Archive for the ‘sunset’ tag
For the past three days I have been out of the Internet loop, away from my computer. I will be returning to regular posting tomorrow, again turning to the theme of Dreams. It was strange not having access to my e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, and especially my blog site. I realise that at this point, this blog site is as much about my reading audience as it is about me. Thank you for being patient in waiting for the next post. ~ Robert
The Internet access in the condo is very sporadic. I’ve had very little access for the past two days so I have focused on other things that need some attention. I am posting this photo without much commentary so that you have something from me to let you know that I am still here even if it appears that I am quiet. If the opportunity arises later in the day, I will write more with a different photo. Just remember – there can be presence, even in silence.
As usual while on a holiday which involves the sea, I find myself taking many, many photos of sunsets and sunrises. This photo was taken while walking toward a small village down a rough road not too far from the villa that was home for ten days while in the Philippines. Sunsets are particularly appealing because of the colours, especially the gold.
In the second half of life, there is a resonance with late afternoon and its golden light and the gold that appears in the sky with sunset. Each evening up and down the beach I was able to see people gather to honour the setting sun, to wonder at the colours.
For me, sunset and sunrise are the times when I feel the numinous presence of something that can only be described as the ultimate presence, the source of my spiritual nature
Now that I am back at work, I am already planning the next tropical adventure where again I will bask in sunshine and make my private ceremonies of sunrise and sunset.
I am coming to recognize the signals that ask me to slow down, to relax, to meditate. In looking for today’s photo, this sunset image caught my attention and took me back to the moment when I took it while in Laos. Rather than join a throng of tourists on top of Phu Si Hill, a small mountain in the small city of Luang Prabang, I found a quiet area with no tourists or even local people along the Mekong River. The silence, the colour and the magic of sunset stilled me after a busy day of touring temples and artisan workshops.
Learning to be still is my task of the moment. Now that I have realised that I have changed a season in my life, I must, like a caterpillar, sit in a cocoon to allow transformative changes to take place. I sense that the changes are not so small and that is both cause for celebration and panic. I also sense that as I undergo this time of metamorphosis, that my wife is shifting and changing as well. Who began to change first? Whose change serves as catalyst for the change in the other? Will the changes result in even more alignment?
In my opinion, at this point in time, because we are so close, I would have to say that because of a host of minute changes that are taking place, we feed off each other taking turns in initiating or serving as catalyst for change. Because we are resonating and responding to these changes, the likelihood of alignment is high. So, for now, I must simply sit back, meditate and learn.
A walk along an abandoned rail track as sunset was approaching yielded this scene in the gathering clouds. The horizon itself was clear and the sunset was also captured by my camera. Of course, since this is the location for my SoFoBoMo book photos, the photo (one one in the series) will likely make it into the book, a book about consciousness, shadow and lifespan. The work on the book is coming along slowly as I find I need a few more photos from pre-dawn and post-sunset to have the visual story fully represented. I have decided to post all of the PDF versions of my books here so that you can read them at your leisure, downloading them if so desired. Expect them to be posted up on the sidebar in the relatively near future.
When things are going too smoothly or perhaps even too rough on us, an opening often appears that will allow us to navigate through to another level of being. Why do I say too smoothly? Well, when the world seems perfect, there is a kind of lethargy that settles in and makes the perfection more like a prison than a place of paradise. When things get so rough that one wants to say “the hell with it all!” there is usually a small crack in the darkness that has settled over us, perhaps barely visible, but it is there.
Almost all of us see this opening, a portal to a different way of being, but we are hesitant to explore that opening. Fear holds us back. ”What if this is just a trap? What if it only leads to something even worse?” So, often people turn their backs on the portal and hug the devil they know, believing that what lies behind is likely worse. Why do we do this, say this to ourselves? Why? Because we are certain that we deserve the darkness that we live in. We know that though it is a living hell, it is still about being alive. We don’t want to risk worse as it might mean our extinction.
The fear of the unknown, the fear of change, the fear of death – these fears keep us locked into patterns, beliefs, attitudes and actions. It is only when life comes to the point of breaking us that we lose our grip on the fear of change and find the courage, or perhaps the desperation to dare something different.
