by susantara | Oct 1, 2022 | Kindness & Compassion, Mindfulness |
A few evenings ago, there was a spectacular sunset on the river. From our east-facing side of the river, we tend to experience glorious sunrises and occasionally stunning sunsets, as well.
That evening was one such occasion. Puffy, white clouds reflected clearly by the calm water lured me into my kayak.
I almost didn’t bring my camera. Leaving the house, I assured myself the phone camera would suffice. I wanted to travel lightly and focus on paddling, not photography.
But in a moment of stopping and waiting for traffic to pass before crossing the road, I experienced an intuitive nudge to go back inside and get my camera. And it’s a good thing I followed that voice because 45 minutes later, I floated on a river of awe.
Once again, I realized what a difference a “sacred pause” can make in receiving intuition, inspiration, and wisdom that goes unnoticed when we’re immersed in a cloud of thought.
When I paddled to the other side of the river, the puffy clouds that lured me onto the river were not visible. Unless they left their houses, people living on the east side of the river wouldn’t have known they were there! From that side of the river, I could see a large cloud over our house. (Actually, it was over the hill behind our house.) The clouds to the west were illuminated differently than the clouds to the east. This particular cloud was backlit and outlined with the most beautiful light. The idiom, “Every cloud has a silver lining” came to mind.
From inside our house in the river valley at the bottom of a hill, we wouldn’t have any awareness of it. Similarly, we usually only get a very faint indication of breathtaking sunsets happening at the top of the hill that are visible from the west-facing side of the river.
While floating in my kayak, I thought about how our view of the world is largely determined by where we “live” – literally and figuratively. Which way we face and what portion of the sky we’re exposed to. Residents of one side of the river might have a very different perception of the landscape and the cycle of day and night than those on the other side or up on a hill in either direction. Some might look forward to sunsets instead of sunrises and full moonrises or experience longer periods of sunlight than we do in the valley.
And it’s not just the sky canvas. Property on one side of the river might be more prone to flooding than on the other side, or perhaps certain properties on either side. Flood insurance might cost more, and not having flood insurance might make one more anxious during weather events. There are so many, differing factors at play that we might not consider because they’re not our own, personal issues.
We might be totally unaware of what is clearly visible on the other side of the river, and vice versa. The only way to have a wider perspective is to travel to someone else’s yard – perhaps on the other side of the river or up on a hill – and see from their point of view. Then you might understand what it looks like from where they are and how their ideas developed.
I loved living on one side of the river and seeing the sunrise and working up the hill on the other side of the river and catching the sunset…although that usually meant I was working later than I should have been!
Seeing the clouds on the river that evening also brought to mind an experience I had last year when a person of interest enrolled in one of my photography courses. Realizing people in general were more sensitive and angry in the wake of all we’ve been through, I was concerned this person’s presence could be distracting or even triggering for some.
The situation the universe pitched my way was an invitation to grow and ended up being deeply transformative for me. Whereas I had time to prepare, the other participants didn’t. I wanted to be able to manage skillfully whatever dynamics might arise and relate to all participants as human beings, not roles.
During our first session, after talking about some technical stuff, I turned to more inner aspects of photography, which is where the juice is for me. I talked about how nature photography can serve to connect us both with nature and with other people. I explained that I know most of our river neighbors on both sides of the river between the two locks. We river neighbors don’t necessarily share the same views of the world. However, our shared love of the river unites us. We talk affectionately about bald eagles, herons, egrets, loons, swans – and commiserate about the bridge noise. Sometimes a neighbor will even notify me when they see something interesting on the river that could be a photo op.
I feel a deep sense of connection with all of our river neighbors because of this shared experience of living on the river. And the connection even goes beyond the Hudson River. When I talk about living on the Hudson, there’s an instant connection with anyone who’s ever lived on a river.
I love that my river neighbors help me to become aware of what I didn’t see because I was focused on something else. I love seeing what the sky or fog (for example) look like from their perspective when they share pictures. And sensing their appreciation for the river helps me to see their goodness – their inner light – even if we hold different views. Our views are just a small part of who we are as human beings, and it’s important to remember that. Our views and opinions, no matter how strongly held, are not our essence.
The point I was making in the photography course is that the participants were drawn to learning about nature photography because of some kind of caring, longing, or appreciation. We had something in common beneath the surface that brought us together. And months after the course was done, I learned what drew the person of interest to my course and that we had something else in common, on a heart level. No matter how differently my river neighbors or participants in my classes might relate to current events, I’ve learned to look deeper, for our common humanity. Usually, there’s some kind of caring or wounding if you dive down deeper.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow asserted:
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each [person’s] life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
It doesn’t mean you do anything different on the outside. You don’t need to move to the other side of the river, so to speak. It’s an inner shift that allows you to perceive someone as a whole person, not an ideology, viewpoint, or role. You won’t lose yourself by adopting a greater perspective unless the ideology or viewpoint forms your identity. If you identify with it, it might feel threatening to see the goodness and integrity of someone on “the other side” of an issue. But we are so much more than our beliefs and conditioning. Who we are at our core has nothing at all to do with that.
The problem isn’t that we hold different views. It’s when an ideology of any sort becomes our identity. Because at that point, we stop perceiving ourselves and others as the complex human beings that we are. Instead, we relate as one ideology to another, which is diminishing and potentially dangerous.
Opening your heart to the goodness of someone who seems different from you also doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the effects of the personality. As I’m sure we’ve all learned from experience, some personalities can be very destructive and damaging. They’ll drain your energy if you let them.
Focusing on the goodness and losing sight of the harsh realities of certain personalities can make us vulnerable to being mistreated by them…unless we also see and value and want to protect our own goodness and integrity. My recovery from an abusive situation focused not on demonizing the other person but on acknowledging my own worth, looking deeply into why I became so invested in caring about them, and practicing better self-care. Whenever they come to mind now, I wish them well and carry on. Or as the Jimmy Buffet song goes: Breathe in, breathe out, move on.
Listening to the Voice
An experience I had yesterday morning seems somehow related to all of this.
There’s a deck of inspirational cards displayed in our kitchen. There are hundreds of cards in the collection, and every month, I count out enough for each day of that month. So every day, there’s a different card displayed.
Before going to bed the other night, I looked at that day’s card. A Rumi quote was printed on it:
There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.
When I woke up in the morning, I opened up the Insight Timer app to do a guided meditation. Every day, a new quote appears when you open up that app, and what quote do you think came up that morning? That same Rumi quote! So I paid attention and took it to heart.
A little later that morning while editing photos, I found myself singing Olivia Newton-John’s song, Have You Never Been Mellow. I hadn’t heard that song in – well, I can’t even remember the last time! My association with the song was from my childhood, when it was released on vinyl. My dad was a fan and had the album. I loved listening to my parents’ records when I was in elementary school. That album was one I played and danced around to.
So there I was editing photos and singing the refrain, over and over. And then I felt a presence behind me, wrapping around me. It felt like my dad.
The Rumi quote came to mind, and I stopped editing photos and became present to the energy. Then I heard my dad’s voice inside me, offering loving advice. He wanted me to set myself free from the way I was thinking about money – his way. And he gave me permission to do so. Then he said: You’ve been walking around with my voice in your head for too long. Let it go. I couldn’t see the whole picture when I had a body that got in the way. You focus on what really matters. Let go of the rest. It’s your life, not anybody else’s.
I was in tears because it was very powerful to hear this message coming from my father’s energy. I’m in the process of decluttering my parents’ belongings from my storage unit. But I was torn between having a yard sale and donating the stuff. I imagined my dad would have tried to sell it first rather than give it away. Obviously, my parents had no use for it anymore. However, I felt I should honor the value they placed on their possessions. And that was holding me back. So the message was deeply meaningful and liberating.
What really stood out was the part about having a body that gets in the way of seeing the whole picture. It’s like not being able to see the whole sky from where we are in the river valley. We can only see a portion of it, and it might look very different from what our neighbors across the river or anywhere else in the world can see. We might have hills or mountains obstructing our view. Or the limitations of our physical senses. Or the beliefs we’ve had conditioned into us or otherwise adopted as truth.
The late Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, offers six mantras of true love. The sixth one is: “Darling, you are only partly right.” This could be uttered in response to praise, criticism, or viewpoints from your inner voice or from someone else. It also can be applied when we glorify or devalue someone else or otherwise create an idea of them based on where they stand in relation to what we hold dear.
