When I was studying English literature, I remember being particularly struck by this passage in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own: “What is meant by ‘reality’? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now in a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech—and there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.”
I have always been slightly obsessed with those moments of “reality” and the idea that they could be less erratic and more dependable, which is part of what has led me to the practice of meditation.
Recently, I have been experimenting with contemplative photography inspired by the book, The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. Along with being great fun, this is a real practice of integrating meditation into everyday life—off the cushion and walking around in the world. The practice is to see and photograph the world in fresh ways, to reveal richness and beauty that is normally hidden from view, to see clearly and make images based on fresh perceptions. They also have a website called Seeing Fresh (seeingfresh.com) which essentially describes the practice itself and has galleries, assignments, and the possibility for you to submit your own photos.