Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reflections on the Tao - III

   This is one of my favorite quotes from Lao Tzu.  It resonates for me on so many levels.  I began this blog two years ago with the Empty Bowl story and it bears repeating.  We cannot add to a cup that is already will only spill out and be lost.  

   As a photographer, we are constantly bombarded by new techniques and new equipment that promise to change our lives.  It is good to keep learning and expanding our knowledge of the medium we love but is there ever a time when "enough is enough"?  

To gain knowledge, add something every day;
To gain wisdom, remove something every day.

   I've reached the point in my life where I've come to appreciate more the empty space in the bowl than the bowl itself.  It is the potential that fascinates me.  I'm beginning to look more and more for the empty spaces in the landscape as well.  As a rule, Nature abhors empty spaces and rushes in to fill them.  We clear away and Nature pours in but there are other places one can study the potential of the empty space.

   I photographed the interior of a lovely old house recently. It had stood empty for several was stuck in this state of potentiality until a man decided to rescue it and return it to its former glory.  I'm sure he will do a splendid job but I must admit to taking a certain pleasure in the empty rooms where the only thing that "filled" them was the sound of our footsteps on the bare floors.

   Someone once said that the music happens between the notes.  I think that's what Lao Tzu is referencing in today's quotes.  Look for the beauty contained in the empty space, wherever you may find it.  Rest in the potentiality of the space and embrace the possibilities.

    When we remove the clutter that distracts us, even symbolically, we are left with the pure wisdom of the empty space.


Mystic Meandering said...

Love the empty bowl and the "dance" of light around it... I love this kind of contemplative photography (and your staircases as well - love staircases :) They evoke a certain zen-like feeling - like the emptiness that you talk of - the space of "Emptiness" that both fills and holds all things, and out of which all the ten thousand things arise... What you write about reminds me of what they call the "gap" or emptiness between the in-breath and out-breath, or the "gap"/emptiness between thoughts, where the The Silence of the Divine dwells...

Patricia Turner said...

Beautifully put, Christine, as usual. I love your reference to the "dance of light" and the "gap" between breaths...very powerful. It gets to the soul's essence I think.