Yesterday evening I went out with my camera to get sunset photos for my upcoming SoFoBoMo photo book project. I have narrowed down the project in terms of photographic elements. Originally I had thought of using four locations with each location providing four small sets of photos: dawn, late morning/noon, late afternoon/sunset, night. The time aspect is an attempt to match the seasons of life, and the journey of individuation. What has changed is my decision to have only one setting instead of four. I had originally planned on using an urban setting, a rail line setting, an abandoned farmyard setting and a prairie hills and valleys setting. The final choice is the rail line setting as it allows me to plot the journey of individuation as though following the road of iron.
I won’t likely bring the rail photos destined for the book here but I will bring photos taken on the periphery of the rail and from the other sites. Yes, I am still making the photographic journeys to the abandoned farm yard and to the prairie hills as though they were part of the book. This photo of a sow thistle as it is known here, is also known as milk thistle where I grew up. I did a basic search and found out this about the milk thistle in Psychology Today:
“Researchers studied the effects of St. John’s wort, ginger, echinacea, green tea and milk thistle on the white blood cells and nerve cells of mice. Milk thistle was the only herb that boosted both the immune and nervous systems, helping nerve cells produce more neurites and keeping cells alive longer.” ( Linda Formichelli, published on March 01, 2002)
Interesting facts and probably quite useful, a wild plant that is about keeping one more “vital.” It isn’t necessarily about living longer, but in living and feeling more alive until that point in time where one shifts from this form of consciousness made manifest as a human.
I was almost tempted to do a bit of photo editing with this photo taken just a few hours ago just before sunset here in Vientiane, Laos. The scene is the Mekong River as seen from the fifth floor outdoor restaurant in Vientiane, looking across the Mekong River toward Thailand. I was initially worried that there wasn’t enough “light” because I was facing into the west making the picture darker than it was. But, the thought to edit lasted about a half a second at most and I decided to leave it “as is.”
The afternoon spent in various temples as well as a book I am reading on my e-Reader have left me in a pensive mood. I think back to my original foray into Transcendental Meditation in the early 70s, reading Siddhartha by Hemann Hesse back in the same time period and find some peace in meditative approaches that have come to me naturally in the second half of my life. Perhaps it is because I find myself approaching life in the older lane to be a contemplative time. Regardless of the reason, the temples of Buddhism, Hinduism, and a collection of animistic beliefs find a resonance in terms of honouring the unknown.
I am not drawn to any particular “religion” though I am drawn to a more spiritual life. For me, religions and a spiritual life don’t exactly go together. One can be spiritual with a professed religion as one can be rigidly religions without having a spiritual bone in one’s body.I am drawn to the numinous such as is found in this photograph. For me, it is telling that it contains water, land and sunset colours.
I belong to the earth and water, I am made up of both earth and water. And in the natural flow of life, I will return to the natural elements from which I came. And in the meantime, meaning will arise from how I life my life through both my attitude and my actions.
Sunsets in Saskatchewan are incredible sites. Most of the time the range of colour and the presence of scattered thin clouds create a canvas that defies definition. One is left wanting if one tries to capture the experience with words alone. There is something numinous in a sunset, something that points beyond the mere scene of sky, horizon and colours. Yet, sadly, this is getting to be a rare experience regardless of the fact that the earth and the heavens continue to gift us with sunsets.
“. . . the danger that faces us today is that the whole of reality will be replaced by words. This accounts for the terrible lack of instinct in modern man, particularly by the city-dweller. He lacks all contact with the life and breath of nature. He knows a rabbit or a cow only from the illustrated pater, the dictionary, or the movies, and thinks he knows what it is really like – and is amazed that cowsheds “smell,” because the dictionary didn’t say so.” (Jung, CW 10, par 882)
Ive been listening lately to on-going conversations at Jung-Fire, an on-line discussion group that somehow has remained while others have disappeared. Part of the current dialogue is an old dialogue that focuses on “words.” By this, I mean that there is a constant challenge to all ideas, especially quotes from Jung. I do understand how some want to desperately cognitively understand, to be able to justify, objectively, borrowing any thought of any “other.” Most responses are critiqued for definitions of words being used as if the full power of any idea is to be found in the words. And where words fail, the idea must also fail. In spite of the focus on words, Jung-Fire does offer another portal for those interested in joining a community that often has Jung at the centre of the discussions.
