I was reading Yoga International the other day and came across an article about a photography technique. It’s called Miksang. The idea is to take close-up photos of ordinary, everyday objects (i.e. a pile of nails, the base of a lamp, the cracks in a window pane.You get the drift). My instant reaction was, ‘Good golly, is this really the stuff they put in YI these days?’…..and then I woke up. It’s not about the subject being photographed so much as it is about contemplation.
While the big stuff is exciting (rainbows, landscapes, wedding parties etc…) it’s all the little stuff that makes big stuff possible. The cracks in the finish, the pounding of a nail, the water in a bird bath. These are just minor examples of myriad, often taken for granted ingredients, making up this wonderful life.
Since reading that article I have been practicing better awareness of the little things. As I walk outside in the morning I stop to look for the sparrows singing from the bushes. I notice the few traces of color from berries that have yet to fall off the trees in my side yard. I appreciate the hydrangeas, although dried to a crisp, offering a new beauty in this stage of their life. It’s simple really, a ‘stop and smell the roses’ type practice, but with an emphasis on what would otherwise go unnoticed.
And this doesn’t just apply to the happy, flowery things in our world, but the negative, nasty stuff too. World issues, unhealthy relationships, judgments…all these things having roots tracing back to something small. Something seemingly insignificant. For instance, a piece of trash lying in the parkway, overlooked, which leads to another piece of trash, and another, and eventually pollution. (anyone have negative thoughts like that? that just continue to add up until your mind is polluted with them??)
Good, bad, happy or sad, it all starts the same way. With something small and often overlooked. Whether a grain of sand on a massive beach, or an act of distrust that creates a lifelong judgement….it all starts from something small. Every little thing will eventually become something bigger. Whether that’s the mustard seed or a bad intention.
What will you see today? Notice the cracks in the sidewalk, or the last remaining leaf on a branch. Better yet, notice the smile on a stranger’s face. And if you really want your mind blown, consider that the stranger you’re staring at is built of all the same small parts you are (generally speaking). And he /she is living a life that began from two very small components (insert Reproductive Ed from 6th grade). Look past the obvious and into the inner workings of what makes life, live! There is something new to be appreciated everywhere. To me, that’s really frickin’ exciting!