Monday, April 6, 2009

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

Since I started the more formal leg of my spiritual journey, I have heard the term 'mental construct' a lot. Many groups use this teaching- Sufi, Buddhist... it is used to describe just about all of life, from what I can see. Many teachings point to the 'illusion' that we interpret as life- that there is no difference between a tree a light bulb a person because all are different manifestations of energy (which is what it is).

Sometimes this is a comforting thought. There are times when feeling a strong and direct connection to everything around me is very centering . These beliefs allow me to stay focused in times and situations that are chaotic and stressful. If all around me is joined in this manner then my unpleasant moment will pass to something better to keep the balance that all of nature, all energy requires to be stable (to get really complicated, I suppose this could be a good explanation for impermanence- what I have must change in order to keep balance for all).

Were I to say that I spend all of my time in this thought state, I would be telling one whopper of a lie. Quite frankly, if I can remember this once a week I am doing pretty well. Most of the time I am nicely wrapped up in thoughts of how my own little packet of Universal energy is plodding through life. For now, I find that my exploration into the inner workings of the spiritual universe are most successfully undertaken by looking into my little part of it- me (which, by the by, is why I think we have physical forms- so that we can explore through them).

Since the beginning of the year I have started many projects. All of them were begun for various reasons, most quite mundane, and almost all of them have ended up becoming integral parts of this exploration. Changing my diet to almost completely local food, riding my bike instead of my car, working less to be at home more, writing... have all become indispensable aspects of this journey. I have become highly unattracted to processed food, not because of its deleterious effects on my health, anywhere near as much because you can taste that it has no soul. Not driving my car puts me in a place where I have to rely on my physicality and spirit to get me where I am going (oil use reduction is a pretty good perk, though). Writing this blog forces me to focus my thoughts, which is good because I have serious monkey brain and it can get in the way.

The one thing I do these days that brings me down the road to 'enlightenment', is photography. Aside from the fact that taking pictures of things gives you a different perspective on them, I am learning that taking pictures of myself can open up the way I 'see' me. Starting on New Year's Day, I began a '365 Days Project' in which I have to take a picture of myself, every day, for a year. I had heard of and seen other people's projects before, but my decision to embark on a project myself was very spontaneous and unplanned. I am now on Day 91, which is about 85 days longer than I thought I would get. What I have shot and what I have seen have been very surprising and disarming. Many feelings I have harboured on a number of subjects have become subject to tremendous change or outright rejection. Mostly, I have found a sense of peace with my physical being that I have not had for quite a long time. There are fewer 'flaws' to see and more life and personality. I find way less to find fault with, and more to be happy about- all because I am taking pictures of myself, which is way cheaper than therapy!

Sometimes that old voice nags at me about some silly aspect of myself- too many stretch marks, skin that is starting to look like is almost 40... The voice of 'the man behind the curtain', that silly ego that wants to cause unhappiness to keep its self busy. Ignore him, go mug for the camera!

My 365 pictures


Kat said...

ha ha adrienne, what fun! and a really good conceptual art idea, and the pictures, you ARE beautiful! and quite the creative photographer. i hope to see much much more in the photography area, you are wonderful!

Adrienne Johnson said...

Thank you, Kat : )