With mindfulness, as you practice – be it meditation, mindful photography or simply being present with the one thing that you are doing – your present awareness develops. As this happens, your understanding and appreciation of the moment has room to expand. In this moment thoughts may arise and you may notice how busy your mind is. The practice is to return to your anchor. In meditation this is often the breath. In mindful photography it is the seeing.
It is helpful to remind yourself why you do this. The roots of mindfulness can help in this regard. This paragraph from Lama Surya Das (an American born Tibetan Buddhist Lama) from his book ‘Awakening the Buddha within’ can remind you where mindfulness first came from and what it means.
“In the original Mindfulness Sutra, the Buddha described what he called the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. These teachings remind us to be aware of our bodies; aware of our feelings and emotions; aware of our thoughts; and aware of events as they occur, moment by moment.”
Your Unruly Mind
Mindful practices – breathing meditation, mindful movement (yoga, qigong, walking), body scan and mindful photography all allow you to be more present in your life and to connect with your body, your feelings, your thoughts and events. The most challenging discovery is that it is your mind that is unruly; running about indiscriminately through your past events, memories and future plans, concocting imaginary conversations and worrying about things that may never happen.
I like this quote that lightens up the challenge ahead!
“Our minds can be wonderful, but at the same time they can be our very worst enemy. They give us so much trouble. Sometimes I wish the mind were a set of dentures which we could leave on our bedside table overnight.” Sogyal Rinpoche
May your mindful practice calm the unruly child that is your mind.
As a practicing mindful photographer, I know that bringing this awareness to photography allows the possibility that personal expressive art that resonates with my heart and mind can be created. The photo above was created whilst practicing mindful photography and reminds me of the unruly mind; the conflicting imagery, the glimmer of possibility, the confusing disparate thoughts passing through, the entrenched habits, and the light and dark.
Keep an eye on the website for news of a new Zoom based course, ‘Personal Expressive Photography’.