Be still…two seemingly simple words. They can be easy to understand, but difficult to actually put into practice. I hardly ever shoot still lifes. I see Kelly's beautifully composed ones and wonder how does she do that! I can see the thought and careful consideration she puts into the still life before she even picks up her camera. I can see that not only does she shoot still lifes, but she understands what it means to be still. In times of stillness comes inspiration. I tend to think as I shoot. It becomes a very organic process for me as I feel myself guided as I am out with my camera. Guided by who? what? my thoughts maybe…perhaps led by god…my inner soul? Whatever it may be it's a form of meditation for me.
I may not be a seasoned still life photographer, but I do practice being still in my daily life. Through meditation I am able to be fully present and quiet my mind. Some days I meditate early in the morning after exercising and before the rest of the house wakes up. Other days I listen to a guided meditation before bed, but lately I've been using my 15-20 minutes in carpool line for my stillness time. I'm currently doing Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Meditation Experience. Everyday I receive an email that talks about the focus for the days meditation. Today was Making Lightness the New You. I'm given a centering thought and then I listen as Oprah gives her thoughts on the day's focus and then Deepak leads the meditation. He gives a sanskirt mantra to use during meditation. The wonderful thing about mantras is that you say them silently over and over to yourself during the meditation which helps to stop your mind from wandering which is usually the most difficult part of meditation. The best advice I was ever given was not to turn off my thoughts, but to turn down the volume. If a thought keeps popping up just acknowledge it and then focus back on my breath or mantra.
There are many different ways to meditate. Some people insist on sitting cross legged on the floor while chanting. That just doesn't do it for me. Sometimes I meditate sitting down and other times I'm in bed right before I go to sleep. And sometimes my meditation is a walk outside and other times a walk with my camera in hand. You find what's comfortable for you. If you would like to learn more about meditation, this is a great website We live in a world where it is difficult to be still. We worry about wasting time and if we can't get our to do list checked off then we certainly don't have time to sit around and chant. One of my favorite quotes about meditation is this… I hope it inspires you to find some moments of stillness in your life.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb