PICTURES FOR EACH CHAPTER

Hi. I’m hoping my pictures will illustrate what each chapter is about. I’m posting them here instead of in the book, simply to keep its price down. There are brief quotes from each chapter  to link the pictures to the text.
 So just scroll down to each chapter, click on it, then move cursor over the pictures to read the quotes. But remember they are only tiny extracts from the full chapter.  You can also click on each picture to see it full size.   ~ David
Chapter 1: LET THERE BE SIGHT - click here

"Beauty is all about us, but how many are blind to it! People take little pleasure in the natural and quiet and simple things of life" -- Pablo Casals. To have eyes and fail to see is the worst tragedy to befall a person, said Helen Keller. Yet the beauty and wonder are everywhere, like light filtering through green leaves, or the clear night sky where we get our only glimpse of the Universe. The moment we become aware of such marvels we are living in the NOW, and therein lies Mindfulness. ~ David

Chapter 2 - EXPLOSION  OF TREES - Click here

"The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more!" ~ Emerson. The tree is perhaps the most marvellous shape in nature -- a trunk divides into branches, which end in smaller ones, then smaller again, until finally it all ends in tiny twigs. It's called "dendritic" and the same shape is found in rivers, in lightning, even in our arteries and nervous systems (see page 29 of "Look and Grow Mindful").

Chapter 3 - OUR MAGIC SKY - Click here

"Excuse me while I kiss the sky" -- Jimi Hendrix The sky can lead us to Mindfulness. Quite literally, it is the greatest of all spectacles that the human eye can behold. We simply don't notice it because it's always there. And every few minutes or so it changes. Here are some of the skies I have photographed over many years. ~ David

Chapter 4:  FORTY SHADES OF GREEN - Click here

Fields are the little places of the earth. Places that no one knows except perhaps the farmer who works them, and where no one ever walks except that same farmer. Places that whirl past a railway-carriage window and are gone – seen by millions yet trodden by few. But often lovelier than any manicured Luxembourg Gardens or Hyde Park – lovely with that spontaneous beauty only rural nature can yield. Here are some of my favourite fields. ~ David

Chapter 5: MINDFUL OF MOUNTAINS - Click here

"And did the Countenance Divine, Shine forth upon our clouded hills?" ~ William Blake. How is it that, more than anything else, hills are what exiles remember from home? Perhaps one of the reasons in the past was that hills were the last of the old country to sink beneath the sea as the ship ploughed westwards. But I believe there is more to it than that. Here are some of my mountain pictures to go with this chapter. ~ David

Chapter 6 - FOREST MINDFULNESS - Click here

"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness" -- John Muir. The Transylvanian forests in the film 'Katalin Varga' must be the spookiest ever. That’s what makes forests such fun – they can be scary. This chapter tells of the wonderful things that can happen when you enter a forest. And here are some of the pictures to go with the chapter, pictures I have taken over many years. ~ David

Chapter 7: THE FLOATING WORLD - Click here

"I want to do to you what spring does to the cherry trees"~ Pablo Neruda. The concept of Ukiyo – "The Floating World" – is deeply rooted in the mind of every Japanese person. It comes from Buddhism, the kernel of which is that everything is transient, nothing lasts: all our joys, hopes, beauty, love and even life itself are floating away from us and will soon be gone. Mindfulness is a response this. If nothing lasts, then let us live in the Now. For the people of Japan, the symbol of all this is the cherry blossom. Its beauty can take our breath away, but a puff of wind can take it away. Here are some of my pictures of this floating world. ~ David

Chapter 8: LET THERE BE LIGHT - Click here

"An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it" ~ James Michener. What are the things I would miss, were I to go blind? Where to begin? But above all, what I would miss is light. Scientists tell us it is the source of our very existence: perhaps that is why it is the source of joy for all of us. Here are some pictures of what light and colour can reveal to us. ~ David

Chapter 9: TOUCHING WITH THE EYE - Click here

Touch, as any blind person can tell us, can be a source of wondrous stimulation and joy. Bare feet treading cool, damp grass; a cheek pressing against a fresh, cotton pillow; the feel of a rose petal between finger and thumb; fingers running down the back of a beloved terrier, or feeling its damp nose. However touch is intimately linked with the sense of sight. It is one of the magical things about our senses – sight and touch are so interlocked that with our eyes alone we can feel the texture of things. Some of these pictures here can show what I mean. ~ David

Chapter 10 - JUST ADD WATER - Click here

"There are always waves in water... churned up by winds which come and go and vary in direction and intensity, just as do the winds of stress and change in our lives." ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn. Water doesn’t always have a good press. Perhaps with good reason – it didn’t do a mighty lot for Noah. Besides, it goes AWOL when you most need it, like in the Sahara. Or when pipes freeze. Yet water is still the most precious thing in the world. And it can be the loveliest thing in the world to look at. And, since this is a book about looking, that’s all we’ll deal with here. Here are some pictures to convey the wonder of water, especially in our oceans. ~ David

Chapter 11: LAKE WATER LAPPING - Click here

"Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you." ~ John Muir. The sea can never be still, but a lake can. A sea can take on the colour of the sky, but a lake can mirror the actual sky itself. I think perhaps there lies the difference. So, while the magic of the sea is its restless energy, the magic of a lake is its tranquillity. And contemplating that tranquillity can lead to Mindfulness. ~ DR

Chapter 12:  RIVER AND STREAM - Click here

"Oh, is the water sweet and cool, Gentle and brown, above the pool? And laughs the immortal river still Under the mill, under the mill?" ~ Rupert Brooke One of the great joys for the eye is when one walks a riverside. Just savouring it's beauty is itself Mindfulness. Here are some pictures of the loveliness of rivers. ~ David

Chapter 13: LORE OF THE LIVING - Click here

"God sleeps in a stone; dreams in a flower; moves in an animal." ~ Anonymous. Of all the things in nature, those things that live and move and have their being are a wonderful subject for Mindfulness and the Joy of Looking. Especially the wild things. But to me the most wonderful sight of all is when a vast number of creatures – fish or birds – move in unison. Take a look at some of these pictures I have taken of wild things. More to come in the months ahead. ~ David

Chapter 14: THE LITTLEST THINGS - Click here

"Some of nature’s most exquisite handiwork is on a miniature scale, as anyone knows who has applied a magnifying glass to a snowflake." ~ Rachel Carson. And the best way to see tiny things is to carry a small pocket lens. Carson, author of that glorious book, "The Sense of Wonder", maintained that, quite apart from snowflakes, a pocket lens actually brings a whole new world into being. She maintained that any tiny creature, once viewed under a lens, reveals extraordinary complexity and beauty, for the lens helps us escape the limitations of the human-size scale. Here are a few pictures of the world's tiny things. ~ David

Chapter 15: LINE, SHAPE, PATTERN - Click here

"And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being." ~ Black Elk. There are many different lines, shapes and patterns that can delight the eye and mean a great deal to us if only we become aware of them. And it that delight lies Mindfulness. Here are a few that I have encountered. ~ David

Chapter 16: MINDFUL OF THE NIGHT

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day"~ Vincent Van Gogh. Rachel Carson tells of one moonless summer night on the coast of Maine. She had gone with a friend to a headland: "It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century or even once in a human generation, this little headland would be thronged with spectators." It’s the old story of familiarity. Yet the sky at night is literally the greatest show on earth – no, the greatest show beyond the earth. It is our one and only glimpse of the Universe. Here are a few pictures to remind us of that glimpse. ~ David

Chapter 17: WORK OF HUMAN HANDS -  Click here

"All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. To me the ordinary motorcycle is one of the loveliest of all machines, simply because of its honesty. It hides nothing: it lets it all hang out. Everything is functional; nothing is covered up. The beauty of a motorcycle is intrinsic: it hasn’t been slapped on afterwards. Happily we have mostly moved on from the Victorian idea of beauty as an optional extra. Here are a few pictures that come to mind. ~ DR

Chapter 18: MINDFUL OF PEOPLE - Click here

"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When Mindfulness embraces those we love, they will blossom like flowers." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh. What’s so wonderful about looking at people? I had never really understood until I started writing this book. There is one thing that enhances people-watching beyond measure: it is that wonderful aspect of Mindfulness which we call empathy. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another". Some say that the survival of the human species may ultimately depend on empathy. Here are pictures of some people I have watched, I hope mindfully. ~ David

Chapter 19: MINDFUL OF ONESELF -  Click here

"Our body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care."~ The Buddha. When did you last look at your hands? I don’t mean just see them – but look at them? I mean trace those extraordinary lines etched into the palm before we were born, or follow the veins on the back of the hand, or examine those half-moons on the nails? An act of Mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh: "If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people." Here are some pictures that just might help us "to see oursels as ithers see us", as Robbie Burns put it. ~ David

Chapter 20: MINDFUL IN THE CITY - Click here

"We don't have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. We don't have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child. Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh. When I talk of mindful looking in a city, people sometimes say, approximately, ‘It’s all very well for you, living in the countryside among all those lovely fields and forests. But we have to live in the dreary streets of this city of ours [whichever]. What’s to look at here?’ Answer - a very great deal. These pictures here will, I hope, show what I mean. ~ David