In today’s even more modern world, “virtual” experience is joining words” as a substitute for “reality.” I am seeing this with the visit of my grandchildren to our house. Games on the computer, the Blackberry and the iPod are part of the “normal” experience of today’s world. Rather than deny the use of these portals of experience, their parents (thankfully) show them that “balance” is important. Time at the lake, playing “real” games with “real” people in “real” environments, time hiking in the hills – become a way to find a balance in the modern world. I hope that they don’t get trapped in wanting to “prove” the world by words alone and that they learn to trust intuition, the senses, their thinking and their feelings as they help one arrive at a “fuller” understanding.
While at the family reunion taking photos to be part of the official record of the event, I took time for a few extra photos such as this one and the one from the last post. As usual, a sunset scene fills a spiritual need for me and reminds me that I am but a small part of something so much larger. And for me, this spiritual resonance alerts me to something beyond what I can hold within my limited consciousness, something I can only approach and often only obliquely.
It must be my age, but I think often of good and evil. The problem is that I only think I know what good and evil are. I am hearing a lot of frantic voices foretelling the end of the world and of rewards and or punishments for those who have either lived good lives or else lived lives filled with sin. Some people I know believe in a Rapture in which they feel the chosen good people will be taken directly to heaven while the rest of the world will have one final chance to choose goodness over evil. Others are adamant that on December 21st the world is coming to an end as predicted by the Mayan calendar (actually not predicted, but that is another story). Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, wars, famine and flood – all these things are waved as proofs of the coming end when and where good shall triumph while evil perishes. But what is this good and evil?
“When someone speaks of good or evil, it is of what he calls good or evil, or what he feels as good or evil.” (Jung, CW 10, par 858)
This jumps out at me as I hear about American and Canadians fighting for good with God on their (our) side as they fight the evil Taliban. I also see how problematical all of this is when I hear of the radical Islamic groups fighting for Allah against the evil American empire. Good and evil are held as different things by different people. What I might see as evil, another might see as an act of bravery and holiness, an act that will gain immediate entrance into some version of heaven.
“Principles, when reduced to their ultimates, are simply aspects of God. Good and evil are principles of our ethical judgments, but, reduced to their ontological roots, they are “beginnings,” aspects of God, names for God. Wherever, therefore, in an excess of affect, in an emotionally excessive situation, I come up against a paradoxical fact or happening, I am in the last resort encountering an aspect of God, which I cannot judge logically and cannot conquer because it is stronger than me – because, in other words, it has a numinous quality . . .” (Jung, CW 10, par 864)
I took this photo yesterday evening about 9:30 pm. Sunset comes late in the day here on the summer prairies. Most of the sky was dark grey because of overcast skies that had brought rain on and off during the day since mid-afternoon. I was fortunate to see this small break in the clouds and to have the scene appear between the power lines and telephone wires that cross the lower sky from my back deck. Most of the time, these rare breaks were hidden behind trees or else sliced in half by the wires. I waited for the right moment a few other times only to have the opening of light basically disappear by the time it found this small opening between wires and trees. And when it did come after my waiting patiently, a bird decided to sit on a bare branch thus adding to the moment.
Images are powerful things. I have just finished my SoFoBoMo project and have put the completed project on Issuu. You can view the completed project by clicking on this link, or by clicking on the image of the book found on the right. I will be revisiting this project later with the intent of turning into a larger work, a book, in the future. I am still finding images that would “fit” into the “Sol” and “Luna” theme that the project focused upon, such as this photograph. This morning I took another moon photo (to be presented here on another occasion) of the moon waning. When I think of all the moon photos and sun photos taken over the years, I find that the passion, the pull to these numinous objects, has increased. There is little doubt that there is something of note for my “self” to be uncovered by paying attention to these images and how they find them expressed in my photos.
In this photo, I see myself as the little bird in the centre. Why? Well in the grand scheme of things, my level of consciousness is quite limited. There are many contents n the personal unconscious to be uncovered which would still leave a large portion of the personal unconscious left in the dark. Of course when one’s psyche is also part of the collective unconscious, the size of the conscious ego shrinks even more. That said, size doesn’t matter. It is about being present and being authentically individual, about being true to one’s self.