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The Practice of Contemplative Photography

May 24, 2011

Below is an excerpt from a new book by Andy Karr and Michael Wood, The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes. See below for details on how to win a copy.

Today, it is raining.

On a day like this you might see red, yellow, or green traffic lights reflected on wet pavement. You might see raindrops running down a windowpane or hanging from a railing or overhead wire. You might see two people walking under a bright green umbrella. You might see a dull gray sky or a wet red truck. Inside, there will be soft shadows and muted colors. You might even look through the drops on a window and see the landscape distorted by odd-shaped raindrop lenses.

When the sun comes out, you might see patterns of light coming through the venetian blinds. You might see the complex shadows of trees or bright green leaves against a darker foliage. You might see the shapes of someone's eyes in profile, or the texture of the fabric of the clothing on your leg. You might look up at a bright sky with high, wispy clouds or notice clumps of light reflected by the windows of an office building onto light gray streets. You might observe a dog sitting on the carpet, half in bright sunlight and half in deep shadow.

At dusk the light changes again, and you might see white buildings become orange or pink. As it gets dark, the same buildings might become gray. The sky, too, will change its appearance. If you awake in the middle of the night, the walls and furniture will be monochromatic, illuminated by the moon or a streetlight.

The possibilities of perception are limitless, and clear seeing is joyful.

from The Practice of Contemplative Photography, by Andy Karr and Michael Wood, page 1, published by Shambhala Publications.

Ocean of Dharma and Shambhala Publications are giving away three copies of The Practice of Contemplative Photography. For a chance to win, leave a comment below telling us about a time when you experienced clear seeing. The contest will close on Tuesday, May 31, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Congratulations to Barb, Len, and Scott! They each won a copy of the book for their comments. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share experiences of clear-seeing! Your comments were refreshing and inspiring to read. Stay tuned for more contests and giveaways.


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110 Responses to The Practice of Contemplative Photography

  • Patrick Connell says:

    having been a photographer in one form or another since the 1970's I often feel that I catch little things that others may pass by without notice. Often my best photographs will not make any sense to viewers unless they look long enough to simply a miraculous moment.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:40 am

  • Janie Walker says:

    One moment I experienced clear seeing was last yer when I had my niece and nephew staying with me. They were in the hallway, with the sun behind them, and my color plastic fly screen strips in the background where throwing some beautiful light. I asked them to move in a certain way and took the photo. I looked at the photo later and realised that while it was a stunning photo in terms of light, shadow etc. my niece and newphew looked a bit awkward. They are very creative kids and here I was telling them how to move. My heart gave a twang. Since then I've taken many an amazing photo of them, just letting them be themselves, and best of all, they have a fantastic time doing it. If I WIN, I'm happy to pay for postage, as I live in New Zealand.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

  • Jim Dunn says:

    clear seeing is something I occasionally experience quite briefly while not seeking it. It seems to simply arise & then I'm back to my ordinary seeing

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:44 am

  • Mike Mulhern says:

    My most vivid example of clear seeing was when I was hiking in the North Cascades mountains on a journey to spread my wife's ashes after her untimely death. I was very concerned whether the spot I had chosen was the right one, whether this was the right time, etc. As I came around a bend close to the spot I had selected, I suddenly knew that this was the right place and the right time. After scattering her ashes, I took some wonderful (and very meaningful) photographs. Clear seeing, indeed.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:47 am

  • Judy O'Brien says:

    Macro photography makes me look at things with fresh eyes. Instead of a dandelion I see an explosion of yellow petals; instad of a tree trunk a maze of canyons and ridges. It makes me "see" that its all a matter of perspective.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

  • Richtje Faber says:

    during my sunday-morning-walks on the beach i often have very special moments. after some time of arriving in time and place often the world opens up and makes me see and experience thich way. I see little shells that lie in a special patern,sand and water show special paterns, the light is a particular color or strikes certain objects. always different, always very rich and special.
    One morning I walked and the sea was flat, the sun still very low and just hitting the see a few meters from the beach. The water was very high. I lay down and had my eyes at sealevel. There was no distinction between water and sky. the light hit some seagulls in the distance; everything grey, the birds silvery and beaming light. a black bird that was hunting for fish passed by; swimming, focussed energy, diving and appearing meters further, swimming a few meters and diving again...all it did was hunting....

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

  • Terri Ellen Pease says:

    In Hawaii this past year, standing in the rain, in a quiet lush tropical garden, I looked up to see the fronds of a tall palm. Like the umbrella that the heavy rains called for, the tree's branches formed radiating spokes, perfect concentric rings. The sun filtered through, despite the rain. The resulting photograph was my most prized souvenir - a way to remember clearly seeing the gifts that surround us always.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  • cesar says:

    glimpses of clear seeing have come when there has been sense losing the distinction of who is observing/perceiving, who?

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

  • Richtje Faber says:

    One morning I walked at the beach and the sea was flat, the sun still very low and just hitting the see a few meters from the beach. The water was very high. I lay down and had my eyes at sealevel. There was no distinction between water and sky. the light hit some seagulls in the distance; everything grey, the birds silvery and beaming light. A cormorant, hunting for fish passed by; swimming, focussed energy, diving and appearing meters further, swimming a few meters and diving again…so intense, it seemed the only thig that moved….

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  • Jamie Throgmorton says:

    During an extended 10-day meditation retreat, by about the fifth day I felt like I was floating, my body was a loose collection of small points of light or matter, I could register bird scratchings from nearby bushes, I could perceive a ray of sunshine merging with a particular tiny spot on my right cheek. I was told later that a smile never left my face during those next 5 days. I can see immediately into that space now with simply a small shift in my everyday perspective. I feel that I have seen everything much more clearly, and simply, ever since that time.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm

  • Michelle McDonald says:

    During a short spell of having the blues and being sad, my mom suggested I do some volunteer work. I didn't quite understand... but I happen to see a flier in a dusty community center window soon after her suggestion. I made a call and was soon teaching guitar to some kids. Needless to say, the blues went away immediately.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  • dave says:

    I see clearly when I remove pre-conceived notions of good or bad photos and see with inner eyes, many successful images have been created this way.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

  • Daniella says:

    At 2 o'clock am weird noises coming from the other side of the wall woke me up. My house is neighbouring a floor wood shop and there were little chances that the owner comes to the shop before dawn to open the commerce, so those could ony be burglars. The cat jumped from his basket (normally he sleeps peacefully even during th day when he hears human steps on the other side of the wall). Paralysed, could not decide what to do, and went with the flow. I managed to have an awkward conection with the person on the other side. I could see his fear, it was had the shape of an old fat black cat we had many years ago. I knew he could feel me, and I stopped breathing. After one minute or something that fel like that, I could see what was happening on the other side of the wall. The guy did not know the geography of the place and badly hurt his arm. Too afraid to make a sound, I could clearly see his face crumpled. Next day the owner told me that yes, there were burglars and yes, they found a trace of blood on the wall.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

  • Richard F. LaPine says:

    “Clear seeing” can be achieved by combining sensitivity and awareness.. It is a "blink of time and space" that can be developed; but, lost just as quickly, if the commonplace becomes our environment of choice. A photographic opportunity is there ... then, gone in an instant. Treasure where you are … a "portrait in time" awaits if seen and acted upon clearly.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

  • Erika says:

    I laid in the back of the ambulance,
    the snow of too many doses of ativan dissolving on my tongue.
    They hadn't even cared enough about me
    to put someone in the back with me,
    and so, frustrated,
    I'd swallowed all the pills I had with me—
    not enough to do what I wanted it to right then,
    but more than enough to knock me out for a good 14 hours.
    I remember very little after that;
    benzodiazepines like ativan commonly cause pre- and post-amnesia, says Google helpfully

    I wake up in a locked room
    a woman manically drawing on the windows with crayons
    the colors of light through the glass
    diffused into rainbows of joy scattered about the room
    as if she were coloring on us all,
    all of the tattered remnants of humanity in a psych ward
    made into a brittle mosaic, a quilt of many hues, a Technicolor dreamcoat
    and I thought
    I am so glad to be able to see this.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm

  • Stephanie says:

    Clear seeing is when I surrender. Open to all possibilities, not thinking, not knowing, all is revealed. A moment in time. Breath in, breath out. All I see is what is there, and has been, all along.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

  • Sylvia Malkah says:

    Slowly,like looking from one side, I am starting to see clearly the web in which I have been immersed.
    It is formed by my fears, attachments, phantasies.
    I pray to have the courage to become human.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

  • Eileen Donahoe says:

    As a fairly new photographer, I went out one evening hoping to take a photo of vineyards on a hillside. All of a sudden, through my lens I saw the seedpod of queen anne's lace with all its little stripes and its little coloured seeds, floating in a sea of green. I was struck by amazement and realized with a startle that I have walked by thousands of these but never truly stopped to look before. I just snapped the photo. I like this so much better than the pictures I planned to take. I recall that moment so vividly and think I always will.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

  • Karl says:

    Usually it happens when thought is not present. It is pure perception without the influence of thought. You see something and it has it's own quality of beauty. Only later comes thought and conceptualizes, but before that, there is that timeless space where things look differently.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

  • Len M. Pope says:

    Around Sept. 16-18 or so, 1984. Driving through Utah. Newly married. Maybe late afternoon. A rainstorm off to the left (east?) I still have a photograph of this - this was in the days before digital, so the negative is in my archives but the print's still around. I remember this so clearly - the dark, angry sky and the calm land beneath, all so crystal clear...it was as if I was seeing the earth and the sky, and their relation to each other, for the first time.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm

  • Joey Johannsen says:

    I see light streaming
    through blue patterned window blinds.
    Tulips bloom outside.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm

  • Joey Johannsen says:

    I see light streaming
    patterns through blue window blinds.
    Tulips bloom outside.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

  • Susan says:

    On the Oregon coast, I hiked and photographed along the same trail, the same year, five months apart. The first time was in February and it was a very dark, emotional hike...the last hike with my partner of 19 years; and a trail that I never wanted to go on again despite the panoramic views. In July, my neighbor invited me on a Shambala coastal hike. The group car pooled to the Oregon coast and to my surprise we arrived at the same trail head for our contemplative hike. We hiked in silence and focused on each of the five senses which helped me see more clearly. In contrast to the first hike, the second hike was a beautiful, peaceful experience.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  • Dhyanne Green says:

    Sixteen and a half years ago I, with family and friends, was at the airport to say 'goodbye' to my eldest son as he left for his overseas adventure. I had already taken many photographs and was still taking photographs as he walked through the gate, before he gone from our vision.

    As I clicked this one particular photograph, I knew unequivocally that would be last time I would ever see him alive again, that I had captured the essence of the 'man'.

    Eighteen months later, doing what made his heart sing, he was killed, by an avalanche, while snowboarding in Austria.

    Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm

  • Elisabeth Gold says:

    studying Miksang contemplative photography with Michael Wood, looking at an object in the dockyards for an extended time, seeing more and more colors and beauty in a seemingly dull wall

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 3:29 am

  • Kim Koei says:

    clear seeing happened and there was no longer an I, or anything being seen.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 3:31 am

  • Zsolt says:

    When seeing clear no need to interpret: all IS itself.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 3:47 am

  • Susan Szpakowski says:

    I remember going for many long walks with Michael Wood in Toronto parks, looking, seeing, taking photographs. Often it was about a moment of light or color or texture. Sometimes he would take one subject and explore it over time. The knees of ducks and seagulls. The place where the curve of the seagull belly meets the legs. And then tulips. That indescribable place where the stem meets the under-bowl of the petals. Sensual, humorous, intriguing...often all at once. This opened a door for me to the beauty of everyday perception, and to the mind that stays, explores, goes further, without any agenda beyond pure delight.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 4:54 am

  • Sarah Rohrs says:

    Walking home alone from the train station one winter night I was snapping shots on my Olympus camera fascinated by rain rivulets running down the cement foundations, and the way blowing leaves shone with moisture. I stood under the shelter of the train tracks and watched the rain and tried to get shots of the straight lines of falling water. I had just snapped a bunch of photos of slick tree branches and water barreling through an aqueduct when I felt something tugging on my coat. I turned and looked into the face of a young Hispanic man who had snuck up behind me intent to rob me. I didn't see him or hear him so focused I was on my photo-taking. I reached into my purse and gave him wallet still clutching my camera. He demanded my whole purse but I said no. He yanked my camera out of my hands and took off running. I was too afraid to turn and watch him so I kept my eyes straight ahead as I walked home.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 4:57 am

  • James Walsh says:

    Going to the neighborhood sandwich shop and watching the ingredients combine on the grill, the people waiting in line, the people joking and grilling. All so simple and beautiful.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 6:03 am

  • Barb Cortland says:

    Standing in my kitchen, sensing the presence of my daughters as they work on homework in their bedrooms, experiencing the gentle, soulful sweetness of connection.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 6:10 am

  • Chris Carruthers says:

    Studying visual arts at Victoria College of Art a decade ago I was relieved to finally awaken from the murkiness of "Looking through a Glass Onion" as John Lennon sang. I became increasingly absorbed by the intricacies of natural and non-conceptual and unbiased phenomenon simply by stopping to "see" the infinite intricacies of the play of light and shadow. The Zen of seeing takes diligence and practice but becomes an exquisite aid to artistic good fortune.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 6:24 am

  • Scott Passin says:

    The times I see clearly, are when I practice nowness awareness, just being with what is, living this moment-only moment, realizing that things are perfect just as they are, open eyes, ears, mouth, being with the breath. Right now, in this moment, I am with the breath, I see a tree out the window, I see the breeze subtly moving the leaves, I feel the breath again, with no judgement, with equanimity - seeing clearly.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 7:15 am

  • Alice Haspray says:

    Last night thunder woke me up. I looked out the window inn the dark--over the water of the Northumberland Strait. A raft of shimmering light floated far across the water. A cruise ship in the night. Beautiful. Perfect.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

  • Doug Axelrod says:

    "Clear" just eludes me.
    "Seeing" too, is in question.
    So I need this book.

