Foul Play

Gould_Wild_turkeyIn 1666 a Dutch physicist noticed that two pendulums mounted on the same board always ended up swinging at the same rate. He called this “entrainment.” It affects any oscillation, including breathing, heartbeats, brain waves, and turkeys.

Yep. Turkeys.

Yesterday I decided to meditate on my front porch.  As I settled in, a large delegation of wild turkeys scurried up the road that leads to my bird feeder. They do this every morning, like commuters, so I barely noticed them. I was using the mantra, “I am infinite stillness.” As I repeated this, feeling all spaced out and blissed, I opened my eyes to see that the turkeys had stopped in front of me.

They stood absolutely, unnaturally still. Not a feather moved, not a toe, not a head. I’ve never seen turkeys behave this way. I kept meditating, and not one turkey moved AT ALL for over five minutes (I clocked it). Then I counted them (there were 21). As I counted, they all suddenly began moving again. Counting had taken me out of stillness. So I went back into meditation. All 21 turkeys lay down, limp as opium smokers, until I finished meditating. Then they resumed their usual speed-walk to the bird feeder.

It’s great, quirky, subversive fun to experiment with entrainment. When you get reeeeeaallly calm, it reeeeeeaally calms everything around you. And what most everyone wants is to feel reeeeeaally calm.

At peace. 
At one. 

You are the master of the energy you radiate. You always have a choice. Don’t fall into resonance with some random person who’s feeling lost and scared (as most humans do, most of the time). Be the peace you wish to see in the world, and watch the turkeys in your life—both literal and metaphoric—join the stillness. (Insert Thanksgiving joke of your choice here.)

24 replies
  1. says:

    I live down the road from The Mafia Turkeys. When I first met them I didn’t know to be afraid of them. The ranch owner commented on how well behaved the turkeys were. “You must be a nice person,” she said. These turkeys are so mellow today.

    Then she told me story after story about how mean those turkeys were. How BIG RANCHERS were scared to get out of their trucks because of those turkeys. From then on I, too, was scared and the turkeys chased me and terrified me.


    My husband, the turkey whisperer went with me. He employed your stillness trick. The turkeys mellowed. I’ve done the same ever since and have no turkey problems.

    Be the peace you seek to find.

  2. Pam
    Pam says:

    Being still is an art form.. In a world where we are rushing here and there and anxious about everything that is going on in our lives, it is imperative that we learn and master the art of “being still” in mind, body and soul.

    “Even when in the midst of disturbance, the stillness of the mind can offer sanctuary.” Stephen Richards

  3. Millie
    Millie says:

    I went through a version of this yesterday! I was on a group hike up a rather long, intense, steep trail. I got stuck behind a hiker who was having a difficult time. Before I met up with this person, I felt strong and purposeful even though that section of the trail was difficult. Stuck behind this person I kept having thoughts like, “I can’t do this! I’m not going all the way to the top! This sucks!” It was like a fog had descended. I focused on my body and I set my mind with a positive affirmation–“I’m strong and I want to reach the top!” I eventually made it but until I had some distance away from that person, it was a struggle to keep my power.

  4. Bernie
    Bernie says:

    Hi Martha I loved reading this thank-you. I am really working on controlling mt feeling of peace, this helps a lot. look forward to trying it out though no turkeys around here!! Loving the FYC course !
    With love
    Bernie x

  5. TestyTess
    TestyTess says:

    My ex had a nutty, skittish horse and he loved to tease her and make it worse. A friend rode her once and her whole demeanor changed; she was still, quiet, collected, even her face changed. Now I know why!

  6. Gay
    Gay says:

    I’ve had this happen with people. Cranky check out folks. Family members. Emphasis, though, on the really, really part of the stillness. Too often, I still get hijacked by downer energy. Compassion without merging energies, I think is the prescription.

