RAHUL MEHROTRA shares his experience as a busy cardiologist who also loves bird-watching and meditation.
It has been more than a decade now that working as a cardiologist, watching birds around my house, and practicing meditation have gone on side by side. There seems to be a whole world to explore in the field of medicine, in the realm of birdlife, and in the world inside us. All it requires is tuning in.
As I go to my terrace and hear the bird calls, spot them with ease and feed them, I realize I am becoming better at it. Discoveries are made: the white eyes, the tailor birds, the spine-tailed green bee-eaters informing us of the much-awaited monsoon rains, and many more.
Birdwatching and meditation are not two separate hobbies. Along with my professional and family life, they are part of a whole, complementing each other. If my meditation makes me calmer, it also makes me more perceptive of the happenings around me. I more meaningfully observe the birds go about their daily business. I realize the value of being regular in feeding them, ensuring the bird feeder and the water bowl are never left empty.
Their biological clocks work perfectly. Birds are there at the same spot and the same time every morning to have their breakfast. How simple a life they lead! The same food over and over, happily accepted. The same schedule – waking up at dawn, flying for food, a whole day of chirping, resting, moving about and going back to rest. In the rainy season they go hungry at times, yet they are happy when it rains: the small puddles on my terrace serve as the house sparrows’ bathing pools!
Acceptance comes naturally to them. I should learn from them.
They do not horde or worry for the future. Is that plain stupidity or instinctive faith in the provider? They live in the moment, meeting their needs diligently, with alertness. How do they learn to make the perfect nests? By instinct. With what instincts are we humans born? What is our innate nature? To be peaceful, calm, grateful, joyous and perhaps responsible for the rest of creation.
Birds seem to have so much time during the day. Do they overeat? I wonder as I prepare a lecture on heart disease and the obesity epidemic that is engulfing the world.
Why do I feel so much at ease when I meditate?
I am with that eternal, original me, who does not require any of the props, the sensory inputs. The birds are perhaps in that state all the time, with their original selves, at ease, as they were meant to be.
It is all there inside us, all around us, provided we take interest and tune in.
Article by RAHUL MEHROTRA