The World According To…A Sea Bird?

<img title=”464869125_9211bba078_m.jpg” src=”http://www.wethechange.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/464869125_9211bba078_m.jpg” alt=”464869125_9211bba078_m.jpg” align=”right” />Today I took a long walk on the beach and sat down next to a sea

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bird staring out at the ocean. I began wondering: how does this tiny creature perceive the vast expanse of water in front of it? Does it see a blue sky, white clouds, ripples in the current, and a straight horizon like I do?

Does it hear the crash of the waves on the surf, the high shrill of other birds swirling around, and the cackle of human voices milling about? Does it feel the wind, the sand, and the water in a similar manner as I?

Of course I do not know the absolute truth here. I can only surmise the answer is ‘no’, that the sea bird does not sense its surroundings in the same notion as a human being.

<em>But how exactly does the bird perceive the realities around itself</em>? And is it remotely possible for me, a human being, to comprehend the tangible sensations of a different species of observer?

A few moments later I watched a woman taking her very young child towards the ocean. I watched intently as the little boy excitedly jumped in and out of the waves, and shrieked with delight as the water came in towards dry sand and then back towards the horizon.

I began thinking about this young child’s perception, and wondered how he senses the ocean, beach, sky and realities around him. Was it similar to my observation?

I think its safe to say that the child’s discernment is more closely related to my own then the sea bird’s…but when you intently watch a young child it becomes clear that his perception is markedly different then an adults.

<strong>How Does Perception <em>Really </em>Differ Between Beings? </strong>

So even within my own species, perception can vary greatly depending on a variable (like age).

This really got my mind running, and I began contemplating two 50-year old men sitting beside me: one of them a clan leader for an indigenous tribe in remote Africa, and the other a Plumber from Brooklyn, NY.

How would these two men perceive the ocean, sky and beach around them? Would they see and feel the similar sensations? And if not how exactly would their base perception differ?

<img title=”2094469485_5bc183fbe1_m.jpg” src=”http://www.wethechange.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/2094469485_5bc183fbe1_m.thumbnail.jpg” alt=”2094469485_5bc183fbe1_m.jpg” align=”left” />For my last experiment, I closed my eyes and lay back on the sand. I took several deep breaths and relaxed my mind. I sat there for 20 minutes straight solely focusing on my breath, coming in and out of my body.

I got myself in a wonderfully meditative state and felt very present. I then sat back up and opened my eyes ready to perceive the circumstances around me.

I could feel the wind much more crisply and noted its sensations on parts of my body that I did not feel earlier. The ocean and sky appeared much sharper to me, and I could see the ripples in the water much more clearly…almost as if they were moving in slow motion.

The blue color of the sky was so blazing that it almost startled me. Wow. I noted the horizon in a much different way as well, and could see ripples of current much farther away.

I heard sounds that I did not notice earlier, like the ripple of the wind on a kite that had been flying above me. I heard the sounds of people from way down the beach, and could also hear the rustling of sand as it whipped up on my shorts.

In all, it was like I was a different person observing the same scenario. But it was not a different person, I was still me.

<strong>3 Primary Observations From My Hour On The Beach:</strong>

<em>1) </em>That the human ability to perceive its surroundings is distinctly evolved, enabling us to understand the universe with the <em>highest capacity </em>that we are aware

<em>2) </em>That even within our own kind, perception varies greatly, and

<em>3) </em>That we can have a purposeful influence on how clearly we experience our lives

To point #1 the sea bird’s tools for perception are not as advanced a human being’s; it is an older, more archaic form of consciousness sensing its surroundings with less awareness.

The bird has a lower vibrating level of perception then we do, and therefore senses reality at a different level of stimulation.

To point #2 a young child, although not <strong><a href=”http://www.wethechange.com/kill-your-ego-recognize-the-true-you/” target=”_blank”>tainted by the ego</a></strong> and intrusive thought process of most adults, still has less potential for higher levels of consciousness then his/her elders.

So even though children may experience joy, excitement and thrill much easier then you or I, their potential for evolved human consciousness is not fully realized.

And to point #3, what about my own personal ‘transformation’? The difference between Todd before he lied down and Todd after he lied down is that the second Todd was much more present for the experience, sensing with greater clarity the truer nature of his surroundings.

