Reflections on stillness

Accounts of times in which someone has had a spiritual momment or felt they were communing or were one with nature. Experiences that elicited a strong emotional response or moment of gestalt.

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edfrank
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Reflections on stillness

Post by edfrank » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:48 pm

Reflections on stillness

by Kathy on September 10, 2010
in Beauty,Nature,Slow Down

http://www.whitepineswhisper.com/2010/0 ... stillness/
Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance. – Actor Morgan Freeman

I’m fascinated by reflections on water. They show up often in my paintings and I’ve taken countless photographs of them as well.

Of course, reflections – those wonderfully clear, up-side-down views of our right-side-up world – only happen when the air is calm and the water still. When water is churning or moving fast, reflections are broken up and become visual chaos.

We all need some calm and stillness as an antidote to our frantic lives. Like water, we need to to slow down in order to regain the ability to reflect.
.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by Steve Galehouse » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:23 pm

Ed, ENTS-

A view from our cabin in Ontario, on a still late afternoon.
still water.jpg
Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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James Parton
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by James Parton » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:51 am

Steve,

Beautiful! The lighting is perfect!

James
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dbhguru
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by dbhguru » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:13 am

Ed, Steve, James,

The enjoyment of stillness and the blessing of silence from the ever growing pollution of human generated noise are blessings that nourished the souls of early wilderness advocates like John Muir. We may still find stillness, but we have lost virtually all of that freedom of human generated noise. The overhead hum of airplanes can be heard in all places -- near and far. There is a virtue in searching out the remaining wild places and promoting their value to us especially in terms of spiritual connections.

My great friend John Davis, son of my colleague and equally great friend Dr. Mary Byrd Davis will undertake a wilderness trek beginning in Florida in February. The trek will eventually take him to all parts of the country. John will be contacting Ents along the way to get our assistance in sharing the best wild places we have left and our individual roles in helping keep the special places protected from human-generated types of pollution. John Davis is a true Thoreau figure who is not only a superb writer, but is in incredibly good physical shape. He has made many solo journeys to all parts of the country. John is a very humble person, and can go virtually unnoticed, but he deserves to be recognized as one of our greatest voices for wilderness that we have today.

I look forward to passing more details along as John's itinerary solidifies.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
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James Parton
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by James Parton » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:11 am

Bob,

There is nothing like the stillness of a forest in the early morning or late evening. The lighting is right and if the wind is not blowing you can hear all kinds of noises. Squirrels and other wildlife are more active at this time. But sometimes the loudest thing you hear is the acorns or hickory nuts falling from the trees. You can even hear the trees talk. Pines whisper and hardwoods make a sort of a groaning or squeaking noise! Of course your forest needs to be well away from human activities to be really quiet. Well away from noisy highways.

I like to find a quiet place in the woods and just sit and meditate. I let the forest clean the stress of modern life from my mind. All forests are effective at this as long as it is quiet and still. However conifer forests seems to work the best. I remember a nice hemlock forest I used to visit just for this purpose a number of years ago. It would be dusky-dark in there even at midday. Now light hits the forest floor and the hemlocks are dead or in their last throes of life. I grieve for the trees. Their death is a loss.

I have enjoyed many still mornings on a glass smooth lake fishing and still nights observing the stars too. Quietness and stillness is one of natures greatest gifts.

James
James E Parton
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Don
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by Don » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:59 pm

James/Bob/Steve-
And it's not just the stillness of your surroundings...how many of us can "still" our minds, in the 15 minutes it's said that it takes in most settings for wildlife to return to their activities. We are SO programmed to be 'doing something' that we really aren't good at 'stilling our minds' long enough to the world around us, as it is without us...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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James Parton
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by James Parton » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:09 pm

Don,

I agree. Stillling your mind is something that has to be learned. It does not come natural to most of us.

JP
James E Parton
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New Order of Druids

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by Steve Galehouse » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:58 pm

Don, James, ENTS-

Yes, it's hard to clear the mind, and takes effort---I think most of us are hard-put to get into a reflective, meditative state, but the stillness of nature surely helps. I find it hard to convey stillness photographically without including water, so here is another photo from Up North, taken in the pre-dawn.
Purple haze.jpg
Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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edfrank
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by edfrank » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:45 pm

Stillnes of the mind is not a simple concept. If you look for information on the internet it is commonly used a a term synonymous with meditation. It is linked to what Indian teachings describe as samadhi -- a state of “still mind.” There are nuggests of information here and there that seem to have value, but much of the material seems t be more self serving mumbo-jumbo. One focus on this theme deals with achieving a state of mind in which thought is not dominated by our own ego so that we can know ourselves better without the bias of the constant critical voices of our own fears and egotism. . A concpet also common is one that achiveing this state of mind allows us to relax, ease tension, and to escape our daily problems. The latter focus often seems more self serving than spiritual. But still among the platitudes are the pearls and thoughts of a more profound nature. I suppose consideration of the subject and success in its implementation requires a technique that resonates with the particular individual. I doubt that there is a single path along the journey for everyone.

One thing that I want to suggest is that achieving a stillness of the mind is not just an internalization of your own experience. It is not just calming your own thoughts to explore the depths of your own existence. Stilling of the mind can also be a window through which we can look at the outside world In a natural setiing it can be a way to open ourselves to a more unfiltered experience unfettered by our biases and predjudices. We can see things happening in the natural setting that would normally pass us by unnoticed.

I think that is one why we find a natural setting to be conducive to achieveing this state. In these places we have an external anchor to counterbalance our internal chaos.

I am rambling at this point, so that is all for now.

Ed
.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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gnmcmartin
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Re: Reflections on stillness

Post by gnmcmartin » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:46 am

Ed:

Pretty good ramblings. This part is key:

"One thing that I want to suggest is that achieving a stillness of the mind is not just an internalization of your own experience. It is not just calming your own thoughts to explore the depths of your own existence. Stilling of the mind can also be a window through which we can look at the outside world In a natural setiing it can be a way to open ourselves to a more unfiltered experience unfettered by our biases and predjudices. We can see things happening in the natural setting that would normally pass us by unnoticed."

I like music analogies with the forest--a stillness of mind is needed to appreciate both. I have been doing transcendental meditation for 40 years. Has it helped? Well, maybe, but in 40 years I hope I have grown in various ways from various experiences/influences. I still have a long way to go to achieve any real, true stillness of mind. I have had some momentary glimpses--maybe--so I have some idea of what it is. Sometimes when I am working in my timberland I may achieve some kind of state where I cease to exist as a personality, and "lose" myself in the trees.

One thing I notice is the kind of minds various TV news reporters show. I notice that some can't talk about anything without a high degree of "self-awareness" or something. They are not just focused outward on their subject. I find it difficult to listen to these people. There are others whose focus is always outward on their subject. Of these, Harry Smith is the pureist and best. Or maybe Steve Hartman.

--Gaines

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