Chapter  21: LOOKING AT LANDSCAPES - Click here

"The lake and the mountains have become my landscape, my real world." ~ Georges Simenon. The word "landscape" conjures up for me a hiker coming over a hill to gaze upon the valley stretched out below, as Wordsworth did upriver from Tintern Abbey. Or a Donegal farmer leaning on a gate, surveying with pride his fields wrested from those reluctant rocks. What I love best in landscapes are what Chesterton called "the rolling English roads", or what in Ireland are called boreens. They are like ribbons that bind the land together. Here are some of my pictures of the landscapes that I love. ~ David

Chapter 22: - TO CLICK OR TO CONTEMPLATE?  - Click here

"Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs." ~ Ansel Adams In this little book on mindful looking, am I recommending the reader to carry a camera? Well, yes and no. Assiduous use of a camera certainly can help to train the eye and discipline it to see pictures that one might otherwise miss. It increases visual awareness, which is a key ingredient of Mindfulness. But be warned of a danger - photography can sometimes become a denial of the Now – and the Now is all we really have. While I’m shooting the picture, I’m thinking of how it is going to turn out, and how I’ll enjoy showing it, so I’m living in the future (which doesn’t yet exist). When I look at the picture later, I’m seeing what existed in the past (which no longer exists). All I really have is a memory, and some electronic impulses on a hard disk. I think perhaps the answer is "moderation in all things"- including photography! ~ David

Chapter 23: FOES OF MINDFULNESS - click here (The only way I could illustrate this was to use pictures symbolically. Like, even doggies can be arrogant! )

"Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh. Obstacles to Looking with Mindfulness include future fixation, nostalgia, regret, resentment, familiarity, indifference, procrastination, priorities, hurry, fear, glancing (instead of gazing), greed, arrogance, TV (addiction to), electronic screens (addiction to), and lots more. Take a look and see why. ~ David

Chapter 24: THE NEED TO KNOW - Click here

"Beauty is truth, and truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." ~ John Keats. Far too many people are put off from enjoying the finest experiences in life simply by the fear that they don’t know enough – don’t understand enough technical jargon. How many of us are put off visiting art galleries by the fear that we don’t know enough about art? Broadcaster Paul Herriot insists that everyone has an entitlement to everything which artists or musicians create. We are just not aware of that entitlement. We also have an entitlement to the night sky, in as much as it is there for all of us to gaze at. Yet how many of us are scared off by those maps of the stars? How many of us ignore trees because we can’t tell the difference between an alder leaf and an elm leaf? Some of these pictures might show what we're missing. ~ David

Chapter 25: TO LOOK WITH WONDER - Click here

"That is the essence of contemplation: the sense of wonder…. contemplation produces wonder no matter what it observes, a sunset or a stone." ~ Anthony de Mello. Looking with wonder can in the long run save our lives. Hard to believe? Try this chapter. But even in the short run, it can change our lives and enrich them immeasurably, especially if we can learn how to keep wonder always in our lives. A start is to learn to gaze instead of glance – I must be willing to turn away from the TV so as to wait for that sunset to develop beyond the window; or to have my eye follow that flock of starlings as it undulates and weaves through the darkening winter sky. ~ David

Chapter 26: FROM WONDER TO AWE -  Click here

"The light that never was on sea or land, yet which all men see sometime or other" ~ William Wilfred Campbell. If we are mindful enough and gaze enough and contemplate nature enough, and wonder enough, we can occasionally in our lives break through a kind of membrane and encounter sheer, downright awe. It can come in a dark, whispering forest, or when gazing at a luminous night sky, or watching a storm from cliffs, or simply contemplating a new moon. It can come to parents when a newborn babe is placed in their arms. It can come while holding the hand of someone dying. It can happen after reaching a mountain peak. It can come from gazing at a dinosaur footprint from 65 million years ago. It can come when contemplating a spider’s web, or a wildflower in spring. It can come during meditation. ~ DR

Chapter 27: MINDFUL OF THE YOUNG - Click here

The Earth belongs to our children. We have already borrowed too much from it, from them; and the way things have been going, we're not sure we'll be able to give it back to them in decent shape ~ Thich Nhat Hanh Educationalist Paulo Freire saw much of our schooling as simply preparing us to accept uncritically the status quo of rich and poor, educated and ignorant, the powerful and the powerless, to accept it as a given, and to conform to the world as it is. Thus of course perpetuating the status quo. Mindfulness is the antidote. And it can be taught to the coming generation. ~ DR

 

Leave A Comment