I don't know how much you know about hummingbirds, but I was very ignorant about these beautiful creatures. So feel free to laugh at me, but ...
For one, I thought hummingbirds were in constant motion. They are not. They dip from flower to flower, and as I learned one day, they will actually perch on a branch, rest, and then while still sitting with their tails opening and closing like wee luminescent fans, they'll casually poke the nearest flower.
I also thought they were silent. They are not. As they whirr and whizz around at speed they chirp, trill, cry, call and sing in delighted tones. They have different whistles and clucks and I've come to recognize them by their unique sounds as well as their colorings. And they have other surprising behaviors, like rising up ten stories, hovering and then diving straight down at screaming velocity!
One is that in life, I'm often so ignorant of the tiny marvels all around. It's funny how easily we can be lulled into thinking that we know what life is all about. Perhaps if you'd asked me about hummingbirds, I might have been fairly confident in my thinking that they are in constant motion. Even though I really did not know that.
I come up against my own ignorance when I'm closely observing life around me. If I am open to what is there, suddenly life seems to open to me. It begins teaching me how things really are. And then I have the opportunity to laugh and drop my illusions.
Often when we find ourselves at the crossroads of what we think we know and some brand new information, it can be tempting to stick with the road we know. Even if it really is not good for us and not leading us where we think.
I do believe it can be strange to us, and even difficult, to remain open to life. Although it is natural for all human beings, it isn't normal practice to let life reveal its secrets to us. We are rather more used to reaching first for what we think we know. We seem to become more open to learning only after we've come to the edge, exhausted, of what we know.
And this brings me to my second point about hummingbirds and life. Just like the hummingbird is quiet sometimes, so we need to be.
Everything we need to know about how to live life is available to us. One of the reasons we get lost and take the wrong fork in the road repeatedly is because we have not stopped long enough to listen. We are too rarely informed from the inside. We haven't listened to ourselves. I'm not talking about following every emotional upheaval wherever it takes you, I'm talking about honoring our inner guidance.
Many times you've made a mistake and later known that something inside was telling you to do differently. You probably swapped that inner information for logical reasoning. Your logical mind didn't have the right answer. But you knew that afterwards.
This happens -- not because the logical mind is always wrong; it is just more interested in keeping you glued together than anything else. It wants the version of you that you have now to be preserved; this above all other things. Your logical thinking is at its' most dangerous not when it doesn't know, but when it thinks it knows.
As a result, we can easily become great big rigid intolerable know-it-alls.
To have a porous attitude to life is to know one thing: that you don't know everything. At least not as far as the facts go. And most certainly not as far as concerns the inner lives of other people. But you can know yourself.
To do that, you need the delightful attitudes of listening, quietness and openness.
The one thing that we all know is exactly what it feels like when we are living as our true selves, living and being who we are.
I'd suggest that when we are quiet enough to hear our own direction in life and we follow it, we automatically feel open to learning, to understanding others, to loving others.
To listen closely to your inner world is to hear Life speaking to you.
We are all connected to this same Life, this Spirit or Formless Intelligence, so the result of tuning in is always to feel closer to our real self and to feel closer to others.