Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mindfulness Photography 2

"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it." - Thich Nhat Hanh

When we pick up a camera it is done with a purpose in mind, which in most cases is a thought about the future and the purpose of capturing an image in a photograph. What if we instead thought of the camera as a tool for mindfulness meditation like some people use a candle, music, or the vibrating tone that lingers when a wooden mallet rubs along the rim of a Tibetan singing bowl or it strikes a bell? Perhaps the camera can be that tool that allows us to practice mindfulness meditation and experience the present moment. So many people say that they struggle with mediation because their mind wanders off in all sorts of directions. Now I don't pretend to be an expert on mindfulness or meditation and I  sometimes struggle to let go of competing thoughts and just be in the now.  I just know that, from what I have read about mindfulness meditation, I have experienced this when I immersed myself into photography and I want to continue to develop mindfulness in my photography and in my life in general. 

As I've said before there are so many benefits of practicing mindfulness meditation and photography can help us to develop this within ourselves. When you pick up your camera today, let go of any notion of achieving an outcome. Whether you take, or make, a photo isn't important. What matters more is that the camera is allowing you to enter that mindful meditative space. Experience the moment. Take a deep belly breath and feel gratitude for that basic function that we take for granted, that some others struggle for. If you walk, like Thich Nhat Hanh has said "walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet".  As thoughts arise, notice them like you would a cloud in the sky and then let it go as the cloud floats out of sight. Don't give it your attention but don't fight to push it away. It may be a thought about the future or something from the past. Just notice it, let it go, and bring your attention back to your breath and the moment. Notice what is around you, the sounds, smells, and what you see. Like I said in a previous post, there may be something that catches your attention. Notice what you feel when you see it. Make a photo of it if you like. If there is any purpose to this exercise, it is not necessarily about the photo but about becoming more mindful. Enjoy the peaceful mind that you find yourself in.  I hope you have a wonderful day.

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