This is what weekdays are like: get to class, get to work, get to rehearsal, get to the meeting, get in the car, get some food…go, go, go! You know the feeling. In fact, you might even be able to add a few more things to this list. Faced with such a time-crunched schedule of commitments, who could possibly have time for present moment awareness? The simple answer: you!
Finding present moment awareness – the spiritual gateway drug to meditation and mindfulness is simple. It’s not easy, to be sure, but it is simple. I’ll not insult you here with some kind of Nike-esque motivational Just Do It speech, but instead give you a place to start.
Birds. That’s all it takes. Full disclosure: it takes birds and five minutes. For some of us the minutes are harder to find than the birds. But you only get the time you take, so take five minutes—before you walk from the house to the car, after you shoo the kids off to school, between meetings. Find five minutes in your schedule and go outside. Just step out onto your porch, or slip out to the parking lot at work. The birds are insane out there. It is spring and they are talking about it. Listen to them.
Stand still and focus on the call of the birds closest to you. Really focus. How long is their song? Does it repeat? How big is the silence between the notes? Are you listening to a group or just an individual? What is the shape of the sound? Is the bird behind you or above you? Can you hear your bird hopping along the branches? Bring this level of inquisitiveness to the birds near you for two minutes. Concentrate.
Now shift your focus to the call of the birds furthest away from you, at the very edge of your range of hearing. Be curious. Listen deeply. Can you hear an individual song? Can you sense birds in flight as they call? Is the sound coming toward you or moving away? Focus in this way for two minutes.
Now drop that faraway focus and find the space between the sounds of the distant birds and of those closest to you. Enter that space; become a part of it. Linger there, just letting yourself be for one minute, or if you are really busy linger there for twenty minutes.
It feels kind of magical. Try it. Get back to me on it.

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