Recently I had gone with my birding buddies to Tillari Forest area. This is forest on the confluence of borders of 3 states, namely Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. We roamed around the part at the border of Maharashtra and Goa with a local guide. We did not venture deep into the forest but we traversed periphery of the  forest to catch glimpses of various types of birds. On the second day we were travelling in the car from Banda to Tillari through Tillari ghat. This part of Western ghat is famous of Malabar trogon a very beautiful and colourful bird.

It was around 11.00-11.30 in the morning. Sun was shining bright in the sky. Sky was clear. Our guide parked the car by side of the road and asked us to walk with him. Some 500 meters walk from road inside the jungle took us to the canopy of trees in the jungle. There was a dried stream consisting of stones of various sizes. At few places small poodles of water was there. The sun was streaming through the thick canopy of trees. We sat in the stream and were waiting for birds. First the guide heard the call of grey headed bulbuls. These tiny beautiful birds perched on the branch of a tree and we took some shots. Then we waited for some time to hear some calls. Suddenly our guide told us to keep quiet and not to move as he has heard calls of trogon. A female trogon flew over head and perched in the relatively dark canopy. I was able to get couple of shots and poof the battery of the camera died down. I had a spare battery but that was in the car which was parked on the side of road nearly 1 km away. So I could do nothing and just sit and watch. At that point I suddenly realized that the tension I was carrying to get pictures of the birds at any cost in the canopy of the jungle evaporated. Now I was there calm and clear in mind. My eyes searching the canopy of trees ,through which beams of lights were streaming. And suddenly the male trogon flew over and sat on the perch in the canopy. What a beautiful bird. Its grace was indescribable. I was overjoyed with the emotions. I saw the bird vividly and stored that image in my mind’s eye.

Then I realized that when you carry a camera , you want to get maximum shots of the birds. You don’t want to miss anything as you are there only for a time being. Though this is an enjoyable process a subtle tension is there in the subconscious what if I miss the bird. That prevents you from looking at the jungle, soaking in the atmosphere of the jungle and absorbing the peace which is broken by bird chirping. This really needs to be experienced .  I could do that as my camera’s battery died down and I was able to be present to the whole jungle. It was really a mesmerizing experience.

When you are too focussed on the goal (here taking pictures of birds) then you lose the process through which you achieve the goal. I remembered a story from the book “ Are you Ready to Succeed? Unconventional strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in business and In life.” By Srikumar Rao. The story is as follows.

A desperate young seeker banged on the door of the Master. “I want to be enlightened,” he gasped when the Master answered, “ If I stay as your disciple , how long will it take?”

The master surveyed the young man. He had strong physique and the inner restlessness that drove him was almost palpable. A good candidate. “ Ten years, “ said the Master.

The youth wilted, as if struck with an axe. For a few minutes he stood with the head bowed, then he looked up. “ If I work day and night , “ he asked fiercely, “ if I do without sleep and do twice what your other disciples do then how long will it take for me to be enlightened?”

“Twenty years,” said the Master calmly. So perplexed was the youth and so earnest his demeanour that the sage relented and explained.

“When you have one eye so firmly fixed on the goal , you have but one eye left to find the way.”

Have you ever experienced this kind of excessive focusing on the goal. What you do to bring your attention to the way or to the present?  Please let me know in the comments.