Instead of relating to someone as an idea we have about them, is it possible to allow ourselves to relate to them as actual human beings inhabiting this river of life and experiencing emotions, delusions, pressures, and suffering, just as we do? Maybe a different flavor, but the same basic experience. The experience of clouds passing through the sky of awareness and obscuring the light of our true nature.
Another Rumi quote comes to mind:
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
That is the challenge and the invitation I’m weaving from all of these experiences. Can we wish for all beings to be well, happy, and free from suffering – even those on the “other side”? It doesn’t mean enabling or turning a blind eye to injustice and suffering. It means first tending to and developing our own hearts. Then bringing a wise and loving heart into our relationships with others.
With actual people, not ideas of them.
I never would have imagined pictures of clouds would have led to all of these words, but there you go.
© 2022 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.
by susantara | Feb 13, 2022 | Mindfulness |
Last month, my twentysomething son was out driving at night on a country road close to home and hit a patch of black ice. He experienced the out-of-control donut movement before taking a wild ride through the ditch. After what he described, I assumed he was stuck in the ditch and was surprised when he told me he was continuing his errands. Especially because he said part of the front of the car was missing.
So this happened at night. He eventually came home, and since it was dark, we decided to take a look in the morning and deal with it then. Of course, I went to bed that night grateful there were no other cars on the road when he spun out, and to still have a son to say goodnight to.
In the morning, my husband came into the house from outside and asked if my son realized his rear license plate was missing. That was news to me and also to my son. My husband couldn’t believe he didn’t get pulled over for a missing license plate – especially when my son said there was a police car right behind him at one point during his travels.
We all went outside and took inventory of the car. Sure enough, a piece was missing from the front driver’s side, and the rear license plate was missing, too.
What to do first? Look for the license plate.
The two of us took a drive in my car to where he went off the road and looked for missing parts. We found the front piece but not the license plate. We also found another set of tracks through the ditch that looked like it had been an even wilder ride. A friend of mine also had an accident in roughly that spot a few years ago involving black ice.
My son’s tracks came within a yard or two of a telephone pole. While we were taking in the tracks and looking for parts, several cars went by. I was grateful all over again for the outcome being much better than it might have been. I think he was, too.
We drove up and down the road a couple of times in case the license plate didn’t fall off in the ditch. Maybe it was dangling and fell off after he was back on the road. But we didn’t see it anywhere. Did someone take it? Maybe the police?
Back home, we kept looking at the car and the empty spot where the license plate used to be, wondering what had happened to it. Maybe someone brought it to the Department of Motor Vehicles?
There were two things that needed to be done. We needed to have a mechanic survey the damage, and we needed to turn in the one (somewhat mangled) license plate and re-register the car with new plates. After some consideration, we decided to visit the mechanic first.
My son drove the car to the mechanic and stayed as the car was put on the lift and slowly raised above his head. As the car was lifting up, my son was surprised to discover the license plate was still there! It had been there all along! It wasn’t covered by snow or mud. It was there in clear view!
He texted me a picture of the car with rear license plate intact, and I was astonished. How could it be? All three of us didn’t see that license plate. My husband was the first to notice, and after he shared the news with us, we weren’t able to see the license plate that was right there in front of us. The license plate only became visible to my son when he saw the car literally from a different perspective, and the license plate was at eye level.
The power of suggestion! It blew my mind.
My husband explained that he was looking for the license plate lower than where it was, and that’s why he didn’t see it. It reminded me of something I experienced with my dad many years ago.
When my parents were alive, they had a ring-toss board from my dad’s childhood on the wall in the family room. They kept their keys on the hooks on that board. One time I was visiting, and my dad was frustrated because he couldn’t find his car key. He was looking all over the house for it. He told me what the key looked like, and I started looking for it, too. I looked at the ring-toss board and found a key that fit the description. The problem was that it was on a different hook than he normally kept it on – I think the next hook over. Because he expected it to be on a specific hook, he didn’t see it on another one. Focused narrowly on that one hook, he couldn’t see the rest of the board.
