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LESSONS FROM THE BIRDS 
 
Life’s lessons can be learned from the             
most unexpected sources. I like to share             
three lessons out the many that I             
discovered from bird watching.  
 
Nowadays birdwatching is a form of           
wildlife observation and recreational       
activity. It can involve just watching           
birds with our naked eye to using visual               
enhancements like binoculars and telescopes. It can range from an armature pastime to a                           
professional career involving formal courses, tracking, documentation, photography and                 
publication of research papers. Ah! for me it just a relaxing pastime whenever time and                             
opportunity provides. But as a trained counseling psychologist, I have these automatic tendencies                         
to reflect upon my observations. And these are what I learned from the birds. 
 
Personal Spaces 
 
When I wanted to take the above picture, I crept slowly, in a stealthy manner as close as possible                                     
to shoot with my Nikon 300mm zoom lens. I succeeded. You see, the bird was unperturbed by                                 
my presences. Yet I felt like an intruder trespassing into its small and calm environment that is                                 
fast disappearing. If the bird could speak the human language, it might say “you idiot! why are                                 
spying on me. Am I your zoo cage exhibit?” But of course as the dominant human being I can                                     
justified my intrusion with many human reasons. But the bottom line is, I am an intruder into its                                   
personal space.  
 
As humans, we need our ​personal spaces to be respected. A personal space ranges from 1.5 feet                                 
to 4 feet and access are allowable to friends and acquaintances. Any unallowable intrusion                           1
beyond this range would be intruding into our intimate space which has a perimeter of 18 inches                                 
around our bodies allowable only to family members and intimate friends. Violations of personal                           
spaces usually results in an uncomfortable feeling and even fear. In unavoidable situations like in                             
a crowded and cramped subway coaches, we accept the intrusion of others as an unavoidable                             
violations only for that moments. So we should respect the personal spaces of every living                             
creature because it is their inherent rights. 
 
 
 
1
 http://www.livescience.com/20801­personal­space.html 
 
©2015 by Thesigan Nadarajan 
 
LESSONS FROM THE BIRDS 
 
Homes Not Houses 
 
Birds have their habitats in many type of environments. It could be a heathland, woodland,                             
forest, rainforest, wetland and coastal lands. It doesn’t matter where, the birds know how to                             2
make it their homes. It has been noted that each bird species built their own unique type of nests                                     
through complex engineering skills that sometimes hint advance planning. Their homes are their                         3
shelter from the natural elements, security from predators and nest for breeding. ​It is where they                               
raise their young until they can venture out on their own. It is their home regardless of the                                   
duration of their stay. 
 
What about us as humans? Are our lodging structures mere houses or are they our homes? What                                 
turns our lodging structures into a home? Here I would like to list selected points for our                                 
reflection: 
 
1. It is where we can be who we really are, 
2. It is where we can feel safe from all intrusions, 
3. It is where we can connect with ourselves and those whom we love, 
4. It is where we can change or modify anything to fit our needs, 
5. It is where we can return to for solace, calmness and peace, 
6. It is where we can exhibit out our personalities, 
7. It is where we feel most at home. 
 
Standing Balanced 
 
No matter where a bird lands, whether on a branch, a                     
watering spray pipe, or a high swaying thin branch, it                   
stands well balanced. Where it stands can be wet and                   
slippery, icy or windy. Yet it will stand perfectly                 
balanced. 
 
 
 
 
 
2
 http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/birds/Natural­Habitats­Birds 
3
 http://www.harunyahya.com/en/Articles/8168/how­do­birds­build­their 
 
©2015 by Thesigan Nadarajan 
 
LESSONS FROM THE BIRDS 
Can we stand balanced like the birds? Are the six aspects of our lives namely physical, mental,                                 
emotional, social, financial and spiritual included and well balanced in our daily lives. Whatever                           4
life’s weather brings upon us, are we balanced in our thinking, decisions and actions. Do we                               
stand sure­footed unmoved by any form extremities. Do we always seek balance living. 
 
Reflective Solitude 
 
Birds at times flock and swarm together             
while at other times stand alone in solitude.               
Like them, it is okay for us to take time for                     
reflective solitude. So what can we do in our                 
reflective solitude? Reflective thinking of         
course.  
 
In our extremely connected and mobile           
world, we sometimes have too many voices             
clamoring for our attention simultaneously. This is when we respond automatically based on                         
conditioning and habits. There is little opportunity for reflective thinking.  
 
What is reflective thinking? It is when we can take time to actively and consciously to evaluate                                 
our thoughts and actions on anything to understand its rationale, counter arguments, processes,                         
possible outcomes and how it can be made better. It must be noted that reflective thinking                               
normally is not encouraged in compliant and dictatorial societies where obedience is the criteria.                           
And yet the greatest reflective philosophers and thinkers are still found in compliant societies.                           
Why? Simple! No one can censor or suppress the human thought. 
 
