Liturgy of Randomness

The varied thrush(Ixoreus naevius) is a very striking robin-sized bird. Its colorful plumage is orange, blue-gray, and black, with an obvious ‘necklace’ of dark gray to black encircling its neck. It inhabits western areas of North America, although it has been sighted In almost every state in the U.S. We do not see this bird as often these days. This one is lurking about our back yard, stopping occasionally to do a little hop and scratch in the bark mulch. I suspect it is trying to uncover some early season bugs that would make a nice snack.

I wonder about the causes and conditions that have to come together for some random bird to show up in our yard. Do we look friendly? Is our backyard habitat particularly inviting? Does something look tasty? It is silly to conjecture because this bird is free of my anthropomorphic projections. But I cannot help being awed by the surprise. It is like a long unseen friend coming to visit without notice—a beautiful moment expressing the infinite variability of experience.

I realize all experience is this way. If I do not have expectation or the need to control, nothing is ever anticipated—everything expresses a kind of auspicious surprise. If I am relatively free of assumptions, life simply offers a liturgy of randomness. This is my meditation—to observe the arising of reflected experience in my mind and smile. Loving kindness emerges effortlessly from the curve of an understanding smile.

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