My first disclaimer is that I am not a birder. I’m not an ornithologist. However, I have experienced a shift in perception when I listen to the birds as they sing. Hawks have a piercing cry, ravens a warbling laugh. Each kind of bird sees us, hears us, and communicates with us and each other through sound.
We’re so busy being plugged into everything. Ear buds. Inner turmoil. Bringing the visual focal point to the diaphragm as we breathe, inhale bird song from your porch or on a neighborhood ramble. No need to go far.
Take a pedestrian walk along the river trail, across a foot bridge. Go to the boat launch and watch the fishermen put in. Stand there and do the bird song exercise.
Bird song meditations can be accomplished several times a day, once per hour if need be. Pretend it’s a cigarette break. Everybody’s doing it. Maybe that’s why the smokers do this! (I’m not a smoker, either — I’d probably be dead by now if I were, like most of my smoker friends.)
No one has to know what you are doing. If you become curious, look up the birds and learn them by their songs. The Audobon Society has great web-sounds. Let me conclude with a link to the raven’s “low honks near nest.” These are the sounds of contentment, home and family. They pierce the gloom of human misery.