Closing Thoughts 
 
When we respect other people’s spaces, live in a balanced manner and practice reflection of our                               
thoughts and deeds, we will soar high in our thinking and be able to have a bird’s eye view of                                       
ourselves and others. And like the birds, we will find the need to still return to the ground of                                     
humanity for it is our home. 
4
 http://www.theemotionmachine.com/six­aspects­of­a­well­balanced­person­part­1 
 
©2015 by Thesigan Nadarajan 

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Lessons from the birds

  • 1.   LESSONS FROM THE BIRDS    Life’s lessons can be learned from the              most unexpected sources. I like to share              three lessons out the many that I              discovered from bird watching.     Nowadays birdwatching is a form of            wildlife observation and recreational        activity. It can involve just watching            birds with our naked eye to using visual                enhancements like binoculars and telescopes. It can range from an armature pastime to a                            professional career involving formal courses, tracking, documentation, photography and                  publication of research papers. Ah! for me it just a relaxing pastime whenever time and                              opportunity provides. But as a trained counseling psychologist, I have these automatic tendencies                          to reflect upon my observations. And these are what I learned from the birds.    Personal Spaces    When I wanted to take the above picture, I crept slowly, in a stealthy manner as close as possible                                      to shoot with my Nikon 300mm zoom lens. I succeeded. You see, the bird was unperturbed by                                  my presences. Yet I felt like an intruder trespassing into its small and calm environment that is                                  fast disappearing. If the bird could speak the human language, it might say “you idiot! why are                                  spying on me. Am I your zoo cage exhibit?” But of course as the dominant human being I can                                      justified my intrusion with many human reasons. But the bottom line is, I am an intruder into its                                    personal space.     As humans, we need our ​personal spaces to be respected. A personal space ranges from 1.5 feet                                  to 4 feet and access are allowable to friends and acquaintances. Any unallowable intrusion                           1 beyond this range would be intruding into our intimate space which has a perimeter of 18 inches                                  around our bodies allowable only to family members and intimate friends. Violations of personal                            spaces usually results in an uncomfortable feeling and even fear. In unavoidable situations like in                              a crowded and cramped subway coaches, we accept the intrusion of others as an unavoidable                              violations only for that moments. So we should respect the personal spaces of every living                              creature because it is their inherent rights.        1  http://www.livescience.com/20801­personal­space.html    ©2015 by Thesigan Nadarajan 
  • 2.   LESSONS FROM THE BIRDS    Homes Not Houses    Birds have their habitats in many type of environments. It could be a heathland, woodland,                              forest, rainforest, wetland and coastal lands. It doesn’t matter where, the birds know how to                             2 make it their homes. It has been noted that each bird species built their own unique type of nests                                      through complex engineering skills that sometimes hint advance planning. Their homes are their                         3 shelter from the natural elements, security from predators and nest for breeding. ​It is where they                                raise their young until they can venture out on their own. It is their home regardless of the                                    duration of their stay.    What about us as humans? Are our lodging structures mere houses or are they our homes? What                                  turns our lodging structures into a home? Here I would like to list selected points for our                                  reflection:    1. It is where we can be who we really are,  2. It is where we can feel safe from all intrusions,  3. It is where we can connect with ourselves and those whom we love,  4. It is where we can change or modify anything to fit our needs,  5. It is where we can return to for solace, calmness and peace,  6. It is where we can exhibit out our personalities,  7. It is where we feel most at home.    Standing Balanced    No matter where a bird lands, whether on a branch, a                      watering spray pipe, or a high swaying thin branch, it                    stands well balanced. Where it stands can be wet and                    slippery, icy or windy. Yet it will stand perfectly                  balanced.            2  http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/birds/Natural­Habitats­Birds  3  http://www.harunyahya.com/en/Articles/8168/how­do­birds­build­their    ©2015 by Thesigan Nadarajan 
  • 3.   LESSONS FROM THE BIRDS  Can we stand balanced like the birds? Are the six aspects of our lives namely physical, mental,                                  emotional, social, financial and spiritual included and well balanced in our daily lives. Whatever                           4 life’s weather brings upon us, are we balanced in our thinking, decisions and actions. Do we                                stand sure­footed unmoved by any form extremities. Do we always seek balance living.    Reflective Solitude    Birds at times flock and swarm together              while at other times stand alone in solitude.                Like them, it is okay for us to take time for                      reflective solitude. So what can we do in our                  reflective solitude? Reflective thinking of          course.     In our extremely connected and mobile            world, we sometimes have too many voices              clamoring for our attention simultaneously. This is when we respond automatically based on                          conditioning and habits. There is little opportunity for reflective thinking.     What is reflective thinking? It is when we can take time to actively and consciously to evaluate                                  our thoughts and actions on anything to understand its rationale, counter arguments, processes,                          possible outcomes and how it can be made better. It must be noted that reflective thinking                                normally is not encouraged in compliant and dictatorial societies where obedience is the criteria.                            And yet the greatest reflective philosophers and thinkers are still found in compliant societies.                            Why? Simple! No one can censor or suppress the human thought.    Closing Thoughts    When we respect other people’s spaces, live in a balanced manner and practice reflection of our                                thoughts and deeds, we will soar high in our thinking and be able to have a bird’s eye view of                                        ourselves and others. And like the birds, we will find the need to still return to the ground of                                      humanity for it is our home.  4  http://www.theemotionmachine.com/six­aspects­of­a­well­balanced­person­part­1    ©2015 by Thesigan Nadarajan