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 8:38 am

  • Steve Blake says:

    Nepal
    11,000 feet
    getting dark
    snow flakes begin to fall
    trekking alone
    silence

    Posted on May 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

  • Bruce Pasha says:

    After an interview with Trungpa Rinpoche, I left The House(Tail of the Tiger at the time) to go to my car. It was a cold winter night and starting to snow, but everything I saw was extremely sharp an precise. I could see each branch each tree beyond the field very clearly as well as each snowflake as it came down. The experience did not last long but it imprinted on my mind what clear seeing means especially since in the the interview, Rinpoche and I had talked about "seeing things as they are".

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 4:00 am

  • Carol Martin says:

    I took a picture of the sunset on 12/31/1999 as the new millenium was about to begin. It was not until the film was developed that I saw I had captured a swan directly in the rays of the setting sun on the water as it sank below the horizon. I was not aware of the swan at all. It taught me how much I miss by not seeing and appreciating what is right in front of me.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 4:34 am

  • Jon Leland says:

    I experienced clear seeing looking out my airplane window as we approached San Francisco from Europe, and it was a beautiful day. The Bay and the Golden Gate sparkled in welcoming. My inner being sighed with the glory of homeness and sunshine. The window frame provided a momentary showcase for my gratitude.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 4:41 am

  • Nick Saunders says:

    I experienced clear seeing, while taking a noon time walk around the field by the pond behind my office. I was raising windhorse and stopped to watch a 6-point buck bound out of the underbrush. He lept 3 times and was across a 50 yard expanse and disappeared into the nearby woods. I remain in awe of the majesty of the present moment.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 6:30 am

  • Catalina says:

    I have always a camera with me and even when not I watch things, situations, etc. with a photographic eye.

    clear sight to me is when "I'm here and now" and it is true that paying attention to colours, forms, composition, etc, helps...sometimes :)

    Thanks for the opportunity! Has to be a great book!

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 6:38 am

  • Dean Janoff says:

    Clear seeing seems to always be there when subconscious gossip subsides and conceptual mind stops looking... ;-)

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 7:08 am

  • Maria Pitsiu says:

    One moment the word was ordinary. The next I could see the dance of the molecules, atoms, particles, their orbits interlaced, not realy matter, just movement, energy, light. No centre or periphery, no separatenes, no self or other, only dancing.
    I was 12, reading my first book on quantom physics. I was not scared, only grateful

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

  • Jim says:

    Many years ago I sat on a deserted beach in New Jersey watching the full moon rise over the Atlantic Ocean. As the moon climbed higher in the sky I suddenly -- quite suddenly -- saw the situation exactly as it was. I saw the moon as a ball, not as a flat disc, hanging out there in space, and myself, perched on the edge of another spinning ball, as if I were going over the top of a ferris wheel as the Earth turned eastward. It was dizzying. The movement of the moon, the earth and me sitting there became utterly clear. That experience forever changed the way I see the sky.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 8:27 am

  • Jacquie Bell says:

    For me, unexpectedly seeing a rainbow is an example of clear seeing. For a moment, there is no separation between the experiencer and the experience.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 8:45 am

  • Gary Kellam says:

    'Clear Seeing' has happened when I've encountered situations for which I have no previous frame of reference and it has also happened when I just take the time to quiet mind. The best, however, is when it happens simultaneously to more than just 'me', and there have been notable occasions over the years.

    One time that often pops up in memory, occurred in 1988 at Seminary at (then) RMDC:

    During summer, a warm wind could often keep the night quite balmy. I awoke in the middle of such a night and got up to look outside my tent. When I came outside, everything was brightly lit by a full moon, including the ghostly figure of a young woman in a white nightgown coming down the mountain path.

    Just as she reached a fork in the path, a full-grown deer came out of the woods and walked right up to her. It leaned full flank against her, knocking her off balance for a moment and almost knocking her over with its solidity and weight. She just stood there, her hands held up and away from the deer, making fluttery motions toward it, then withdrawing again.

    Finally, she put her hands on the deer, stroking its neck and back very gently. The deer lifted its head and rubbed against her shoulder and breast for a moment, then moved away back into the trees.

    She just stood there, as if feeling the imprint of it in her body and on her hands; her face lit up with joy and wonder.

    I often saw her the next few days: she was always smiling, and her hands were always reaching out to touch people.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

  • Odessa says:

    Ive had a lot of joy contemplating the beauty of fleeting Alaskan summers. Returning to Fairbanks one sunny summer morning our Alaska Airlines pilot gave us breathtaking views as we circled the very top of Denali peak...from my window seat I regretted not capturing the moment with a photographic image.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 9:01 am

  • George says:

    Rocky Mountain tent stake, rope fibers: vivid, direct, non-conceptual

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

  • Ruth Luketic says:

    The tornados that came through Birmingham Al a few weeks ago had countless moments of clear seeing. It was amazing to see something so large and desctructive moving through the north part of the city. It just made one stop and be in the moment.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

  • Dekyong Lhamo says:

    The moment I experienced clear seeing was on a meditation cushion when it became clear that there was no I. Everything that arises is fresh and has no reference point and so letting go is true seeing. Non-dual.Inseparable. Not different.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

  • Lisa says:

    How wonderful! Even the opportunity to ponder this question is quite joyful. I experienced a beautiful moment of clear seeing just this past weekend while enjoying time in a state park with my family.