That brings to mind a Sufi story of the holy jester, Mulla Nasrudin. Someone was walking home one night and found Nasrudin on all fours searching frantically for something under a streetlamp. The passerby asked what he was looking for. He said was looking for his key. The passerby helped him search for it. Eventually, he asked Nasrudin if he had a sense of where he might have dropped the key, and he answered that he lost it inside his house. The passerby wanted to know why, then, he was looking outside for something he lost inside his house. “Because there’s more light out here under the streetlamp,” he replied matter-of-factly.
Kind of a tangent, kind of not. How often do we look outside of ourselves for the answers we’re trying to find and believe what others tell us because it’s easier than searching within ourselves?
After the license plate incident, I wondered what else I’m not able to see due to the power of suggestion. What else have I or am I regarding as truth because someone else declared it to be so, and then I couldn’t see otherwise? We get these ideas in our heads, and then they bias our perception. We see the world through the lens of what we believe to be true. And the three of us couldn’t see a license plate that was right there the whole time. Then came the moment when our eyes were more fully open, and we marveled at how we couldn’t see it before.
Happens to me all the time in nature. All of a sudden, something that’s been there all along will catch my attention, and I’ll see it for the first time.
So I’ve been chewing on this ever since, holding my “truths” a little more lightly and bringing an attitude of curiosity. Is there any other way to see this (whatever it is)? It is possible that I’m not seeing the whole picture? That I’m fixating attention in the wrong place?
I do still have my opinions and beliefs. But I’m also willing to be wrong or not completely right. To not judge others who hold conflicting opinions. To be curious about their views. To have as my compass what feels right and peaceful when I dive below the layers of ego to a deeper, more encompassing state of being. Which is why I meditate. Sometimes turning attention inward and sitting quietly with yourself helps you to find that lost key – or license plate, as the case may be.
© 2022 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.
by susantara | Aug 2, 2020 | Kindness & Compassion, Mindfulness |
This summer, the river that runs by my front door has been my refuge.
On the river, everything is so normal and predictable. It could be any summer. The sun and moon rise and set on schedule and travel the path they always do, undistracted by human drama. Birds sing. The water lilies open and close at the same time each day.
I speak insights and words of gratitude into my online journal through my phone (set to airplane kayak mode), and herons and eagles have an uncanny knack of appearing suddenly out of nowhere and flying overhead as if to underscore certain especially resonant and relevant inspirations. The other night, I was on the river doing this under the moonlight, and instead of a heron or eagle, it was a shooting star that appeared like an exclamation point at the end of a sentence that had brought me to tears of homecoming.
It’s downright magical and sacred on the river.
This stretch of the Hudson River is the church I attend almost daily. It’s been keeping me balanced and centered as 2020 continues to carve its unpredictable and uncharted course through human and personal history. It’s taught me how to stay and to deepen my connection with the life around me. When I teach meditation classes, I use the phrase “on and off the [meditation] cushion.” But out here, “on and off the river” carries the same meaning.
There is a small spot on the riverside nearby just large enough for a family or small group of friends to enjoy the river and launch kayaks. It’s been getting a lot of use this summer, which is great. However, people often leave behind their garbage. It’s been happening more noticeably this year than in the past.
One day, I paddled by this spot and was disgusted and saddened by the sight of trash piling up. It fit a basic theme of selfishness that was pissing me off. So of course that’s what I saw. A narrative arose in my head about people who feel entitled to leave behind their garbage in the name of personal freedom. I saw selfishness, irresponsibility, a lack of caring and concern for others and the earth.
I paddled away feeling irked. And separate from and somehow better than the people who left behind their trash. But it didn’t feel right. As I paddled on, I asked myself how far down the river I was going to carry these feelings and assumptions.
The great thing about having a regular meditation practice is that I can catch myself sooner when my mind goes over to the dark side. And once you realize what’s happening inside your head, it opens up a field of spaciousness in which the heart can speak.
I realized that just as people can do better with cleaning up after themselves, I can do better than judging them.
So I paddled along with a prayer in my heart:
May I and all beings be free from the suffering and ignorance that causes us to do harm. May I and all beings be free from the suffering and ignorance that leads us to exclude others from our heart.
That felt better because I was back in connection with my fellow humans.
