Optical Instruments

As a photographer, I use a camera to capture fleeting moments. During this morning’s reflective ‘landscape of experience’ meditation, I noticed that mindfulness shares some similar qualities.

In today’s age of the ubiquitous ‘iPhone,’ photography can become a mindless activity detracting from the experience. However, when done mindfully, it can actually heighten awareness. While engaged in this endeavor, I become alert, receptive, quiet and observant, fully present in the moment, getting lost in invigorating ‘flow’. I will carefully choose my lens depending upon my intent and the level of magnification in which I want to view my world.

To continue with this analysis, I extend the comparison to other optical devices that improves my sight. Like a microscope, mindfulness can enable me to focus and concentrate on the small details like noticing my breath and other sensations of my body. These things usually fall beneath my level of awareness. Like a telescope, mindfulness can facilitate a broader view. This can reveal things that could be beyond my obvious reach, adding distance and perspective to my thoughts and emotions.

When viewing more expansively, sight develops into insight as I discover increasing spaciousness. The big picture emerges and I can choose from more ways to respond with greater clarity, skill, and ease. This becomes necessary, as I need to break the nourishing state of ‘flow’ in time to prepare actual nourishment for my family for dinner.


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