    A breeze blew along the waters before us and illuminated the folds that were previously unseen. The entire scene, from fluid water to jagged pine trees became an engulfing panorama of which I was part - not just watching, but part of. To see in this way is such a blessing.

    (I took in moments surrounding this with my camera, but that one was meant just for my soul.)

    I'm honored to have a chance to win this beautiful book!!

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

  • Ted says:

    this looks like a great read!!!

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

  • Pegge Bernecker Erkeneff says:

    Clear seeing in Alaska

    Stillness reigns magic
    Sunbeams shelter moose at rest
    I breathe in, again

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

  • Liz Fukushima says:

    Each moment fresh, clear, and free of constructs.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

  • Jenny Ann Rydberg says:

    Healing through the eyes...

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

  • BuddhaFrog says:

    Sunlight and shadow
    form crosses on wooden floors
    lazy cat stretches
    front paws toward the windowsill
    cat and shadow flick their tails

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:45 am

  • Alan Stacy says:

    The photographer with a "zen eye" has a unique ability to capture the subtle beauty all around us by focusing on the barely-seen, the nearly-invisible, and the quickly-bypassed. Like these fine artists, John Daido Loori Roshi was a photographer who turned his meditative eye on the subtle interconnections between observer and observed: "During the creative process our attention is captured by the chi of the subject and a resonance ebbs and flows between observer and subject." Keep your eye like a lens, recording the marvelous interconnections between self and world. Become the observer and the observed.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:56 am

  • Anne H. says:

    When I see something wonderful and I don't have my camera with me, I am reminded to just stop and enjoy it's fleeting beauty this very moment.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

  • Thomas says:

    Also ganz klar: Her mit dem Buch! Die Sache hat mich schon damals interessiert, als wir Friedrich einen Kurs in Amsterdam zum 50. Geburtstag schenkten. Und dann hat er mit dem Geld Kartoffeln gekauft oder Kanninchen oder irgend etwas anderes mit K. Egal, es ist auch schon lange her und inzwischen bin ich fünfzig. Oder sechzig? Dreiundzwanzig? Einmal im Leben noch ein gutes Buch lesen. Mit Bildern drinne? Ja, das wäre was. Also siehe oben: Her damit, und zwar dalli!
    Gruß aus HH Thomas

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

  • Nikos Leverenz says:

    A nameless wet evening last winter.

    I took to the road in the nighttime rain headed toward a destination now forgotten, with wipers at one-quarter speed. Approaching the main street, traffic from both directions prompted a prolonged stop before a left turn toward the city.

    Flashes of orange yellow light from the pavement struck my closed, rain-streaked driver's side window and brought my gaze to the pavement below.

    Raindrops kneaded and broke the bright circular reflection of the streetlight above on the black puddle below, with charged squiggles of radiance emanating from the center toward an unseen periphery.

    Light works!

    With no vehicle in wait behind, I stopped for a half-minute and delighted in the tender confluence of water, light, and earth before me. But the unknown destination called. The black tires beneath rolled forward, prompted by the weight of my right foot producing its own fires beneath the grey steel canopy before me.

    Equally vivid the next morning: the drops ceased their patter, the streetlight slept, broken clouds drifted eastward toward the Sierra Nevadas, and yesterday's incandescent puddle disappeared.

    No trace, except the lingering impression of direct experience. Even this crude memorial of word-pixels shall ultimately vanish.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

  • Holly A says:

    One moment of disturbing clarity for me was when I witnessed flying debris, ashes, and bits of papers wafting ominously in the air as I walked down a deserted Times Square on the evening of September 11, 2001.
    I had finally mustered the courage to leave the office building where I had been working. I just kept walking and walking, one foot in front of the other, feeling many emotions, yet just BEING in the mayhem.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm

  • erik blagsvedt says:

    cosmic mirror.

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

  • Carol says:

    I walked outside from a rough day at work and saw the sun back lighting a violet iris in the garden, the rest of the garden was in shadow. I took my camera, staying present, and captured the moment.
    I enjoy trying to predict how the camera will capture the image. When I predict the image, it is satisfying, and, if not, then it is still enjoyable and a learning experience to see what I missed. Thank goodness for digital!