Our human struggles and the demons we wrestle with are universal, even though they may look different on the surface. We get triggered, addicted, distracted, stuck. We fall short, miss the mark, make mistakes. It is the human condition.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that when we stop blaming others and making them wrong and instead take an honest look at ourselves and our reactions, we become empowered. Because the one and only person we can change is you-know-who. When we shift the way we look at something, new possibilities can come to light. We can find a better way to hold a situation so we can see expanded possibilities and take some kind of positive action.
Opportunities for Caring
If we explore a little deeper, we’ll likely find that underneath our anger, indignation, and judgment is some kind of caring. The light of love, kindness, and compassion wants to shine forth, but the ego tends to obstruct it when things aren’t the way it thinks they should be.
The caring in me resonated with ideas such as putting a small sign at the spot on the river inviting people to enjoy it and to remember to carry out their trash. Maybe leaving a box of bags in case they didn’t think to bring their own. Or putting on some gloves and cleaning up the spot myself. We can see an opportunity to be of service and shine our light instead of another opportunity to disconnect our hearts. Instead of just photographing and griping, I can bring a bag and be part of a solution. I can share my images and ideas and be part of a productive dialogue.
The great news is that before I had a chance to do that, someone else had come along and cleaned it up! Another caring heart.
I’ve paddled by the littered spot on the river many times since and started reflecting on how it is connected with the other things we find unacceptable in our world, in our lives, and in ourselves. Might they, too, be opportunities to shine more light and love?
I’m thinking of issues participants (mostly female) in my mindfulness meditation courses bring up – that often resonate with me, too. I find it so beautiful when one person voices something they’re struggling with and others reassure them that they understand and that they’re not alone. Which is the truth. So often, we feel alone in our struggles, as if nobody would understand. Or maybe (God forbid!) they’d judge us. But we’re never alone. Our struggles really aren’t that special!
For example, instead of seeing weight gain as moving in the wrong direction or being unacceptable, could it be an opportunity to love your body more, not only when it meets your expectations but also when it doesn’t? With practice and intention, might feelings of disappointment or disgust cue you to take a breath and beam love to the parts – of your body, your life, your world, your past – you deem unacceptable?
I often do this during self-Reiki and chakra work. It’s a beautiful practice, and it really is a practice that you do again and again. As your capacity for mindful awareness increases, those familiar feelings of shame can cue love, compassion, acceptance, and even appreciation! And the kind of love that inspires you to give your body/life/world what it most deeply thirsts for instead of what is merely habitual. Without beating yourself up – because you realize punishment is neither a necessary nor effective path to well-being.
Might anxiety or white coat syndrome be an opportunity to bring more love and kindness to yourself, and to be less judgmental? To listen to what your body is saying when it gets your attention through a sympathetic fight-or-flight response, instead of trying to whip it into submission? Instead of creating more tension and dissatisfaction through resistance?
Blame and disconnection.
“I’m right, and you’re wrong.
Regrets and mistakes of all kinds.
What do you see in a heap of garbage on the side of the road? When you look in the mirror? When you take in community and world news? When you communicate with someone who doesn’t see the world as you do?
Can we learn to hold what we repel in a different, more spacious way so new, more empowering and caring possibilities can arise? Can we include them in our circle of lovingkindness so they can awaken our natural wisdom and compassion instead of keeping us rigid and stuck?
Yes, we can. Held the right way, the demons we wrestle become allies that help us to evolve. To love better.
© 2020 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and SusanTaraMeyer.com. Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.
by susantara | Aug 19, 2019 | Mindfulness, Spiritual Journey |
I’m walking the labyrinth this morning and noticing dewdrops on blades of grass as they catch the light of the rising sun. Patches of dewdrops are visible only from certain angles. Otherwise, they are present but unseen. It’s an interplay that depends on where you and the object are in relation to each other and to the sun. Timing is also a factor because of the dewdrops’ transitory nature.
I recognized this immediately as my daily metaphor. Nature is a mirror that helps me to make more sense of the ambitious curriculum of Schoolroom Earth.
I can tell the labyrinth received some TLC recently, probably yesterday. It was neat and tidy and perfect for walking. Feeling appreciative, I stood at the end of the willow branch threshold and didn’t step into the labyrinth until I arrived fully in the space and could feel my feet on the ground, hear the sounds, and feel the breeze on my skin. Ground, sound, around.
