I was just leaving the beach after a long walk, but then for some reason the ‘still life’ of these rocks in the water and reflections of the clouds above caught my attention. Instinctively, I stopped and took a photo of it.

In a way, to me photographing is a form of self-exploration. Here Seena B. Frost’s soul collages come to mind. To make soul collages one sifts through a variety of magazines and tears out images to which one feels a strong pull. These images are then used to create soul collages for the purpose of self-exploration. Although not immediately apparent, the images that we select tell us something about ourselves. Once assembled into a soul collage and reflected upon, we begin to understand what aspects of ourselves are expressed by them and what they are trying to tell us about ourselves.

When I got home, I reflected upon my own image of the rocks in the water above. Only their tips are visible, but their largest parts are hidden under water. In psychology and dreams water is representative for the subconscious. Seeing these rocks as a metaphor for the human being, their tips represent wakeful consciousness. What is hidden under the water is the subconscious and the higher consciousness. This consciousness of ours is hidden not only from others, but generally also from ourselves.

Through looking ‘below the surface of the water’ it is possible to gain insight into what is hidden there from our normal view. There are miscellaneous ways in which to explore this to a greater or lesser degree, such as, for example, meditation, making art, music, or engaging in soul collages – anything that we can lose ourselves in, that gets rid of that noise or chatter or self-talk, or that lets us access the ‘flow‘.

Nature is such a great teacher! By observing nature, I observe myself. Every little bit of understanding gained about nature, is understanding gained about myself. The classroom of nature is open for business every day. Whether I show up for class or cut class is my choice.


Meditation While Raking Leaves

Yesterday, a landscaper rang our door bell.  He offered to rake our yard for $ 65.00 front and back.  I can’t thank this stranger enough!  He must have been heaven-sent.  No, it is not what you may think; I did not hire him.  But he reminded me that I had become lazy and dependent.  All I wanted to do is pursue the things I love; art, photography, and writing.  That’s why the leaves in our yard were still on the ground since the beginning of fall, and our lot had become quite unsightly.

Though, I dislike raking leaves, I finally ordered myself to grab the rake and go to work.  The repetitive motion put me into a meditative mood.  I had to think of my master’s urging to always be self-sufficient.  How I had failed him in this point!  I remembered my master’s story of the invisible, selfless servants in China sweeping the stairs of the temple that hundreds of visitors cross every day without ever taking any note of them or their work.  Now, I had the opportunity to be that humble servant myself and contribute my work so that someone else won’t have to do it, only that I was raking the lawn instead of sweeping the stairs.

Raking Leaves 009_2_1After a while, a neighbor walked by and stopped.  We chatted a little and talked about how we all have a love-hate relationship with our trees.  In summer we love them for the shade they afford us, and in winter we hate them for shedding their leaves on our lawns.  It was nice to be out and connect with this neighbor that I’d never met before.

The sun was shining and the air fresh.  I had to rejoice in the fact that I am a healthy and capable person.  I can walk and rake and do just about anything I want to do.  How much my shoulder tendinitis from a year and a half ago has improved thanks to Anthroposophic treatments from my physician friend!  I have so much to be grateful for!

In the midst of the leaf pile, I discovered two pretty leaves.  (I am sure there were more, but these two jumped out at me.)  Admittedly, I had never seen a black leaf before, probably because of lack of mindfulness and because I always left the raking to someone else.

Raking Leaves 004_2_1Suddenly, the dry leaves under my feet called back to my memory this poem my son had to learn by heart for school many years ago.  He had a rough time with it and was too young to appreciate poetry.  How did this poem go again?  Well, I looked it up, and here it is:

Kicking up Leaves

What started out as the thought of a dreaded chore, turned into a multifaceted, enjoyable lesson and beautiful afternoon.

Meditation: Before I Die ….

This photo has been taken at the Redux Art Studios in Charleston, SC.  It was part of the “Before I Die” travelling installation which has made its way around the world.