Before the <a href=”http://www.wethechange.com/using-body-awareness-for-deeper-meditation/” target=”_blank”><strong>breathing and meditation exercises </strong></a>he was still wearing the lens of his everyday life. Things like work, money, food, and everything else that his mind incessantly thinks shrouded his ability to perceive

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to some degree.

<img title=”2071022654_58f65c7d70_m.jpg” src=”http://www.wethechange.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/2071022654_58f65c7d70_m.thumbnail.jpg” alt=”2071022654_58f65c7d70_m.jpg” align=”right” />Todd post relaxation was more still, present and aware. His ego was shelved for a few moments allowing the lens of his authentic self to perceive, in a more genuine manner, reality around him.

And what did this new perception bring? Clarity, crispness, increased beauty, and a sense of calm that were not there earlier…

We are always wearing some sort of lens that shapes our reality, and we have the ability at any given moment to wipe that lens clean!

<strong>S</strong><strong>o what is the point of making these distinctions?</strong>

The point is this: That we have the ability to purposefully generate a greater awareness of the world (and universe) in which we live.

<em>Right here Right now YOU have the ability to be more aware and present.</em>

And this is important because the more conscious we become, the more beauty, peace and love is brought into our lives and to the world around us.

And what’s more important than that!!<strong>
</strong>

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18 Responses to “The World According To…A Sea Bird?”

  1. Glen Allsopp says:

    The point is this: That we have the ability to purposefully generate a greater awareness of the world (and universe) in which we live.

    Right here Right now YOU have the ability to be more aware and present.

    I love this, the perfect summary to a great article. Once you are in the now and fully present, there is nothing better.

    Run free like a child :)

  2. Tzumeister says:

    yes, for me, the take away of course is that we are in control. you and i with total awareness can cast our attention and focus on anything and even more incredibly, this really illustrates how we can PROJECT our awareness. simply reminds me of dr. dyer’s classic quote “when you change the WAY you look at things the things you look at change.” this is a perfect example of that
    thx

  3. Evelyn Lim says:

    Beautiful article. Well said. Yes…we can begin to experience the fullness of life if we generate more awareness. Stop for a moment. Don’t rush through. Much beauty abounds!

  4. Beautiful piece, just as usual, Todd.
    I’m not quite sure if the child’s perception is any less than adults, though.
    My first memory, from age 15 months, involves the concept of death, and I understood it very clearly. Not as superficial physical change like no breathing. I knew it was about separation, and the distance of here and there dazzled me that I had to sit down. Only I could not express my understanding in words back then.

    Your writing is always so encouraging. Now I need to go do my morning meditation!

    Light,

  5. Frater Gymnos says:

    Did you enjoy yourself?
    Were you able to smile a minute or two?
    Did your heart open with love to all-that-is?
    And are you grateful?

  6. After I read this article, I actually decided to go to the beach myself, and drove to my side of the coast (The Pacific).

    I just got back. I think the ocean has a wonderful way to calm down the ego and bring us to the NOW.

  7. James says:

    I agree with the final message of the post but had a few thoughts whilst reading through the post.

    An eagle’s eyes are better than ours; a rabbit’s ears; a dog’s nose. I disagree that our tools for perception give us the highest capacity for awareness. There are examples of tests where chimpanzees (I believe it was) demonstrated self-awareness/sentience. The distinctive barriers between animals and humans are being slowly eroded as we learn more about different animals and I would argue that a meditative, conscious state may not be unavailable to animals either. Certainly it does not require language, but rather a sense of awe. The physiological effects may perhaps be seen in animals as well – or is the difference that they do not have the ego which we have to quieten to find this state, and therefore they are actually ‘better’ at this than us?

    • neil keleher says:

      Given the tools that we have, I think it is how we use them that is a measure of our awareness. We can be sitting in a car driving at 100 mph and be aware of the speed or we can be driving blithely along and get stopped (sorry officer I had no idea I was going so fast.)

      I think true awareness is like that of a child, unhindered by any previous experience. Presence or being present is seeing what we are seeing now. Being aware of what is now. In that instance the child, the seabird, ourselves can all see the same thing (given the nature of our seeing apparatus.)

      If we have an idea, say of looking for food (the seabird), playing in the water (the child), enjoying the sun (the man) then that might change the way that we channel our senses. If we are thinking, then that can channel our senses, or limit them.