As I walk, I notice the shadow pictures on the recycled slate steps of the labyrinth and think of all the different images that went unnoticed until I looked in a new way, and they became visible. Then I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed them before.
Isn’t that just how it works, though? You’re blind to certain realities until you’re in the right place and ready to see them. Visually and otherwise. Even when they are right there in front of you and had been all along.
All of a sudden, in one moment, breath, or footstep, it seems so obvious, and you can’t unsee the thing. I remember the day I first noticed the shadow pictures. It was like a new world opened up, and from then on, they were plain as day. Then I started noticing other kinds of shadow pictures. It was a new, expanded way of perceiving the world.
Sometimes other people can help us open our eyes. For example, one of my photographer friends shared a picture of geese floating on colorful, autumn reflections. Her image spoke to me and planted the seed of longing to notice and photograph the interaction of birds and reflections. Sharing her perspective made me aware of a new possibility.
Shadow pictures, others, self: It’s all the same. When the blinders finally come off, you see (and then can’t unsee) things that previously passed under the radar. We evolve by becoming aware of blind spots and expanding our field of vision and awareness. Sometimes it happens when there is a pressing need and we’re actively seeking a new perspective, and sometimes it happens when everything lines up just right. And when it does, there’s no value in regretting that you hadn’t seen it sooner. For whatever reason, you weren’t ready.
Just be glad you finally did, and go on from there.
© 2019 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this article, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, Reiki practitioner, and mindfulness meditation teacher whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.
by susantara | Aug 17, 2015 | Spiritual Journey |
More days than not, I end up capturing upwards of 200 images that inspire, delight, or speak to me in some way. Every now and then, however, I find myself transfixed by an image. It’s rarely the most aesthetically pleasing shot. Usually, there’s just something about it that has some pull on me and sparks an inner recognition of some sort. So I sit with the image and contemplate what it has to say and what feelings or thoughts it evokes, and then consider how the insights that arise might be relevant to my life.
Yesterday, on the spur of the moment, I spent the afternoon at the New England Peace Pagoda in Western Massachusetts. I hadn’t heard of it prior to yesterday morning but felt immediately compelled to visit. Apparently, it is one of only four peace pagodas in the United States.
One detail I was thrilled to find on the grounds was a pond with both white and pink water lilies. I have been longing to see pink water lilies! I took many pictures of the pond, with countless prayer flags flapping overhead.
Here is the image I have been sitting with today:
The way the water lily is illuminated with sunlight seems so ethereal, and the colorful reflection of the prayer flags adds to the overall impact.
The flower is enchanting.
But it’s not real. It is an illusion. A reflection.
I rotated the image so it’s upside down.
I think of how skewed the reflections are when the water is rippled or turbulent. If we can allow our mind to settle until it becomes like still water, we can perceive with greater clarity.
But another way to read the water lily image is to consider how we project stuff (thoughts, beliefs, desires, fears, etc.) onto reality and then mistake the projections for reality. We add our own inner content and conditioning to the bare “is-ness” of the moment and fall under the spell of our own projections.
In other words, the thoughts we think, the sights we see, the conclusions we draw, and the beliefs and opinions we hold are products of our perception of reality, not reality itself.
Oh, how we complicate reality! The image reminds me to return to bare presence and keep the mental commentary in check. Become aware of it. Allow it to settle and become still, quiet. Don’t believe all the thoughts you think!
When I showed my teenage son this image and asked him if he thought it looked real, he said yes – at first. But he had seen the original (non-rotated) image last night and explained that there are certain clues you can key in on and realize it doesn’t quite make sense when it’s turned upside-down. For instance, the flower appears to be floating.
And that adds another layer of meaning – a reminder to pay close attention to details that suggest that what you are perceiving to be real isn’t so. Avoid the temptation to pull the wool over your eyes and believe in the illusion simply because it’s so alluring, and you want to believe it’s real.
Anyhow, those are some thoughts that came to mind when I sat with and “read” the water lily photo. It’s an interesting exercise to try with a photo or painting that reaches out and invites you to lean in and go deeper.
© 2015 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.