We call it distortion and preserve our faith in the validity of our mental image. Often we are right to do so, for the camera records so many unintelligent, insignificant, and circumstantial kinds of truth. Sometimes, however, we can learn from photographs that things were not as we thought they were.
We think that the earth is the earth and we are something outside of the earth. But in fact we are inside of the earth. Imagine that the earth is the tree and we are a leaf. The earth is not the environment, something outside of us that we need to care for. The earth is us. Just as your parents, ancestors, and teachers are inside you, the earth is in you. Taking care of the earth, we take care of ourselves.
When we see that the earth is not just the environment, that the earth is in us, at that moment you can have real communion with the earth. But if we see the earth as only the environment, with ourselves in the center, then we only want to do something for the earth in order for us to survive. But it is not enough to take care of the earth. That is a dualistic way of seeing.
We have to practice looking at our planet not just as matter, but as a living and sentient being. The universe, the sun, and the stars have contributed many elements to the earth, and when we look into the earth we see that it’s a very beautiful flower containing the presence of the whole universe. When we look into our own bodily formation, we are made of the same elements as the planet. It has made us. The earth and the universe are inside of us.
“About twelve years ago, I met a homeless woman who identified herself as a sundowner. She described how each evening’s sun invited her to settle down along the side of her life’s path so that her journey could begin afresh in the morning sun. She eloquently described an undercurrent of yearning that ebbed and flowed throughout her soul and how, in her past days, she found herself at the mercy of private memories, thoughts, and imaginations and had encountered, time and time again, various degree of discontent despite the seemingly fulfilling qualities of her life.
As I hear the suffering within women who story their lives through the multi-colored threads of substance use, I find myself acknowledging a similarity within each of these unique stories with my own metaphysical search for someone, something, or some place that remains beyond the forever next horizon.Each of our unique narratives reveal an unending wandering with satchels of discontent that tell of a spiritual emptiness and an emotional intimacy with a homesickness for a place one knows cannot be.”
~B Catherine Koeford (A Meditative Journey with Saldage)
Although we think the past is gone and the future is not yet here, if we look deeply we see that reality is more than that. The past exists in the guise of the present because the present is made from the past. In this teaching, if we establish ourselves firmly in the present and touch the present moment deeply, we also touch the past and have the power to repair it. That is a wonderful teaching and practice. We don’t have to bear our wound forever. We are all unmindful at times; we have made mistakes in the past. It does not mean that we have to always carry that guilt without transforming it. Touch the present deeply and you touch the past. Take care of the present and you can repair the past. The practice of beginning anew is a practice of the mind. Once you realize what mistake you made in the past, you are determined never to do it again. Then the wound is healed. It is a wonderful practice.
It is said that an education is a 1000-year worth thing. But a learning institute responsible for that education has forgotten its role already and children are becoming tired each day with the violence and irrationalities inside.
Your Highness, please settle this educational environment that has taken a wrong path and restrengthen the foundation of the nation.
Choose one subject, anything will do — your own house, or the house opposite, or the next house — and in place of a tripod, drive a stake into the ground, nail a board on top of this, and make a screw hole in the board for the screw of your camera . . . Photograph your subject at every hour of the day, on fine days, and at intervals on dull days, photograph it after it has been rained on for weeks, and after it has been sun-dried for months.
~Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (cited: The Aperture History of Photography Series)