Watching Egrets (re-broadcast)

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As I said when I introduced the last episode, I’ll be away for another week taking great care of myself. It feels so good to follow my own counsel and my time will be well spent and revitalizing.

So, here’s a re-broadcast of an earlier episode entitled, Watching Egrets. In it, we’ll watch a flight of white birds as it crosses a line of dark clouds in the distance, and we’ll notice the peace that comes as we become still enough to take in what we’re seeing.

I’ll be back next week with a new episode. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this one. I’ll see you soon.

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It’s been said that better questions lead us naturally to better answers, and that it’s in not knowing that we open the doorway to knowing. I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a consideration of things that truly matter in a complex world.

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It has long intrigued me how seemingly small things can sometimes cause life-altering shifts in us. And how sometimes, after the shift has happened, there is no going back.

Today, some thoughts about a change that happened as a result of being still enough to watch a flight of elegant birds.


Photo: Scott Lennox


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Watching Egrets

A flight of birds, egrets, whiter than ice,
crossing a line of dark clouds.
Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
A single glance, and I am lifted up.
Another time, I would have looked for some grand meaning,
a hidden design.
Today, seeing them is enough.


And in Spanish…

Un vuelo de los aves, garzas, más blanco que el hielo,
cruze de una línea de nubes oscuras.
Nada más, pero sin duda, nada menos.
Una sola mirada, y sea elevado.
Otro tiempo, me abría buscando algún sentido grande,
un diseño escondido.
Hoy, verlos es suficiente.

(Watching Egrets is from a collection of my unpublished poems. The translation into Spanish is my own.)

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When I think of seeing the egrets that day, I remember having the awareness that while I had been intently watching them, something in me changed, and for that moment, I was fully present. Present with the clouds. Present with the birds. And present with myself.

I’d spent much of that day sitting at my usual table in the corner of a coffee shop, the noise and commotion and laughter swirling around me as I read a book and occasionally made notes in my journal.

Late in the afternoon, while looking through one of the shop’s west-facing windows, I noticed a long dark band of brooding clouds that had built up on the horizon. Just then, about a mile away, and directly between where I sat and the band of clouds, a drawn-out line of eight or nine snow-white egrets flew slowly past, heading south, in the direction of the river that flows through town.

The moment wasn’t what you’d describe as breath-taking. Rather, it was quietly engaging. It was a moment complete within itself. At the sight of those elegant birds, in what looked like effortless flight, one behind the other, I felt connected, and lifted, and inspired.

And I felt still inside.

When the last of the birds was out of sight, I opened my journal and spontaneously began to write, in English and then in Spanish, Egrets, the poem I’ve shared with you. As I reread it, I realized that I had become so caught up in watching the egrets that my conscious mind had stopped thinking altogether, something I would have sworn to you was impossible.

In place of thinking, a feeling of complete calm washed over me and through me. And though nothing had changed in the coffee shop, everything around me seemed somehow quieter and less chaotic. I know rationally that it wasn’t, but my reactive mind was no longer resisting or pushing against the noise, or the movement, or the people. It all seemed to flow by without touching me.

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That evening, and for several days afterward, I found myself wanting to return to that deep inner silence. It would be a while before I established the regular practice of it, but that one moment of stillness was enough to invite a lasting hunger for more.

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In my recent newsletters and podcasts, I’ve written and spoken about stillness several times, and for a couple of reasons, I’ll continue to do so.

One, because even in our overly busy, productivity-based, work-’til-you-drop culture, reaching stillness is far easier to experience than most people think (no pun intended).

And two, because the benefits of stillness are so profound and far-reaching, effecting every part of us for the better.

It is accepted medical fact that anxiety, worry, stress, and the pressures of our endless doing are known to cause the release of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone. And it’s known that the overproduction of cortisol can lead to suppressed immunity, hypertension, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and several other health risks.

On the other hand, reducing cortisol levels can help us regain balance and improve overall health. When we engage in stillness, we help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, that part of us that helps us “rest and digest,” and that helps us to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Each moment that we allow true stillness, we open the door for clarity and for our innate wisdom, both of which naturally arise when we take our stress-related obstacles out of the way.

With the holidays at hand, we’ll have lots of opportunities to practice. So, I offer one simple suggestion.

Several times during each day, it might be interesting to allow yourself to become still, long enough to be aware of some small detail in what’s happening around you, whether close to you or at a distance.

Allow yourself to “lean into” that detail. And then, as you continue being aware of it, with no force at all, and without really trying, notice any shift that takes place in you while you’re observing.

As your thoughts arise—and they probably will—simply allow them to go by, and quietly bring yourself back to witnessing the detail without narrating or editing.

In time, the stillness you are seeking will deepen and lengthen, and even though you’re not consciously aware of it in the moment, you’ll be helping to orchestrate your own wellness.

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Here are this week’s two Beautiful Questions.

One: Are there valid reasons, conscious or unconscious, that you aren’t allowing yourself the gift of stillness on a regular basis?

And Two: When and for how long are you willing to suspend your busyness so that you may experience it?

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My Light with Your Light!

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Thank you for joining me in these podcasts as we keep doing the things we can to respond to life in increasingly effective ways. As always, I’m open to your comments and feedback.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And at, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. You’ll also find an archive of all previous podcasts, including episodes three and four, guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, don’t hesitate to share them or tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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