Sunday, March 18, 2007


What is it about me and birds? Was I a bird in some previous incarnation? Am I being prepared to be one in a future life? You're not going to believe this, but I swear it's true. Ellie and I decided that we would do our Sunday meditation in our back patio this morning. We spent yesterday at a day-long retreat with Than Geoff, so we figured, well, we'd just stay quietly at home today, and the back patio is a wonderful place to sit.

So there we were. Sitting silent, peaceful, with eyes closed, breathing in the cool morning air. There was the sound of water from our Buddha fountain, the breeze in the eucalyptus leaves, the songs of birds. Now and then, there was the whirr of a hummingbird flitting around, gathering nectar from the springtime blossoms... Then all of a sudden, with a zipping sound that could have lasted no more than a pair of seconds, this one hummingbird made a beeline for my head. I heard it pass directly over me and as it passed I felt something soft and moist drop in my hair. Then it was gone.

I had been targeted. What are the chances of a hummingbird happening past and shitting on your head? The experience was as distracting from my meditation as had been the car keys--remember them, from last Sunday? See my entry, "Clinging"--the week before. While the impulse to confirm the evidence of my senses was powerful, I resisted the temptation to reach up and check my hair for bird poop, and struggled instead through the rest of my sit with excitement at having been thus selected for a blessing from above and with doubt as to whether this miracle had actually happened, or whether it was rather the result of an overactive imagination. I sat, then, breathing, eyes closed, for the rest of the sit, and worked to discipline the mind. ( I was also impatient to tell Ellie of this strange event, and my brain kept wanting to get the words together for this entry in The Buddha Diaries. "Not now" was Than Geoff's suggestion...)

Ellie was in charge of the timing and the bell, and when she rang it I asked her to check my hair for the forensic evidence. There was none. Whatever had fallen on my head--and I'm quite sure that something fell--had vaporized by the end of the meditation. Perhaps, I speculated, the bird had been bathing in the Buddha fountain, as they sometimes do, and had shed a drop of water as he flew away... Could it have been the tip of a wing, in flight? I actually have no idea. But I did hear, very clearly, the whirr of his passage close above my head. And I did feel something fall, or touch me...

Well, I'll take it as a Sunday blessing, and be grateful. Perhaps it's no more than another lesson on the ease with which my mind becomes distracted from the task that I assign it. I was going to write about God today... He'll have to wait until tomorrow now.

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