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  • marymargaret says:

    the eyes of my digital camera see what my bodyeyes do not

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

  • emmymaie says:

    any time i get a chance to gaze upon a wide open view, of any kind, if find that the "i" disappears leaving the eyes through which the world can see its own amazing breadth and beauty...

    Posted on May 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

  • thomas says:

    taking a photo is always contemplative, e.g. an individual view of time and subject/object, if you dont happen to take a picture by mistake .

    thomas

    Posted on May 27, 2011 at 1:07 am

  • Valerie Morvan says:

    I had just finished at Dathun at SMC. The black orioki tables had been stacked in the sun. As I wiped the black table with a damp white cloth, I saw individual micro droplets of water rise off its surface in a thin veil of steam.

    Posted on May 27, 2011 at 5:21 am

  • marion says:

    I wanted to say thank you, it was just great reading through this page and seeing the beautiful images.

    Posted on May 27, 2011 at 5:57 am

  • DalaLuz says:

    Seeing clearly is so easy when my teacher teaches... Just a few weeks ago I attended a weekend retreat and within half-a-day I began to see everything so clear, all my (pretty heavy) issues I had been struggling with for months just dissolved, because I all of a sudden recognized their illusory and interdependent existence. I felt so liberated! Of course it is a big bummer when the forces of habit and confusion begin to wear down that clarity all too soon, but at least I know it is possible.

    Posted on May 27, 2011 at 11:54 am

  • Marcia says:

    I never noticed the infinite degree of colors on tree bark until this afternoon when after days of rain, fungus grew on the trunk of a maple tree. Most of the bark had growth in shades of yellow, orange, red, green and brown. The tree became nature's canvas.

    Posted on May 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  • Shala Blackburn says:

    Seeing clearly is clearly seeing..............

    Posted on May 30, 2011 at 5:26 am

  • Lizzy Cline says:

    I have been taking pictures, waiting patiently, for this course to come up in my area. I have already registered for the Vancouver course. Photography has been a big part of my life from about 1966, when I won my first camera by reading the most books in our school year. Photography has evolved and as it becomes more sophisticated, I can appreciate the clarity with which I am seeing subject / object and I know that what I see through the lens is just a minute bit of what is actually in the photo. There is an amazing world out there, waiting to be discovered......

    Posted on May 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  • Nancy Thompson says:

    I was waliking through the harbourside market in the capital city of New Zealand and walked past a tug boat moored at the dock. i saw the heavy rope that tied it to the shore - I saw all the fibres in the rope. it was as if the whole rope was vibrating with light - amazing photo as a result.

    Posted on May 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm

  • Eva Squire says:

    I was sitting in my car, overlooking my favourite beach. It was a beautiful, cloudless summer day and the sun was hitting the water at an angle. A breeze rippled through the water. It looked as though fish were holding mirrors up to the surface of the ocean because the water was lit up with thousands of sparkling, twinkling lights. I was struck by the image and felt, for a brief moment in time, that I had finally noticed something that I had failed to see before. I have never forgotten the image and can still see it in my minds eye.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 4:47 am

  • David Hykes says:

    I experience most strongly what I call photonal moments when I've completed a practice session and turn toward Mother Nature is a spirit of gratitude and devotion. Withinsight shines.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:36 am

  • Steve McGahee says:

    To see clearly, one must distinguish between the reality created by one's mind and the reality actually experienced by one's sense perceptions. The accurately perceived is free from memory association, like/dislike, and thoughts of future application.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:40 am

  • Stuart Bonnington says:

    As a young boy in early elementary school (we went to mid June), on one of those mid June days the windows would be open. I would notice a cool breeze touch my skin as it passed through the room. It would feel familiar, magical , unlike any other breeze. I fantasizes that I felt that particular breeze just once each year on it's journey around the world. It had a familiarity to it that was most satisfying on many levels.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:43 am

  • Berna Wang says:

    The night I met the angel and saw (I was staying in Pullahari Gompa, in Nepal, and my life was a mess):

    Angel saying obvious things

    An angel came and told me:
    “You’re falling asleep on your feet but you cannot sleep.”

    The night feels fresh —it smells of dark trees
    (the moon has not risen yet).

    “It’s cold but, wrapped up in the blanket,
    you feel your own body’s warmth”,
    the angel said.
    “Nothing goes well,
    but everything is OK.

    Everything is OK.”

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:44 am

  • Wake up Boston! » Blog Archive » Seeing’s Not Believing says:

    [...] the World with Fresh Eyes, a new book by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. To enter the contest, visit the editor’s blog and leave a comment at the bottom telling us about a time you experienced clear [...]

