It can only be what it is...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photography and life's impermanence

Where I work ( a Veteran's Hospital in Canada) I have recently been given the opportunity to retake all of the residents' photos.
In and of itself, I enjoy doing this kind of work. I had studied photography in college, and it's still a hobby of mine.
What I am finding however is quite different from what I expected. We have a couple hundred men and some women( Nurses from WWII and Korea) that are suffering from Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. They often are combative with the nurses and orderlies,and over and over again the staff bemoans how some residents will just not pose for a photo or be cooperative.
The administration wanted me to have a backdrop and have the camera mounted on a tripod , schedule appointments and it just seemed overly stuffy and not inviting.
I booked a room for a couple of hours, and simply sat on a chair in the room where I was taking the pictures and just spoke to them, with respect and compassion and took some of the best pictures I could. A few just wandered in on their own, some came willingly with family members and some were downright difficult.
Some of the toughest customers I had , have managed to be the best pictures yet once the ice was broken.
I would like to make these photos available to the families as they have managed to capture a glimmer of what once was.
A shadow perhaps of their former self, the confidence, seems to show up even if for just a fleeting moment.
Life's impermanence certainly seems all to vivid to me today.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quote from Charlotte Joko Beck

"Life always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every misfortune,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction,
every piece of garbage,
every breath.
Every moment is the guru.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We already are what we seek to become

How about that for a concept. Roll it around, try it on for size, see if you like it.

At first thought , when I heard this verse, I thought well, if that's the case , I want nirvana,...but when I opened my eyes , still me just sitting here, nothing changed.
Not one to quit easily I continued to think about how could this be true. Where's the proof.
Certainly we have the potential(Buddha-Nature) to acheive nirvana at some point. One can also have the intention as well, and perhaps there is the rub.
If one has intention, does it mean it will happen ?
Belief in something has been known to affect people in a positive way, can the power of intention yield results ?
If I want to be a peaceful person, and I believe that I am, and my intention is such, will it truly make me peaceful, when looking for the elusive parking spot at the mall , only to have someone snatch it out from under me !
Or is it that intention, is like choosing to water the seeds of awareness, rather than ignorance.
Is the power of intention just being present and choosing what seeds to nurture ? So that in that way we are already what we are seeking ?
Let me know if I am barking up the wrong tree,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Resisting the change

Being comfortable with what not easy
When watching Star Trek I 've always loved the mantra of the Borg, "resistance is futile".
The fact is change is the only constant in the universe and yes resistance is futile...
I suppose it's only natural to bristle at change, and myself , I do too.
We really want things to remain the same , and yet all around us are constant reminders that things change, every minute and every second.
Our mind's construct for what is our reality , what we take for granted as constant and non-changing is circumstantial at best and due to our attachments they cloud and tint the situation like rose-coloured glasses.
Recently I  read a very erudite paper on physics, string theory and theoretical physics and I really like this Einstein quote :
"As far as mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality"
We try very hard to describe our natual world, and while we are good at it, as far as what we can see and perceive but we shouldn't confuse what we can decribe with what we can understand.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Befriend Solitude

Learning to handle the many moods
and activities of life
requires solitude

Do not let the demands of an overly active world rob your children of their peace.
Constant stimulation without balance of quietness creates chaos.

The child who early befriends solitude becomes one with all that is and inherits everything.
The Parents Tao Te Ching