Just Observing…

Joy in Observing Nature

Have you ever sat down to just observe everything around you? There is so much around us, so many ordinary and extraordinary things happening all the time. But we are seldom aware. We are busy all the time, rushing like a frenzy. To us, these are meaningless reveries! And besides, where’s the time‽ But, we are missing a lot. 

As children, we all were connected with nature in a big way. We played on the grass-bed, in the dust. We swang on the tree branches, ran wildly with playmates. We caught colourful dragonflies and played with puppies, goat kids and cow calves. City children don’t have all these blessings though. They grow up quite differently. Anyway…

As we grow up, we become more and more disconnected from nature. We lost our sensitivity, our ability to appreciate natural phenomena. Just remember those days, how joyous we felt whenever it rained. Now, it’s completely opposite: we complain if it rains. Then again, as children, we all were curious about the sky, about the sun, the moon, those twinkling lights in the night sky…But, now, we seldom look at the sky. 

My Personal Experiences

I proudly say I am an astrophile—a lover of the sky and everything it has. As a sky-lover, I’ve seen many wonderful natural events which I’ll ever cherish. Have you ever seen a rainbow cloud? A cloud with all the hues of a rainbow. Have you witnessed two or three satellites crossing each other in the night sky from different directions? It almost seems they will collide! Have you ever had the chance to witness a solar ring or a moon ring? And my favourite sky event is the meteor shower. Have you ever witnessed one? 

At one time, in December, I had the opportunity to witness the Geminid Meteor Shower*. If you already don’t know, meteor showers happen every year in specific months. December is one such month. How is it like? Well, it’s like raining of light beams one after another. I distinctly remember, it was around 10:30 in the night. I knew the timing, I had already checked it. It was a winter night. After everyone fell asleep, I, covered with my chadar (a thin shawl), went on the terrace. To see the sky constantly keeping the head up was a bit uncomfortable. So, I spread my chadar on the floor and lied down to witness the magical heavenly light show enfold. I counted 18 meteorites. That’s my personal record in one night! Do you have any? My whole body was cold down to my bones, but still, I kept lying in the open terrace, under the sky. With the dark expansive sky over my eyes, it was a memorable sight to behold. 

And I am a big-time lover of rain. Now it has come down, but at one time, I had the habit of getting out in the rain whenever it rained, no matter what the time or place I happened to be at. I never cared what attire I was wearing or what things I was carrying with me. I never bothered. I just went out and get drenched to my heart’s content. It may seem a bit too much for you. But, I admit, I was like this. Rain gave me such joy… With the sound of thunder and cloud-bursting, with the rainy winds blowing like a constant symphony, with the rain washing my whole body…it was an experience, unlike others. I still love rain and often get wet on purpose. And I know, this love affair will continue. 

I often sit and just listen to the sounds of nature and everything around me. Chirping of the birds, constant buzzing of the crickets, barking of the dogs, the sound of the temple bell, the sound of kirtan coming from a distant mic somewhere, sounds of the vehicles coming and going etc. I have found this is a great exercise in mindfulness. You don’t have to do any separate mindfulness meditation if you just learn to pay attention to the ambient sounds around you. Or if you just watch the leaves of a tree… trembling and swaying gently in the breeze. Have you ever noticed how it sounds when a mildly-strong breeze blows over some trees… especially banyan and peepul? It almost sounds like raining! Listen to the sounds of the rustling leaves sometimes, you’ll realise. 

There’s one more thing that I do. Every evening when I go to Kailash (a Shiva temple), I walk for some time there…being mindful of everything around me. Sounds, people, clouds, stars, sometimes owls and night birds, fireflies…how they sparkle around a tree, like twinkling lights, as if the stars have come down and dancing around the trees. All that is a matter of great delight to me. Not only does it help me to unburden myself and relax mentally, but it also fills me with joy and gives me a wonderful chance to be mindful. 

Summing Up

There is great joy and fulfilment to be with nature. Spend some time observing nature. Simply sit somewhere, where there is no disturbance. You don’t have to close your eyes and meditate. Instead, I would encourage you to appreciate the beauty of nature with your open eyes. Bask in the radiant sunlight, feel the breeze on your body, washing over you like waves. Listen to the sounds of the birds and the frogs (Hate it? Even then..). Look up at the white-blue sky, see the clouds, the birds circling above. Feel the swaying of the trees, the gentle murmurs of the waters, the tiny but very agile dragonflies, those wandering butterflies…

You’ll see, there is no dearth of joy and happiness in this world. 

P.S: Geminid Meteor Shower 2021 details: https://www.planetary.org/articles/your-guide-meteor-shower

Thank You.

Image Credit: shutterstock

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Alok Singha

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