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

  • Niibwid Rob Curtner says:

    Once in 1977, while doing Tai Chi on some rocks at Pfeiffer Beach a whale looked me over from about 30-40 yards out. This event allowed me to see myself more clearly and to make some choices that led to greater freedom, goal orientation and self-reliance. I belonged right there, right then, became less or a guy doing Tai Chi and more of connected piece of slime on the rock.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

  • Marita Hollo says:

    One day during a summer dathun I was on break on the porch, with my eyes closed, breathing in some very humid air, enjoying the sun on my face & sounds of birds & a cat purring nearby. When I opened my eyes, thinking it was time to get back inside, I perceived EVERYTHING to be of a fresher, deeper colour, the hills seemed greener, the paved stones had detail I never noticed. The sky seemed so lovely & vast that I immediately understood the position of the earth in the solar system, & how the hierarchy of space, atmosphere & landscape worked. It was all so clear....but even with a camera I could not have photographed it. It was one of those perceptions & understandings only in my mind.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

  • Brooke Oland says:

    It seems to be every day as long as I'm not "thinking about things". While I work or just walking, beauty just leaps out of the background in visual form unbidden. Interplay of colour and shape. It is always everywhere, like an eternal sanity that makes me smile to "see" it :-)

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

  • Bob Del Tredici says:

    It was a dark and stormy night. I was heading for the Vermont border in my car. I missed a turn and was lost, driving angrily up and down back roads. Suddenly an explosion of life at my left -- I'd grazed a dun-colored deer in mid flight as it jumped out of the bushes in front of my car. For a single mid-air instant it fixed me with a penetrating, ancient, long-suffering brainy, eerie gaze that shook me to the core. That look has stayed with me. I did not get the shot.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

  • dk nordquist says:

    my friends call me the archivist because my camera is an extension of myself. they joke about it being my 3rd eye. I find that it is in catching those unexpected details, bare moments, unexpected visions that that tell the truest parts of a story, blink and it's gone. I have a picture of my grandsonplaying on a park structure. When I viewed it the shadows of the play bridge created jail like bars across his face and reminded me that we need to go play somewhere without the inherent boundaries determined by the structure itself, somewhere that imagination is the only limit.
    Best lesson ever.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

  • Anky says:

    contemplative perception
    shared by many
    how wonderful indeed
    on my waiting room table

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:13 am

  • Anky says:

    eh ma ho

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

  • Dan Keating says:

    I love watching the lilac buds gradually get larger and ready until one day, they pop open. And the come the hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

  • doug highfield says:

    the calm after the storm, light very yellow, that special green-ness of spring and a light mist over the meadow flowers. invigorating and intoxicating into clearness.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:28 am

  • Janie says:

    Going with the moment, going with some kind of instant recognizing that is feeling and faster or deeper than thinking that I didn't get hooked on and on a different level I just knew I had to record the images before me. Record as a photograph or record in my mind or try with a description--maybe there's a word--so fleeting the thing I saw/felt.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:47 am

  • Evan says:

    I have experience clear seeing most vividly during retreats. Ocasionally the sense of a seperate self seems to drop away and the world becomes very vivid, as if you had just taken off sunglasses for the first time in your life.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

  • Diane says:

    No labels. No concepts. Being is seeing clearly.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

  • Ro Hanus says:

    I'm not sure if I have ever really seen things "clearly". There is always the mind of my observing self and while I try to drop my egoic tendencies to interpretation, I sense that there is generally a lingering part of my nature that tweaks whatever I observe. No blame. Just my experience.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

  • Bruce says:

    When my apartment was broken into I came home to a different place. Every item in sharp detail, raw, simple, plain but also vibrant.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

  • Jennifer Taylor says:

    Digital cameras have allowed me to realize a feeling of freedom, in taking multiple shots.
    I've found my preconceived "best" shots are often not "the best".
    I realize I am both participant and observer of the moment; thus, seeing more clearly.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 11:13 am

  • Nicolaas Pol says:

    May 31st, 2011 at
    When I try to delineate, to construct my inner life, I remember (from time to time): this is not-me. If my outer life at the same time is also not-me, then who am I ? When I see clearly the two worlds in which I am so sadly astray, then I find suddently a certain freedom in a "third world". The question "how to see clearly" is obvious better than the blind asking "what to do".
    Thanks for your challenging contest !
    With kind regards,
    Nicolaas Pol, Varsseveld, The Netherlands

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

  • Kimberly Doyle says:

    I took a class with Lance Brunner of the Lexington Shambhala Center at the Asheville Shambhala Center. He gave us an exercise where we paired up. One person closed their eyes while the other led that person around. The leader would direct the person's head in a direction and say ok. That person would then open their eyes ever so briefly, a blink. It was an incredible experience of beauty, vividness, clarity and starkness. Even the garbage dump was beautiful and stunning. I had no time to think, react, or contemplate because we were off to another spot. That was the most amazing experience and understanding of clear seeing.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  • Scott Kroeker says:

