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There is no observer without the observed. The bird and myself exist together.
Zen drawing by Mike Heseltine
Being aware and mindful of each moment, makes just a bird flying past become a significant event. The past and future only exist as thoughts and is thus illusional, while the present moment is real. By focusing on something happening now, without thoughts cluttering my mind, I can enjoy the sensation of being alive.
I find nature can be a wonderful way of being drawn into the present moment. A chance meeting with a wild animal can be so absorbing, that for a few brief moments, the chatter in my head stops. I become present and find the experience, however brief, refreshing and inspiring. Perhaps it is because animals live continually in the present moment, untroubled by what time it is and only concerning themselves with what they can effectively achieve at that moment.
The drawing is inspired by a quote from the zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh "There is no perceiver without the perceived. Object and subject manifest together". While I drew, I thought about the relationship between the reality of the bird and how I perceived it. I exist the way I am because I can perceive the bird. If the bird wasn't there to be perceived, then my existence is different.