Monday, September 22, 2014

Settling into a Heightened Sense of Awareness....

   I always get such wisdom and inspiration from the daily meditations from Fr. Richard Rohr, the
founding director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

   I tried one of his exercises at the pond which, in many ways, is what I try to do with my visual listening exercises.  The first thing I notice was the rusty red tone of the sand along the water's edge.  I hadn't really noticed it before as I was usually focused on the sky reflections on the surface of the water.  It is probably a manifestation of the high levels of iron that can be found in this area but it was the color that drew me in and made me stay and look deeper.  Here is the exercise you might like to try yourself...

Rest: Practicing Awareness

   With your senses (not so much your mind), focus on one single object until you stop fighting it or resisting it with other concerns. The concrete is the doorway to the universal. This should lead to an initial calmness in your body and mind.

Surface Tension
   You must choose not to judge the object in any way, attach to it, reject it as meaningless, like it or dislike it. This is merely the need of the ego to categorize, control, and define itself by preferences.      

   You will thus learn to appreciate and respect things in and for themselves, and not because they profit or threaten you. This should lead to a kind of subtle, simple joy in the object and within yourself.

   “Listen” to the object and allow it to speak to you. Speak back to it with respect and curiosity. You thus learn to stop “objectifying” things as merely for your own consumption or use. You are learning to allow things to speak their truth to you as a receiver instead of the giver. 

  This will lead to the beginnings of love for the object and a sense of loving kindness within yourself.  A kind of contented spaciousness and silence will normally ensue. This is a form of non-dual consciousness. The concrete, loving consciousness of one thing leads to pure consciousness or “objectless consciousness” of all things.

    The Fr. Rohr's book, The Naked Now, is a favorite of mine.  It has helped me a great deal in honing my visual listen skills and I recommend it as required reading for all contemplative photographers.

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