. I loved to hear the thwack of their wings as they flew overhead. But, what I loved to watch most was how the heron would just stand silently still in the water for hours. I wanted to emulate that heron and just “be.” He was modeling for me how to live in the present moment; he wasn’t busy off doing little things, he was just being. I am sure that he had a time to eat and clean, but most of the time when I saw him, he was just majestically standing there and living in the present moment.
I learned a lot from watching nature and how the birds and animals didn’t seem to struggle. The animals had a pattern - the beavers were swimming in the early evenings making their lodges, the fish were jumping for the insects at dusk and dawn, and the frogs and toads made there mating calls at night. The animals did not seem to be dwelling in the past or worried about the future, they were taking Buddha’s advice and living in the present moment and making the most of it. When I get busy “doing” too many things, I will pause, take a deep breath to calm my body and emulate the heron by coming to a place of stillness.
What can you do to concentrate the mind on the present moment?
How can you emulate the heron in your own life?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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