Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Be Still

by leigh

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


terriporter said...

Oh, my gosh, what a great quote! It's telling us that those of us who need this practice the most (I fall in to that category) are the ones who do it the least. My oldest son discovered meditation a few years ago and practices it every day. My meditation seems to fall into the category of going out with my camera by myself and spending a few hours keeping my mind clear and enjoying my surroundings. It really does seem to help calm and quiet my thoughts. In fact, I have just such an outing planned today, not because I need to take photos but because I need the quiet and calm it will bring. Maybe that's one of the reasons photography is such a popular hobby and one that we practice for a lifetime. And I love your still life tulips! Such beautiful color and light!

Carol said...

I love that quote! I have been looking at joining a meditation center near me, but then saw Oprah's class and meant to take it, then decided I can do it on my own........this has been going on for a year . I think I need the hour class that the quote mentions!!!!!!
Good inspiration to do this....now!

Dotti said...

Those tulips make simply delightful still life photos! Meditation. There are so many times when I've thought about beginning this practice. But all I do is think about it. It has a strong pull and I need to do more than just 'think' about it. I need to 'do' it. Maybe you've given me just the push I need, Leigh.

Anonymous said...

That quote does make you stop and think...meditate...I try, but can't seem to keep the many thoughts from flooding back in. I recently started back into my yoga routine which helps you to "be still" but it takes practice which I need lots of lol! You tulips are gorgeous, and I think whether its stills, nature, portraits or action shots, photography does help one to be still. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post, Leigh!

kelly said...

wow leigh...thank you for the kind words. photography is definitely a sort of daily mediation - be it a still life or otherwise. I love the analogy of turning down the volume of one's thoughts...it seems less daunting that turning it off altogether. :) more doable. xoxo

Liz said...

Great images, Leigh! I totally agree with all you say! We need to take time out to meditate.

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