In the Inka’n Peruvian tradition the hummingbird is considered to be the animal that represents timelessness. She is the only bird that can fly front or backwards, horizontally or vertically, hover, or stop dead in her tracks while flying at full speed. Her flitting wings move so quickly that our human eyes can hardly perceive them. If you’ve ever stopped to study the hummingbird, you can see how the ancients observed that she moves while being still…and stays still while moving. This tiny, iridescent bird travels 2000 km twice a year between South and North America, making it seem that she is able to travel through time and space.
The hummingbird spends her time searching for the sweetest nectar to drink from, and when she embarks on this massive journey she trusts that the nectar will be there at the end of her journey. Her secret is that when she finally discovers the nectar of the flowers, she doesn’t just drink it, but fully tastes and experiences the sweetness of the nectar. This is a lesson that we can learn to embody in our own lives. Similar to how the hummingbird drinks deeply from the sweet nectar, we too can search for the sweet moments in life, trusting that there is sweetness all around us if we just open our eyes and see it. We can step into timelessness ourselves by finding appreciation for the present moment.
What does it mean to live in the moment? This could be conceptualized in a few different ways.
On a general level we can cultivate an awareness of what space we are holding in our thoughts and in our hearts. It is so common to spend our time focused on the past or the future, which in turn holds us back from fully experiencing and enjoying the present moment. Worry. Fear. Regret. Guilt. Judgment. Expectations. Longings for the past. Living in dreams of the future. All of these things keep us from being where we are now.
Of course, we can’t all be zen masters practicing the Tao and living in “The Now” on the top of a mountain. It is definitely beneficial to cultivate a healthy practice of reflecting on the past and planning for the future. We are, after all, humans. However, most of us fall into the many harmful patterns associated with ruminating in the past or the present. If we instead choose to focus on the blessings in our lives and practice gratitude for all that we have now, we can live a life full of abundance.
Now lets take it a little deeper…
Are you aware of this exact moment? Are you really enjoying the coffee you’re drinking right now? Are you actually feeling the sun on your skin and smelling the sun’s lingering residue left on your skin? Are you taking enjoyment in the all of the small things?
I personally like to use my senses to fully appreciate “The Now”. The beauty in front of my eyes. The memories incited by the smells that perfuse my nose. The feeling of the music that enters my ears. The comfort that comes with touch. The utter satisfaction that fills my taste buds. How do these small things make you feel? Are you taking the time to actually enjoy them?
The next time you find yourself worrying about the future or feeling guilt from the past, take a deep breathe in. Feel your lungs and your body. Smell what the world has to offer. Look around at the beauty surrounding you. Take a moment to find gratitude for something or someone in your life.
Take these lessons that hummingbird has to offer and shift your awareness into the present moment. Live right here, right now, and appreciate the sweetness that life has to offer. Trust that the sweetness will be there when looked for and drink deeply from the nectar of life.