  7. Donna
    Donna says:

    Martha, I love your posts, now I also love the posts of your readers.
    I am infinite stillness, what a happy thought.
    At one time we had a trio of white turkeys, interesting birds with a fondness for cake. They could have lived to a ripe old age, however they took to menacing my two daughters and a short time later became turkey dinners.
    Thank you for awakening the memory of a simpler time…

  8. Marin
    Marin says:

    Martha…Thanks for this. I’ve noticed that my ability to find some stillness as I begin teaching my yoga classes has a fairly profound effect on my students, so I’m always mindful about not letting stress in for those moments prior to class. Incidentally, I had no ideas that turkeys can lay down…how sweet!


  9. Karen
    Karen says:

    This was a wonderful reminder of the power we hold. There are times when it seems as if the negativity from those around us (especially at work) can wear us down. It takes effort and practice to continue to get back to and remain in our happy place.

  10. Anon
    Anon says:

    I had the opposite experience of this little bird attempting to entrain me to it!

    I had woken up on Manhattan’s streets upset as usual and looked 3 feet to my left to see this completely still object staring at me. I had to clear my eyes b/c I thought it was some sort of toy, or something. When I realized it was a little bird, I thought it must be dead. It DID NOT move. At all. People on their way to work, including large men with construction boots, were passing within, no exaggeration, inches of it … it did not move. I inched closer to attempt to shield it somewhat — didn’t want it to get squished. But apparently it wasn’t enough, and it finally had to move b/c one of those boots, after a few solid minutes, skiffed it, and it flew away. In the interim, though, it gave me utmost stillness in silence. Peace, calm. Assuredness. Made me think of how firm, unwavering and resolute it stood in the midst of much larger dangers. Wow.

  11. Joyce Zorger
    Joyce Zorger says:

    I experience this stillness on horseback rides. At some point on some rides (depending on who I’m riding with) we stop and take in the beauty of nature. I sometimes say words of spiritual insight that come to me, then we immerse ourselve in the silence. Our horses always join us. What a demonstration that we truly are all one.

    Martha, I love your combination of humor and spirituality.
    Peace and JOY, JOYce

  12. Eastern Peregrine
    Eastern Peregrine says:

    “‘entrainment’… affects any oscillation, including breathing”
    For the last hour and a half I have been a limp turkey, breathing in stillness, as I’ve read your thoughts on many subjects. Thank you.
    Now, on to the bird feeder.
    Oh,… and I’ll be back.

  13. Bani Aello
    Bani Aello says:

    This is such a great topic! It reminds me to be more conscious and deliberate about the energy I’m putting out there! I need to be more responsible and respectful of how my energy affects others. Thank you!!

  14. Anne DeMarsay
    Anne DeMarsay says:

    I was glad to see this post turn up in the Daily Inspiration email again because I’ve wanted to find it and re-read it. Twice in the last year, I’ve had experiences like this with deer. While the white-tails in the woods around our suburban area are used to seeing people, they’re pretty skittish whe you approach them. On these two occasions, I quieted myself and beamed love at them, as if they’d been beloved pets. Both times, the deer stood quietly as I walked within five feet of them.

    A neighbor watched the first of these encounters from her kitchen window and hailed me as I walked past front door on my way home. “That was amazing!” she said. “Why didn’t the deer didn’t run?” I told her what I’d done. I’m not sure she believed me–I’m not sure I believed me–but a young doe in a different area responded to me the same way few months later.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] These thoughts inspired me to plan more down time in my life (oh the irony!)  Some days it’s just not possible, but I find if I plan ahead and give myself an hour or two to explore, to relax and to reflect, I am much more productive in my otherwise hectic life.  Martha Beck agrees:  calming down is the answer. […]

  2. […] Martha Beck had een mooie ervaring met wat dit teweegbrengt. […]

  3. […] You are the master of the energy you radiate.  Even when you’re surrounded by turkeys. […]

  4. […] Martha, if you’re ever in need for a guinea pig for your research: Let me know. Mi Deva, tu […]

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