      I’d say that having a clear idea an thinking are two different states. One is open to all that we can sense but we guide our senses based on what we are doing. The other, because we are thinking actually limits what we sense, or I should say, we aren’t even tuned into our senses because we are thinking. As a result we don’t get the information that is available to us.

      So if the bird, the child, and the man where all sitting there with the clear idea of just sitting, then they’d all probably see (and enjoy) the same thing. If they were all flying and looking for food, and had similiar points of view, an where all focused on looking for food they’d all see the same thing. and if they we all simply enjoying jumping in the waves, then in that case too I think they’d be enjoying the same thing (but based on their own unique experiences of those waves.)

  8. George Cleveland says:

    A chicken is an egg’s way of reproducing itself.

  9. Deb Estep says:

    I loved this account Todd.

    Mindfulness is the ability to ~see~
    what we might have otherwise missed.

    Have you ever read, Jonathan Livingston
    Seagull by Richard Bach ?

    If not……
    Many listed on Amazon for 1 cent. :)

    http://tinyurl.com/6qqmuc

    xo xo
    Debs-E

  10. Catching up on my RSS feeds this morning – this one caught my eye becuase I’m a strong believer that life is a matter of perception.

    You’re right that all of us could be looking at the same thing but have different perceptions about what they’re seeing or intepreting.

    My belief is that if you perceve the world is largely dangerous and filled with scammers, then that is what your experience will be. If you, on the other hand, believe in inherent goodness in the world, then that’s what you will attract.

    I’ve had a series of misadventures and small crisises the past month but all of them had good endings to them. Why? Because my perception of the world is that life is good and people are inherently good, if given the chance.

  11. axel g says:

    Well put Todd!

    Awareness and perception make for interesting insights.

    I wonder whether you’re a reader of E. Tolle…

    All the best!

  12. Todd says:

    WOW, guys, I wantged to thank you ALL for your wonderful comments to this article…it really means a lot!!
    Todd

  13. Very interesting article Todd. I wonder though, how you came to the conclusion that a seagull’s perception is of a “lower vibration” than we humans.

    It makes me think of a time when I was at the zoo, a place that I often find depressing to visit as I don’t believe in confining animals to small spaces, especially birds.

    Speaking of birds, there was a magnificent one that caught my eye, a sea eagle if you will. He was a beauty, sitting high on his perch, eyes aimed at a distant location. He was so solitary and still.

    My eyes scanned the brief description of the sea eagle, the largest of eagles. Amonst other details, it said that they nest in the craggy cliffs at the oceanside and are able to reach speeds up to a couple hundred miles an hour.

    I felt a breaking in my heart, knowing that this caged animal would never know the freedom of flight, the smell of the salty air and the thrill of catching fish from the ocean.

    My eyes closed and I said a prayer for him and sent him some Reiki energy. As I breathed softly, in quiet communion with this animal, I suddenly felt myself inside of him. Its hard to explain really, but for a moment I felt his reality.

    He had learned through the stillness of confinement, absolute freedom in his mind, for there he was, soaring over the white caps on the waves, searching for dinner.

    It made me think of Alexander Solzenhitzen who had found the same sort of freedom during his years of exile in Siberia.

    In an instant, I was back in my reality. As I turned to leave, I softly bowed my head to this bird for allowing me to see through his lens of perception…what a gift…

  14. Todd says:

    GIGI….WOW! Great tale and thank you for sharing these beautiful words! Love the distinctions and I will ponder them more closely soon…
    Best,
    Todd

  15. farouk says:

    you are right Todd, you know what, even if you are the same person but came in two different times you might perceive everything differently

  16. priyam singh says:

    The child’s ego is far less developed than an adult’s.

    I remember being very present at the beach,in awe as a child.

    It is a great question to ponder over.do we need an evolved ego (with it’s baggage of suffering) to become aware of, for a heightened conscious perception? Probably Depends on the child’s level of consciousness which may be more evolved than an average adult’s.

    It is said in hinduism, that the earlier you become aware before the ego hardens its root,the better/easier the path is.

    Namaste,
    priyam

  17. Samantha says:

    I think that maybe there is no set relationship between age and consciousness. Some children may be more highly conscious than others, and some adults may be more highly conscious than others. Some people may develop more quickly as they get older, and some may not. I’m not sure that it is quite fair to say that because someone is a child, they are not as conscious as an adult.
    I’m also reluctant to say that because an individual is not human, they are automatically less conscious than we are.

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