What are your dreams?  What is it that you want to do before you die?

Follow-Up Discussion of My Previous Blog Entry: The True Self

This is a follow up discussion of my previous blog entry, “Sunday Meditation: The True Self” with Deng Ming-Dao. https://andelieya.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/sunday-meditation-the-true-self/

Deng Ming-Dao is an artist, writer and the author of eight books, with a ninth one, The Lunar Tao slated to be published in January 2013. In the discussion that follows, Deng Ming-Dao offers additional insight into the topic of my original blog post.

You can find Deng Ming-Dao on the web http://www.dengmingdao.com/, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dengmingdao, and on Twitter https://twitter.com/dengmingdao

Sometimes someone else has packed our bags.

Sometimes, we’re afraid to open our bags, or are horrified when we do.

Sometimes we continue to lug the bag, even though we know it’s wrong, because we’re fearful of the alternative.

Sometimes we’re afraid that if we were to upend our bag and clean everything out that we would disappear.

It’s not easy for people to clean out their baggage.

andelieya: We can learn to periodically set the bag down. Once we experience the relief of the weight falling away, we may see the benefit in doing this more regularly and more often.

We may find to have a lot more endurance and be able to go much farther with regular breaks, than if we continually toted the bag without ever putting it down.

After a while, it occurs to us that we can also make the bag lighter and our walk easier if we just emptied some of its content out permanently. We come to the realization that it’s wise to carry along just enough, and everything extra is unneeded and unwanted.

By regularly and often putting our bags down, we can experience refreshing breaks of weightless moments. But while we must still carry our bags, by gradually emptying out all unneeded and unwanted content, they will be a lot lighter. Our endurance increases, and we can walk a lot further and higher without tiring.

DMD: So many of us were told never to put or bags down. Travel in airports with the amplified admonishments not to leave our bags unattended represents an underlying anxiety in our culture. Lock your house. Lock your car. Hold onto your wallet. Hold onto your kids. We aren’t used to putting down our bags.

Hold onto our reputation. Hold onto your job. Hold onto your marriage. Hold onto your sanity.

“She’s letting herself go!” “He’s losing it!” “Don’t let go!” The resistance to putting down our bag is high.

Yes, the classical teaching is to put down or bags. But let’s acknowledge that the task is hard and that all of us who are traveling with our burdens must have compassion extended to us for our burdens.

andelieya: It is so true! The examples you brought up really demonstrate the societal conditioning of our mind in thinking that we must never let go of anything, otherwise something catastrophic will happen.

Although, it seems as easy as just putting them down, letting go of our bags is the most daunting task we are faced with in life. The tendency to cling and not wanting to render full control is in the nature of an unchecked ego. Actually, it is paradoxical, because the ego only thinks it is in full control, but never really is to begin with.

Meditation is one way through which we can dampen the loud calls and many voices of the ego and, instead, listen to the silent, peaceful depth and breadth of our souls. (I intentionally use depth and breadth in singular form here, because this depth and breadth is the Oneness that all souls share.)

Through meditation we can learn to empty our bags of nonessential weight and to periodically put our bags down completely for brief, refreshing moments where we can see clearly the nature of ourselves and of all that is around us. We may even progress far enough to be able to put down our bags at anytime, anywhere.

Those of us who are lucky enough may come across a qualified teacher who will show us the method and guide us in finding our true selves.

Deng Ming-Dao, thank you for sharing your wisdom with me and my readers!

Off the Beaten Path in Meggett and Yonges Island

A fall afternoon in the countryside in the towns of Meggett and Yonges Island, South Carolina.

I found this lovely collection of statues in a tranquil meditation garden behind a Catholic country church.







This is a section of one of its colorful stained glass windows



A Rhode Island transplant’s collection of Americana








Meggett’s town hall and office complex with a row of street lights across from them




Late afternoon sun falling on a country cemetery on the way.