    I had driven my bicycle to work through driving rain. I had just stripped off my soaking clothes into a pile on my office floor when the telephone rang. It was someone with whom I was negotiating a multimillion-dollar contract. As we worked through the final details of the deal, I couldn't help feeling self-conscious about my nakedness, despite being shielded by the telephone's blindness. Then I realized that the person on the other end could be naked too, and in fact, WAS naked underneath his clothes. I had a sudden vision of two professionals doing high-stakes haggling in the nude, unprotected by business attire and the lies it tells. This is, of course, a much truer image than the one we normally content ourselves with.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 1:43 pm

  • Tasha Halpert says:

    One day I was out walking at a distance from my house and happened to glance up at the sky. To my surprise there was a cloud formation that resembled the palm of a hand with the fingers together. I hurried home, got my camera, got into my car and went back to that spot. Sure enough, it was still there. I snapped a photo, andI titled it Hand of God. It is a favorite of mine and others too.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm

  • Marion says:

    I like those visual ahaa! moments when for example looking at the face becomes looking at the profile and in that moment when the change occurs, I experience an understanding of how little I usually see...and how fixed and preconceived my seeing is.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  • Marion says:

    Sorry above meant looking at the vase becomes looking at the profile of faces...

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm

  • Char says:

    When I have the good fortune to visit people in another country, the contrast between our points of view helps me experience something like clear seeing. Their landscape is so different from mine that I feel like I get to see all of the details. At home again, I notice all of the details of my own landscape with fresh eyes, without taking so much for granted. These landscapes are physical, but I think the same phenomenon happens with metaphorical or figurative landscapes... I see my thinking more clearly when I have a chance to dip my whole self into such a contrasting existence.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  • Karen Lucas says:

    When I stop engaging in the thoughts that come and go constantly in mind, and let fixed concepts fall away, then no matter what I may be doing at the moment, clear seeing is there, and the world looks fresh.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm

  • Diane Wright says:

    Finally clear seeing yesterday about what exactly is making our elderly cat Angel sick. It's taken us over six months to figure this out. I am just grateful we now know what we need to do to keep this from happening again. Thank Goodness!!!

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  • Riun Backwell says:

    The last days I worked my job on the Railway in my province of British Columbia stand out for me. I traveled the tracks alone in rail equipped truck ahead of trains in difficult territory. The Cheakamus Canyon landscape spoke to me. I had traveled this section of track for 30 years. I saw with such clarity and detail every aspect of that familiar route. I'll likely never see that track again, so that last day stands out.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  • Lonnie Sha says:

    Clear seeing to me is looking at something that appears to be mundane and trivial, but when you pay a little attention to it, you will recognize its uniqueness and beauty, be it an old dilapidated wall structure, a pool of stagnant water on pavement, rain drops in the pond. My teacher also once taught me that simply by looking at symmetric patterns can be very calming and soothing to our minds and spirits. When we are calm and conscious, we are able to see clearly.

    Posted on May 31, 2011 at 6:20 pm

  • Christian Schmidt says:

    Golden yellow flower
    Asking for my attention
    Gently I grant it
    Seeing the Flower
    We die
    Become the wind in the trees
    Shaking the leaves

    (DCL Oct-2009)

    Posted on June 1, 2011 at 2:03 am

  • Jennifer Nehls says:

    I for many years was saddened that I did not see the energy and vitality of things, especially nature, as I had as a child. I lacked the ability of perceiving vividness. Many years ago, now, I was doing a walking practice at the Women's Retreat at IMS in Barre Massachusetts. It was March and had snowed a wet heavy snow the night before. It was morning around 10 AM. It was sunny, radiant and nearing 32 degrees. The evergreens at the end of the parking lot were weighted down with moist chilly snow. The sound of waterlogged gravel and puddles followed my steps. I stopped, stood still, saw a platter of snow slip off the spruce tree. A chicadee lit enthusiastically and intimately in its place.

    Posted on June 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm

  • Eduardo Visconte says:

    Today while I was attending group therapy, someone
    pointed out that I tended to shift/change subject
    whenever I was feeling pain, so I wouldn't talk
    about it...it hurt but I know in my heart it is true
    I've been doing that for a long time.
    I'm going to try with all my might to see clearly
    from now on, even if it hurts.

    :D

    Posted on June 1, 2011 at 7:03 pm

  • Laurette says:

    Photography gives me a sense of freedom. I often dream I am taking photos. There is something completely familiar about looking through a viewfinder. The world becomes a much more dynamic and interesting place, giving me many moments of clear seeing. It’s that desire to see the world through my camera’s eye that draws me back to it time and again.

    Posted on June 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm

  • John Cline says:

    Once your eye and senses are opened the unique moments
    abound as if pinching ones self.

    One's you know are unique and worthy viewing.

    John Cline

    Port Williams, NS

    Posted on June 6, 2011 at 5:53 am

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