Imagination and meditation

A fairy house. (Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada.)

Imagination is the eye of the soul.

~ Joseph Joubert

American Goldfinch in the bull thistle

Most of the time I have no trouble coming up with a blog post, but today is not one of those days.

It’s not a matter of nothing to say.  It’s more a matter of too much to say with no words to say it.  But that’s what my photos are here to do.  Help me express some of the beauty of my daily walks.

Let’s talk about praying mantises because I discovered something about them.  I have been looking for them in the meadows, and having trouble finding them.  That’s unusual.  Last year I saw them just about everywhere.

There you are!

As I looked for them this morning, I realized that it’s a lot like looking at those pictures that were so popular a number of years back.  The kind where you stare at it and if you relax your eyes in just the right way, it goes from being a pattern to a 3D picture.  Stereograms or 3D Hidden Art are two of the names I found for them after a quick Google search.

The harder I looked, the less likely I was to find a praying mantis.  Once I gave up trying and allowed my eyes to relax, there they were, suddenly revealed as something out of place.  The not-quite leaf on the goldenrod.

There is a lot of life going on in the meadows that shows up if you don’t try too hard to find it.

Meditation is a lot like that.  The harder you try, the more the stillness you’re seeking slips away.  As soon as you relax, listen to the breath, and be in the moment, there it is:  The calm mind.  At first it might be just a few seconds of stillness, in between breaths.  With practice, those moments grow longer until you feel as though you are stretching out into infinity.

Look!  Look!  Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.

~ Albert Einstein

It’s been raining off and on throughout the day.  The weather folks are saying we still have a rain deficit.  I already know that from looking at the pond.  Grasses and other meadow plants are starting to grow where there used to be water.  I often wonder how long it takes a pond to turn into a marsh and then a meadow.  Life moves pretty quickly at times, and I suspect it wouldn’t take long in the grand scheme of things.

Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude
For life.

~ Hafiz of Shiraz

The heart of the redbud

Well, that wasn’t so difficult after all.  Words tend to flow once I get started, even if this post did wind up going all over the place.  Thanks so much for visiting on this rainy afternoon.  I hope today has brought you beauty and at least a few moments of stillness.

38 Comments on “Imagination and meditation”

  1. Kathy says:

    Love the praying mantis–and you, Robin. Thank you for your companionship through this journey of life.

  2. I love that practice of relaxing your eye, or your mind, to see and understand. Your goldfinch and praying mantises are lovely!!

  3. Gracie says:

    Lovely photos! I really need to learn to relax more often as I fear I am missing a lot of the beauty around me.

  4. CMSmith says:

    I’ve always thought praying mantises were kind of creepy. But I also am fascinated by them. I haven’t seen any here this year yet, either. Usually I spot one or two.

  5. sandy says:

    Well, you did it just fine.
    The other day I told you I loved your header. Today I see the mantis! I wondering what all I miss in the wild?

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Sandy. 🙂

      It’s easy to miss a lot of things in the wild, especially the mantises. They are really good at hiding themselves.

  6. tedgriffith says:

    Your post was like the meditation you were describing, once you stop seeking it, it flows out. What is that last flower/bud/whatever right before the last mantis? It is unlike anything I have seen. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Ted. 🙂

      It’s Queen Anne’s Lace. I shot it with the white balance on “open shade” which gives it warmer tones than you’d normally see (usually it’s green and white).

  7. I LOVE the praying mantis photos, Robin. I remember being fascinated by the ones you took last summer, as well. Weird to think another year has passed. Happy Tuesday, my friend!

  8. boatacrosstheriver says:

    Thank you for the hug Robin. And thank you for your thoughts on stillness and the beauty of life. Right now I am scared we are going to get a call any minute about my husband’s mom. It’s a horrible feeling, to feel like someone so important in your life can move on without you and you just have to go on. It sort of makes me question the beauty, but your photos are a nice reminder.

  9. bearyweather says:

    I seek the calmness and stillness of nature every day, too … it is my therapist 😉

    The praying mantis pictures are spectacular .. combined with last years, I bet you have enough for a book (or at least a calendar). I have never seen one … I don’t know if they live up here in the woods or not … guess I will have to research that before I spend a lot of time straining to find something that is not living here. However, I have noticed that when I am calm and into nature, I see a lot more of the little things. (those eye trick pictures never worked on me … I could never see anything in them)

    • Robin says:

      I like that, Bearyweather. Nature is a very good therapist. 😀

      Thank you. I probably do have have enough for a calendar, but I’ve been too lazy to put one together.

  10. Sallyann says:

    Love the second picture … I was looking at the purple thistles and then … Oh ! there’s a bird. 🙂

  11. dadirri7 says:

    superb praying mantises!

  12. aFrankAngle says:

    Life at your home has helped you train your eyes to see things that most people would ignore. Very well done! Meanwhile, what is the flower in the fourth pic?

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Frank. 🙂

      The flower in the fourth pic is called Jewelweed or Spotted Touch-Me-Not. They grow all over the place here. The bees and hummingbirds like them.

  13. Val says:

    Love these photos. 🙂

  14. I loved your post Robin! I haven’t seen a praying mantis for a long time! Your thoughts on meditation is exactly what I have come to realize. I was thinking of doing my next post on meditation. 🙂 My last post was about the Spotted Touch-me-not. The photos you took of it are beautiful!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Kimberly. And thanks for letting me know about your post. I haven’t been keeping up with the blogs I follow as well as I’d like (yours is one of them), and am glad I didn’t miss it. Very informative with great photos. 🙂

  15. TBM says:

    What a sublime day out! Thanks for taking me along.

  16. Coming East says:

    The pictures are wonderful, Robin. I wish I could figure out how to take close-ups like you do. I especially enjoyed your comment about meditation and learning how to let go. I’ve missed my yoga since I broke my foot.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Susan. 🙂

      After much play and learning with my camera, I discovered that the best way for me to take close-ups with it in auto mode is to use the action setting and zoom in. My macro setting works great if I’m using a tripod, but otherwise, meh. Not so good hand-held. Lately I’ve been using the manual settings, and that has involved more learning (and a lot of terrible shots!).

      • Coming East says:

        Ah, the action setting, not the macro? I’ll have to try it. Unfortunately, there is much of nature to photograph here in the city. I will have to keep my eyes open.

  17. Beautiful images and thoughts, Robin. “The calm mind. At first it might be just a few seconds of stillness, in between breaths. With practice, those moments grow longer until you feel as though you are stretching out into infinity.” You’ve shared that experience perfectly 🙂

  18. Marianne says:

    I too recall the praying mantis post from last year and can’t believe how time seems to zoom by. I like what you said about calming the mind in meditation. It’s so true. Nature sure is fascinating when you get a close up view. Thanks Robin! 🙂

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