The Extraordinary Discovery of Ordinary Magic

Coming upon a small bird building a nest the other day, I had stopped and marveled at how simple and perfect my world was. Okay. That’s a fairly obvious observation. What made this particularly meaningful to me, was that I had been in a minor rage for about three blocks. My mind had tightened, as it does, and I was lost in the hyper focus of “things that should be, or should not have been“.  Whatever it was, was so important at the time.

Then the bird.

It stood in my way with a huge stick in its beak. I just stopped.  Then he turned to look up at another bird whistling down from the tree above us.  This little couple was creating a world for itself, and its burgeoning family. They had real problems. Their world was not theoretical, or based on a concept of what should be. Their world was built on what was. That and sticks, weeds, grass and string, the ordinary components of life.

I just relaxed for a moment. This process, that in its way had been continuing for thousands of years and in some sense perhaps, throughout the universe from the beginning, was simple and real and direct.  It was a practical expression of love, caring and community. This real and very ordinary magic seemed so big to me now, so important. Although, it had seemed all but inconsequential compared to whatever theory I was embroiled in moments earlier.  My mind stopped and my heart opened in that moment, and I waited for the bird to get its bearings and continue on. Then I continued on. And, of course, the change lasted just minutes and I was soon again hurrying to work, worrying and wondering and planning and thinking. That’s what we do. And have done for a long time. That’s what makes the world go round, so to speak. This is how we power the hamster wheel. But, while that happens the world is alive outside us, every moment and has been for as long as we remember. Life has been a daily miracle moment to moment well before we were born. And, it will continue without us long after we’re gone.

In the Shambhala Teachings we talk about joining heaven and earth with the open receptive human heart. Shambhala is dedicated to the idea that we can create enlightenment here and now in this ordinary moment, simply by paying attention to the small and brilliant miracles occurring in every moment. Each time we allow our mind to stop, we drop the project of building the theory. In that moment, we can choose to open further into the present. Every time we connect to the small things happening in the oridinary realm of the earth, we are connected to the cosmos itself, to time beyond time, to perfect moments that balance the miraculous with the ordinary.

If we choose to open, our world becomes three dimensional, alive and interactive. If we choose to ignore the moment and go back to stress-induced somnambulistic fretting, then we narrow our world to the world of things. Things are two dimensional and temporary. This is how we all-to-often choose to live our lives. In two dimensions, black and white. The real world is made up of much more. It is alive and thrives with life in every moment, in every step we take. We can chose to be part of that, if we like. That is warriorship. The bravery to open up and gently connect to what is. The real world. The ordinary magic of life as it is.





3 thoughts on “The Extraordinary Discovery of Ordinary Magic

  1. Be careful! This is the second such story I’ve heard, and after I heard this the first time, I lay under the tree at University and Calvert after taking Shambhala I training and the birds had a lot of back and forth. Also, wasn’t a big stick or anything, but the bird picked-up twigs and such.

    I say be careful because one year, honestly, the bird picked up the stick and tried to attack me. Not really. Just joking, but only so much. Seriously, one time I exited through the back entrance after carefully tugging on the rear door to make sure it clicked shut, and stood gazing at the beauty around me. Not with a stick, but, yes, an aggressive bird, slightly larger than the one in the tree at the corner, dive-bombed me.

    It’s all perspective.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *