The Creative Process 5, Commentaries

In this concluding chapter of The Creative Process project I will provide some personal commentaries on selected photographs from Chapter 2 and selected texts from Chapter 3, The Splendor of Recognition. 

There is a significant difference between the contemplation of a photograph and a written commentary.  Contemplation is a very private experience that involves a deep internalization of the symbolic image.  The process involves quieting the mind and opening one's heart and absorbing the Hidden Treasure within the symbol.  The rewards of contemplation are not something that is sharable with others because the experience takes the contemplator into realms of one's self where words are not possible.  I have written in detail about contemplation in Chapter 4The Symbolic Photograph.  

I have already provided three examples of how I write commentaries on photographs in my Introductory chapter.  The images I commented on are also published in Chapter 2 as images #1, 5 and 27.  My commentary on the April 12, 2014 image, and on the Plastic sheet partition image centered around the visual and conceptual issue of the space between, which is a recurring theme in many of the other photographs I have made for this project.  See for example images #34 & 37.  Another theme I will be writing about later, Inside-Outside, is closely related to the space between.  

Commentaries on a photographic image are often an intellectual exercise.  The mind associates the image to other things, ideas, past experiences.  Memory plays an important role in commentary.  What we know gets transferred into the image we are viewing and we delight in unfolding the wealth of knowledge stored in our brains as if we are offering insights.  Intuition is a truer form of insight, and intuition can add greatly to the commentary on an image, but the realm of words have their limits, and commentary is about the translation of perceptions and ideas into words.  Contemplation has to do with vision of the heart.  

Commentaries may involve sharing personal feelings, especially feelings associated with memories invoked by the image.  One danger to be aware of is allowing one's associations wander too far away from the image.  Direct associations with the image are most useful to other viewers.  The farther removed from the image our comments get, the greater our self-indulgences impose upon the reader. 

Writing commentaries can be a way of opening the door to deeper layers of meaning that approach the ineffable, thus commentary may be the initiating step into the realm of contemplation.  When one begins to invoke words and internal images that function metaphorically we probably have left the photograph and moved into the Intermediary Imaginal World, which I write about in Chapter 4.  This can be interesting and useful in some ways, but again, the image that was used as the point of departure may have been left behind.  Commentary should be restricted to the photographic image.

As one imaginatively journeys deeper and deeper into an image, or text, the "conversation" or "dialogue" between self and image inevitably transitions into the realm of the Heart, and by the heart's very nature the relational experience then transitions into a state of union, and thus into an experience of silence where words are no longer useful or possible.  Contemplation takes us out of the world of words and into the ineffable world of the unknown. 

Where intellect and memory dominate in the process of writing commentary on images, I would say that divine will or grace dominates the process of contemplation.  In contemplation, if we have succeeded enough in surrendering to the creative process we discover that it has a will of its own, and its grace will support us and take us to new worlds of being, new forms of knowing.  

We all live in our own created worlds.  And when we look at images or read words we often see only our own limited world reflected in the image.  Contemplation of a true symbol takes us to a world free of limitations, veils, habits and assumptions.  That is to say, contemplation takes us to the world of Self Knowledge.

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When I write commentary on photographs I often face the dilemma of imposing theories and ideas on the image.  When I photograph I face a similar dilemma:  I may end up making images which illustrate or confirm a theory I believe in or want to understand better.  Symbolic photographs are the spontaneous images of the heart, and thus free of the contamination of the ego and the intellect.  But it is not always easy to distinguish between the two.  Symbols often come as brief glimpses of grace into the Unity of Being.  True symbols are about the unknown, the ineffable, the Hidden Treasure within.  However, the intellect and its content can be fascinatingly seductive or interesting and rascally deceiving and distracting.  

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My collection of photographs in Chapter 2 contains 40 images.  Not all of them are symbols I suspect; some will no doubt fall short of that ideal for me, but all them are interesting to me.  If they are not true symbols for me, they could nonetheless function as symbols your another contemplator.  If I eventually realize that an image is not a symbol it may have come into being in order to prepared me for the making future symbolic images.  Sometimes one has to make one or more photographs before the more articulate and graceful image can come into fruition.  

The creative process is a constant unfolding into deeper levels of perception and meaning.  Each of us are looking for something in the world that exists within ourselves, something that will speak to us in that deeper realm of the self named the Heart.  The symbol unites the two separated mirroring worlds, the one inside us and the one outside us, so that we can experience through the power of the symbol the Origin of these images: our own transcendent Self, the Unity of Being.

Four of the photographs in Chapter 2 were published in earlier online projects: #2, 7, 24, 27.  I included them in the project to establish a solid standard against which I could compare newer images made after the epiphany of the April 12, 2014 photograph, the image which initiated the project and which I have already commented on extensively in my Introductory chapter. 

The First Photograph,  April 12, 2014   The Creative Process, Image #1

Seven other images #3, #4, #5, #6, #17, #22, #26, were made prior to the initiation of the project but had not been used in earlier projects on my website.  I wanted to say a few words about my decision to include these earlier images in my Creative Process project.

To begin with, I couldn't find the right conceptual and visual context into which I could placing these images even though I liked them.  I had been saving them for the right time, the right place.  I also have come to understand that I had probably been saving them because they had not yet been fully articulated as images, purified, made complete as symbolic images.   

None of the photographs in Chapter 2 were originally square photographs.  They all originated from the camera as long format images that have been transformed in various ways into square images.   The making of square images from long images has been a practice of mine going back to my first series of Studies photographs (1994-2000).  It has become for me something of a rite of purification.  By cropping the image to a square I get rid of visual excess and concentrate the image to its utmost essential formal cohesiveness.  This practice could be related to the alchemical practice, "Squaring the circle," the alchemical marriagethe conjoining of opposites--male and female matter, inside and outside, heaven and earth--into the perfect One World, the purest of "Gold" . . . the infinite, God, the Self.   The square is the symbol of perfection, and the circle, a symbol for union, is a recurring visual motif in the collection of my square photographs.  See images #2, 3, 8, 37, 38, 39, 40.  

"Squaring the Circle"  

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The Creative Process, Image #8

"Inside-Outside" is another recurring theme within the forty collected images, and often coupled with another related theme, reflections.  For example in Image #8, above, storm clouds over the meadow behind our house is seen through our picture window which is reflecting shapes and colors from the interior of the room I was standing in when I made the exposure.  See other examples of inside-outside images: #3, 6, 17, 18, 30, 32, 33, 36, 39.  

The #30 image, below, is interesting in the way that it is looking from the outside-in.  There was a mirror inside the house, and it was leaning agains a sliding glass door.  The mirror image is bright and luminous, and then we get another reflected image of the outside from the glass door, which is a much darker image that surrounds the mirror image.  The metaphor of the mirror is used frequently in Swami Shantananda's book of commentaries entitled The Splendor of recognition.  Here are some excerpts from his text for you to "reflect" on:  

The Creative Process, Image #30

". . .our very perception of the universe is, inevitably, an act of creation.  This means that the world of our experience, the world in which we live and act and feel, is our own manifestation. . . .  Like a mirror, virmarsa shows us ourselves and our creation."


"She, the primordial Sakti . . . is the seed of all the moving and motionless things which are to be, and is the pure mirror in which Siva experiences himself." 


"Citi is the mirror and the reflection is her creation . . .Citi's universe, of course, is not the reflection of another reality; it is a projection of her own being. . . all takes place within Consciousness, projected onto a portion of her own being.  The diverse forms of creation with all their play are not different from Consciousness or from each other."

Swamiji then asks himself: What does this have to do with me?  "And then I understood that I could view my own awareness as a reflective screen . . . I could consider that whatever I saw (or heard or tasted or smelled or even touched) was received on the mirror of my awareness. . .  Yogis call this perspective 'witness-consciousness,' which is the ability to view one's experiences from the perspective of the supreme Self.  In other words, its as if the yogi were watching all of life on a mirror, the mirror of his or her awareness."

The power, the grace of the symbolic photograph is that it allows us to consciously witness the world we are creating, and then it allows us to go even deeper into that world imaginatively, to its unknown source, which is Citi, Consciousness, That which I Am.  Photographs which lack grace simply describe (mirror) the world we think we know.  

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 The Creative Process, Image #5*

I wrote a commentary on this image in my Introductory chapter for this project.  I find this image to be very mysterious, provocative, attractive, so much so that I consider it, along with my April 12 photograph, a "seed" image for the Creative Process project.  It's blueness is highly symbolic for me (I will explain this further below); the way the square frame is divided vertically into two primary spaces, one being closer, the other seemingly distant resonates for me in terms of the space between theme already mentioned; and the way the vertical structure is balanced and countered by two strong horizontal (slightly diagonal) banded movements, one dark, the other light, creates a cross intersection of opposing visual energies.  And perhaps most importantly, the figurative presence in the left side of the frame is especially engaging and at the same time quite surprising to me since what I actually photographed was a reflection in a window which at the time I took the picture contained no such figurative image. 

The figure is for me a feminine presence, and the entire image is vibrantly alive,   shimmering, the figure could be dancing, and it feels as if it could transform in any moment into something else.  I associate this figure with the feminine, dynamic aspect of Absolute Reality named in the Hindu yogic tradition "Sakti," the creative force of the universe:  She is the primordial Sakti . . . the seed of all the moving and motionless things which are to be, and She is the pure mirror in which Siva experiences himself."  Sutra 1, The Splendor of Recognition 

Her blueness, as I hinted above, is important aspect of the image.  Lord Krishna was blue, for blue is the color of Consciousness, Citi.  Swami Shantanda's teacher, Baba Muktananda, a great yogic saint and founder of the path known as Siddha Yoga Meditation, writes of his "blue vision" in his spiritual autobiography, The Play of Consciousness:  

God has granted me the vision by which I see everything with a slightly bluish tinge.  In India there is a plant that grows wild in the field, and it produces small, light blue flowers.  That is the color of my eyes.  In the scriptures this is called the lotion of Consciousness.  [The great 17th century yogic poet-saint] Tukaram Maharaj said that when this lotion of Consciousness was applied to his eyes, he could really see.  First his vision was limited, and then it expanded.  When it expanded he could not see the world as world any longer.  He could not see people as sinners or as wicked; he could see only God's light everywhere, and everyone appeared to him to be the light of God. 

Swami Shantananda's Meditation Experience of Blue Light
"I was having what I might call an 'average' meditation . . .  Then suddenly, as if from nowhere, there was at the center of my mind's screen an exquisite bluish light . . . I watched its radiance . . . until it expanded to fill my entire inner space. . .  Then I began to notice images were emerging from the light.  An image would arise spontaneously from the light.  It would hover at the forefront of my mental screen for a while and then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, it would merge back into that splendid light.  As I watched the birth of these thought forms, which were made of light and were coming out of light, I was filled with joy. . . I was taking great aesthetic pleasure in seeing them arise and subside.  Intuitively, I recognized that the blue radiance was an expression of my own inner being."

"After I came out of meditation and contemplated what I'd seen, I was awestruck by what it implied: that everything in my mind . . . is a form of blue light. . .  It was the blue light of Consciousness I was seeing, God himself, and the joy that I experienced was his joy--or my own divine joy in watching my creation unfold within me, a creation made of my own thoughts, my own vikalpas.  These appearances were abhasas, the playful flashing of manifestation on the impeccable screen of citi."  

There are many blue photographs in my collection of images for this project.  Besides the #5 image above, see also images #3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 19, 20, 21, 28 and 33.  Surely I was impressed by Baba's and Swamiji's experiences as I made photographed for this project.  I find these blue images hauntingly mysterious, and alive with Sakti.

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The Creative Process, Image #6*

This photograph was made in Turkey in 2011 while traveling in a tour bus.  It is one of the "blue images" I mentioned above, and it's also another reflection image, another sub-theme within the collection of images in chapter 2.  It is also and inside-outside themed image.  (It's fascinating how these various themes so often come together in one image.)  The blue is a reflection on the window of the inside of the bus.  In the blue area there is a constellation of sheep herders, one standing, and two or three sitting together, on the side of a large rocky hill.  A large white cloud is emerging from behind the top of the hill on the right within the lighter blue band of sky tone.  

I had never felt this image quite worked in its original longer format.  The triple banded structure of the image seemed too exaggerated in the longer format.  This more concentrated square version of the images seems just right formally, and has become one of my favorite images in the Chapter 2 collection.  The presence of the blue is important because of its associations with the previous quoted excerpts about the "Blue light of Consciousness."  And this image has both a blue base and a lighter blue top.  The two tones of blue create a strange space with the brown band in between the blue bands.  

The group of shadowy human figures seem to be looking back at me, recognizing my gaze and returning it or at least mirroring my own awareness of them.  Human beings are very special creatures, according to Baba Muktananda.   We are endowed with a consciousness with which we can discover our own transcendent divine Self.  In this regard, I must admit that I associate the standing figure with traditional images of Christ I have seen.  The standing figurer has a special presence for me, and his gaze seems aimed towards me.  And yet there is for me something foreboding or threatening about the darkness of the figure.  It may be the inexplicable nature of the dark blue light in which I see these figures.  And yet, that darkness is countered and somewhat balanced by the rising white cloud on the hill's horizon.  

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The banded structure of the above image is another visual motif which is restated over and over again in the Chapter 2 collection of images.  We saw it as well in Sakti image, #5 above, and we see it in image below, #12.

There is a subtle presence of blue in the #12 image, in the shadows of the far left band below the green shape.  The color is almost hidden; it may help to enlarge the image by clicking on it to get a closer look.  I wanted the blue to be more of a felt presence rather than an obvious visual event.  See also, the following images which share a similar banding structure of the pictorial space: #4, 5, 10, 11, 13, 18, 20, 22, 32, 35, 37, 38.  

What is this formal motif about?  Perhaps, if we view it from an archetypal perspective, it could represent the primordial idea of the separation or the fragmentation of the One into the many that is inherently necessary for there to be a created world.  The banding occurs both horizontally and the vertically as we see in the two images immediately above and below, and it occurs both vertically and horizontally in the Sakti image already discusses.

The Creative Process, Image #12

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The figurative element is for me an important presence in this body of work.  In most of my projects I want there to be at least some human presence in the imagery if at all possible.  I can imaginatively enter the picture space much easier when there is a figure to identify with in the image.

I have mentioned the human figure in the Sakti image #5, and in #6 there are the sheep herders; in image #7 there is a solitary man walking in the night toward an ominous looking bus with its headlights on; and finally in image #38 (below) we a framed snapshot hanging on the back wall of a laundry room which is being illuminated by an oval window.

The figure in the snapshot is Gurumayi Chidvilasananda; she is holding a fawn while looking into the lens of the camera, or in other words, looking into the eyes of the viewer of her image.  My wife Gloria, who is also a devotee of Gurumayi and a student of Siddha Yoga Meditation, put the photograph of Gurumayi in the laundry room.  It is a common practice for students of yoga to place images of their guru (or any other saint) in various locations throughout their living quarters.  The idea has to do with remembrance, that is to say, reminding one's self of the goal of yoga which is exemplified in one's own sadhguru, or true guru, who has achieved conscious union with the divine within one's own Self.  A sadhguru is the human grace bestowing power of God; and one of the ways a true guru transmits grace (saktipat) into another human being is through the eyes, the gaze of the guru.  There are many stories in which an unsuspecting viewer of a photograph of a yogic saint has received shaktipat initiation.

The Creative Process, Image #38

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The Creative Process, Image #4*

What you are seeing here, in this photograph #4, may be difficult to recognize.  A grasshopper was on our front storm door and when I tried to photograph it the camera's autofocus landed instead on the background and so the grasshopper is out of focus.  This is a strangely evocative image for me.  It has some of the mystery I experience in the blue figurative Sakti image.  The grasshopper's strange blurry form becomes an undefinable presence suspended in space in front of a blue colored driveway.  The blurred form intersects, crosses over, and conjoins the lower band of reddish tiles with the upper band of blue driveway.  Insects can be quite a numinous presence in images.  The very word insect, invokes the interior world: intuition, ineffable, initiation, intelligence, intrinsic, invention, intersect, etc.  And the out-of-focus aspect of the insect's form also adds to the strangeness of the image.  When things are noticeably out of focus in a photograph, transformed by the focus, there is can be immediate association with and sense of the unconscious psyche, the part of the psyche that is unknown, perhaps threatening, perhaps out of control.  

I wonder how important it is for other viewers of my photographs to known what it was I "took a picture of" when they come upon images like this, or like the Sakti image for example?  Photographs that lean toward the abstract can be jarring to viewers who expect photography to describe with clarity.  Since I am the one who makes the pictures I often know what I pointed the camera at.  Even if the subject has no name, or if I have transformed the subject matter with post production digital adjustments to a point beyond recognition, I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with the image and its subject matter;  I have befriended the original content to some degree.  Thus when I come before the image for the purposes of contemplation I am not so surprised by the visual challenge it might present to others. 

I have come to really enjoy images that transforming potential of the photographic medium.  For me the abstract and purely formal qualities of an image can liberate the subject--and myself--from the world of appearances and my dependence on knowing what I am looking at.  The transformation often helps me open to the deeper kinds of meaning that do not depend so much on familiarity and words.  Images that carriy an abundance of creative energy (grace, sakti) have a way of carrying on a dialogue with contemplators in silence even despite and perhaps in some cases because appearances have been transcended.  

I have deliberately not titled the photographs in Chapter 2 because I think of these images as symbols, and by their very nature symbols should not be limited by the content that was photographed or by a title imposed upon them.  I felt that if I identified subject matter or offered a poetic or evocative title under the images I could distract a viewer from seeing and experiencing the image on their own spontaneous, creative terms as symbols.  

In general, I would say titles have a tendency to lead the viewer away from the image toward some meaning the artist may have wanted to impose upon the viewer.  For example the artist may have a concept, intention or a poetic reading of their own which they want to share with the viewer through their careful strategy of titling the image.  This practice can be done in evocative ways, that is to say the titles can provoke and enlarge a viewer's field of view, and open doors of possibilities that the image alone perhaps could not have accomplished for some viewers. (Paul Klee's titles, for example, can be quite evocative).  But words can become an obstruction to a deeper engagement with an image, especially if the image has the grace within it open the heart of a contemplator on its own terms.  

I feel I could enjoy and seriously engage a picture with and without a title.  I am willing to consider how the artist is wanting to direct my understanding of the image though his use of a title; and I also feel I can look past the limitations a title might impose upon me and other less sophisticated viewers, and look deeper into myself for responses that transcend the limitations posed by the title.  

The truth is, images have a life of their own despite the artist who makes and presents them.  Contemplation is a means of dialoguing with an image at a level that transcends artistic intention and their desire to "communicate."  

I have never liked the idea that photographs communicate.  The very word implies that the artist has embedded a specific content or meaning in the image that he wished us to come to.  I find this restrictive.  I prefer an image that is evocative in an open ended way.  An image that invites contemplation which can be as much a creative process as is the making of images if one can quite the mind enough so that the heart can open to the hidden meaning within the symbol.  If the image contemplated is a true symbol, the rewards of the process are at once unknown and Self revelatory.  I am much more interested in receiving from the image, and my engagement with it, news of the universe as opposed to the less promising, less generous alternative, "news of an artist."    

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 The Creative Process, Image #2*

This photograph, #2 in the collection, was first published in my Still Life project.  Its another image that approaches visual abstraction.  In fact the image has been "abstracted" from the whole of the original subject, which is a front loading washing machine.  Indeed, most photographs are abstractions, little pieces of an enormous visual world.

On the right edge of the image there is a yellow space, perhaps a tennis ball or some other three dimensional sphere.  In fact what we are seeing is the opened glass door of the washing machine, though not the door itself but rather a reflection of the opened door.  Spatially the yellow round shape seems far away, in a plane of space disassociated from the foreground textures, as if it is the very source of the telescoping energy projecting-out from the distance into the forms of the foreground.  

I associate this quality of projected visual energy and the telescoping of forms into space with the idea  which Swami Shantananda discusses in The Splendor of Recognition regarding "perception as projection,"  Here are a set of related quotes:

Citi's universe, of course, is not the reflection of another reality; it is a projection of her own being. . . all takes place within Consciousness, projected onto a portion of her own being.  The diverse forms of creation with all their play are not different from Consciousness or from each other."  Sutra 2

"A vada is a doctrine or theory, and an abhasa is that which flashes, illumines, appears, or manifests, and it also means "splendor." . . . The Saivite sage Utpaladeva postulates that everything we experience and perceive is an abhasa or a combination of abhasas.  That's like saying everything in life is a projection, a flashing forth, of Reality."    Sutra 3

"By choosing the term abhasa Utpaladeva seems to emphasize two significant aspects of the creative act: on the one hand, objective manifestations are forms of the great light of Consciousness, which illumines; and on the other hand, they are ephemeral flashes, mere projections onto the screen of Citi with no permanent existence.  In spite of the flickering and precarious nature of abhasas, without them there would be no world to perceive."  Sutra 3

" . . . it is the nature of the mind to perceive and experience maya. . . .  [The act of perception] makes the projections of Reality; the abhasas discussed in sutra 3, present themselves afresh in every instant, taking on colors and various forms in accordance with our attitudes and desires. . ."  Sutra 6

There is one last thing I wanted to comment on regarding the image above: it is nearly black and white, or monochrome.   The only color in the photograph is contained in the reflection of the front door of the machine, or the yellow sphere in "the background."  This spatial puzzle with its subtle color coding seems meaningful to me.

There are actually many other monochromatic images in the collection:  see images #1, 5, 9, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.  The word mono means one, alone.  I have been feeling that this image (and others similar to it) is not only a new tendency in my creative process; these images may be announcing a future project direction.  I can almost see, in my imaginative projecting out of possible photo projects, an entire set of photographs that explores in depth the monochromatic image, perhaps with hints of color subtly emerging from within the image.   

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Commentaries On Selected Texts
from The Splendor of Recognition

I am uncomfortable writing commentaries on these text excerpts.  My goal is to show relationships between yogic teachings and practices and my creative process in photographic picture making.  My selection of texts from the larger collection (see Chapter 3)  is interesting in its own right, I think.  I shall consider my commentaries below as a work in process.  As I gain more experience and greater insight I may want to come back to this section and revise as necessary.   SF


Consciousness [Citi] is the cause of the universe.  Only Consciousness is capable of creating the cosmos, and only Consciousness can be the material from which that cosmos is made.  Everything depends on Consciousness.  The creative capacity of all individuals, of all of nature, has its source in Citi and derives its power from Citi.  There is no manifested thing that, in and of itself, has the capacity to create Consciousness without engaging its own power of Consciousness.  Only Consciousness can know herself, as well as everything that takes form within her."  Sutra 1, Splendor of Recognition, Swami Shantananda

 All you need to know is your Self.  If you get to know your Self, you will get to know everything.  The first and formost question is: "Who am I?"  Self discovery is the root of all actions.  The words of Baba Muktananda, from Sutra 1, Splendor of Recognition

The making of photographs that function as symbols is a means to Self Knowledge.  To create in any medium is to mirror the divine impulse to know one's Self.  Symbols are the product of visions of the heart in which we have glimpses of recognition of the true transcendent nature of things, that is to say, everything is Citi, everything is Consciousness, everything is the Self.  

There are two parts to the creative process: the making of symbols and the contemplation of symbols.  Contemplation completes the creative process by consciously unveiling the connection, through the symbol, between the Self and the created world.  

When I have an insightful vision of the world through my photographic creative process, perhaps through an experience of synchronicity, my contemplation of the image allows me to absorb myself back into the experience and more consciously integrate my experience.  I come closer and closer to Self Discovery through the symbols I make and then contemplate.

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". . . our very perception of the universe is, inevitably, an act of creation.  This means that the world of our experience, the world in which we live and act and feel, is our own manifestation. . . .  Like a mirror, virmarsa shows us ourselves and our creation."  Sutra 1, Splendor of Recognition

In the 19th century photography was nicknamed Mirror with a Memory because of it's ability to chemically-mechanically-optically scientifically describe the world.  However one can use the power of the medium to see deeper into reality than the mere surface of things.  Photographs that function as symbols unify the mirroring counterparts of the dual world.  The symbol unveils the hidden Self, Citi, in the appearances of things. 

For me Light is the primary signal which sparks my desire to make a photograph, to make symbolic images.  Subject matter is important in its own limited way, and issues of pictorial form are part of the visual language by which symbols speak to us from the depths of the Self.  But if the light is not making the presence of the Self palpable enough in the world for me to photograph, I will not usually see enough, be motivated enough, to make a photograph.  

I seldom know when I click the shutter of my camera if I am making an interesting or meaningful photograph; I simply see a potential image and feel an intuitive urge to make the photograph.  I make the exposure in the hopes that the image produced will manifest the kind of meaning that unveils the light of consciousness for me. 

A good looking photograph is relatively easy to make; a meaningful photograph, a symbolic photograph, is another thing altogether.  Significant form and content and light, when they come together in a living, dynamic creative process, yields a photographic image which can be a revelation of the mystery of life, that is to say the Self.   These kinds of images--symbols--do more than merely reflect the apparent world; they unveil and reflect the Self.  Looking into a symbolic photograph is a way of seeing deeply into the secrets of the universe, the hidden aspects of Reality . . . the Self.

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Nothing perceived is independent of perception, and perception differs not from the perceiver; therefore the perceived univere is nothing but the perceiver. 

Who is the perceiver?  Swami Shantananda answers: "[it's the Self] . . . the same Consciousness that creates everything it perceives." 

"The act of creation is simultaneously an act of perception.  When I perceive something I am creating it for myself.  The creation lasts as long as I retain it in my perception. . . "   Sutra 1, Splendor of Recognition (all three quotes)

A photograph is a reflection of the photographer's perception, and when an image is being contemplated it is a reflection of the person who is perceiving the photograph.  In either case, we may not be seeing the picture as it is in itself, but rather our own world projected onto the picture.  If the photograph is functioning as a symbol for me in the truest sense, I see my Self in the image.     

When others enter into my pictorial-imaginal world through their perception of my photographs they see what they project into or onto the pictures; they see their own world as they have created it through their perceptions.  The meaning anyone gleans from viewing my photographs is their own meaning, not mine. If the photograph functions as a symbol for the contemplator they will be seeing more than a reflection of the world appearance, they will be glimpsing their own Self.  

This understanding raises serious questions about the issue of communication.  So many photographers say they intend to communicate what they know or believe or feel to others through their images.  I question if photographs truly communicate anything at all.  A photograph provides a screen, a mirror upon which a viewer can project their own content into or onto the image.  

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"In other words, you--your inner being, the Self--can generate a universe out of your own Consciousness.  This is precisely the message of Sutra 1:  Consciousness is the cause of the universe."

After we've experienced a series of related art objects, a movie, a book, a symphony, we often feel we've just encountered another world.  We have imaginatively entered into the created world of another's sensibility and our perception of it.  I sometimes feel after I have completed a body of work that I wasn't necessarily the one who made the images.  Its as if I was simply used by The Creative Process to manifest the symbols that needed to be created.  Through those images I enter into an unknown world, a field of consciousness, that requires deep contemplation.  I try to be mindful that this journey into images at a  deep intuitive "heart" level is an experience of the Self, which is essentially unknowable in the intellectual sense.

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"The sacred texts of Saivism, substantiated by the experience of yogis, state that supreme Reality exists beyond creation while manifesting simultaneously as creation.  Reality is beyond form and also it is form . . . The difference between these two seemingly contradictory descriptions is a matter of perspective.  It all depends on how you look at it." Sutra 2, Splendor of Recognition

This is an extremely important point when it is considered in relation to photographs.  The apparent world of forms is both an illusion and at the same time a symbol for a reality beyond the illusion.  Language has a hard time dealing with these kinds of truths.  The things or forms of the apparent world are alive with spanda, citi-Consciousness.  Photographs can unveil that consciousness in things.  

A symbolic photograph is a very subtle matter of form and content coming together with the grace of intuitive revelation through one's creative process.  In other words, a photograph that function as symbols transforms the appearances of the world, and in that transformation, which is graced with a vision of the heart, the appearances become photographic metaphors for a reality beyond appearance.  

To some extent I have a choice: I can see a photograph as a mere description of the world (mirror with a memory), or as a symbol which provides insight into a greater reality hidden inside appearances and inside me.  "It all depends on how one looks at it." 

But I also have experienced that not all photographs function for me as symbols and thus don't give me a choice.  Images made heart, with grace, offer a higher degree of possibility of insight and revelation.  It still depends upon how I look at the image; but there is something about the photograph itself that makes the mystery of existence, Citi more visibly present and accessible in the photograph to the viewer.  

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 "If Citi did not express herself in creation, how would she know herself as a conscious, vital, creative power?  If God were only the Great Void, isolated in his unity with no worlds or sentient beings, how would he know that he possesses the capacity to create?  It is as a natural expression of this capacity that the ultimate Reality manifests the world of things. . .  As an act of divine creative will, the universe appears."  Sutra 2, Splendor of Recognition

In the primal state of unity there is perfect silence.  No images, no sounds . . . no sensory experiences, no time.  But it is the divine nature, and an expression of Citi-shakit's divine will, to create in order to know Its Self.  The creative process for any artist, working in any medium, is an expression or manifestation of one's divine nature; the inner necessity to create is a process of the free will of Citi-shakti.  To make photographs, or any form of art, is a celebration and a praising of one's own spanda, the pulsation of one's own divine being.    

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"A vada is a doctrine or theory, and an abhasa is that which flashes, illumines, appears, or manifests, and it also means "splendor." . . . The Saivite sage Utpaladeva postulates that everything we experience and perceive is an abhasa or a combination of abhasas.  That's like saying everything in life is a projection, a flashing forth, of Reality."

"All created forms issue forth from the unformed and undifferentiated space of Consciousness."  Sutra 2, Splendor of Recognition

I love Sutra 2, and Swaiji's commentaries on this particular theory of manifestation: Abhasa-vada.  I have actually experienced during the act of photographing a flashing forth of the image at the time of snapping the shutter.  (visit my Story #6 in the Epilogue to my project "An Imaginary Book.")  

The spontaneous moment of recognition that generates the desire or need to make a photograph can be a subtle experience that is barely conscious, or it can be a moment of ecstatic feeling, intense energy and even joy.  There can be a feeling of release that occurs during the making of a photograph.  It can come at any stage of the process: seeing, exposure, the printing or processing the image into its final, adjusted--even transformed presentation state.  

And it can come during the contemplation of the images, looking deeply into them, absorbing the image back into one's deepest levels of the Self.  The felt release is the experience of the pulsations of spanda, the flashing forth of abhasas, the Splendor of Recognition, the conscious experience of the divine Self.  It's an experience that truly affirms and celebrates the life one lives in order to create.  To create symbols and to contemplate symbols is to be fully alive in the conscious presence of one's own Self.  

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"Anything that streams out of the great light of Consciousness is an abhasa. . .  Abhasas are forms of the spanda.  They're what flashes forth when Citi opens her eyes. . . These flashes come forth incessantly and at a fantastic speed. . . . Each pulsation of spanda creates, maintains, and destroys everything."

"Within the Lord's creation we as individuals create our own world through our inner abhasas.  Through our inner abhasas we perceive some objects and not others, we make associations with our past experiences, and so we invest our perceptions with our own meanings.  This, then, becomes our world, and we do live in it.  We have no other."   Sutra 2, Splendor of Recognition

I create the world I perceive, just like Shiva, the Lord, the Creator.  But I often don't know how to consciously see what I'v been projecting out, flashing forth.  Photographs are a means of seeing more consciously what is being projected.   Photographs help me witness my projections; they help me gain distance and detachment, so I can consciously see or witness my seeing, my creations, the Creative Process.   Through my abhasas I perceive meaning relevant to my own Self-created world; others see the same photograph according to their own abhasas, their own Self-created world.  When I contemplate my images, I see beyond my projected world to the source of the projection, to the light by which the projections can be seen . . . 

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"The individual being is a perfect replica of the Lord. . .   In this sutra we find that . . . the universe and we are one and the same. . . every particle of Consciousness contains the whole of creation  . . .  Everything exits within us."  Sutra 4, Splendor of Recognition

The photographs I make are a way for me to begin to make visible and known what has always been hidden from me, veiled, unknown.  Right understanding ("Everything exits within me") and the making of symbolic photographs can change the way I see my world, the entire universe, myself.  The creative process opens my eyes and my heart (the eyes of the heart) to the unknown of the entire universe I always thought was too vast to see.  The yogic sages teach:  I am all That.  The symbolic photograph allows me to pierce into the mystery of That, the mystery "I am That."

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"The universe has not evolved or developed; it has been created, as a whole, in a flash. . . this creation is not a historic event . . . for in the realm of pure creation the principles that generate our experiences of time and space, of cause and effect, do not operate. . .  The experience of aham [I am] is the totality of creation reflected in its own Self."  Sutra 4, Splendor of Recognition

A true symbol is a manifestation of the realm of pure creation.  When I make a photograph, or have a strong response to an image when I am contemplating it . . . time stops.  My mind becomes still.  I am enveloped in silence.   ~   A photograph comes into existence instantaneously, all in one great burst of creative light.  The deep imaginative absorption in a symbol takes the contemplator beyond the realm of cause and effect, time and space into the timeless spaceless realm of the divine Self.  

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"Just as the Self is the one energy that assumes all these forms, so . . . Citi pervades everything equally in all directions; each place is the center of everything. . ."  

"As we recognize the great light that shines in the body, by this very act, we place ourselves within the divine heart and hence in the very center of creation."  Sutra 4, Splendor of Recognition

I have had a strong feeling since the early 1980's that the things of the world have a consciousness very much like my own.  I have made many thing photographs trying to articulate this idea in visual form.  Many poets and artists share my feeling, my experience.  Gaston Bachelard, in his wonderful book The Poetics of Space approaches these ideas, as does Robert Bly in his anthology of poems, News of the Universe.

Bachelard wrote: ". . . every object invested with intimate space becomes the center of all space."  To invest a thing or a space with intimacy is to project one's Self into that thing or space and discover one's Self in the object, in the space.  In that projected identification, that unity of Self and other, we have become the center of our world, that is to say, united with the Creator, united with the universe.  The center of the Self is the divine heart; and all of Creation, all of  the Universe exists in That Heart . . . my heart, your heart.   

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"All meditation techniques attempt to bring the mind to rest on a single point, which stills the mind, thereby allowing the meditator to experience the serenity that lies beyond the mind, in the inner space of Consciousness."  Sutra 5, Splendor of Recognition

The making of photographs is for me a form of meditation, and contemplating photographs is for me a form of meditation.  When I am making and contemplating photographs that get me to the center of my own consciousness my mind becomes silent, my heart opens to the vastness of the Self.  

When I feel a deep longing for something, I am learning to recognize that the longing is for my own Divine Self which dwells in the center of my heart.  The heart is an inexplicable space, a field of being, of consciousness.  

Any work of art that stops my mind and opens my heart is, for me, sacred art.  A true aesthetic experience is a form of praising the sacred presence in all things and places, including the center of my own heart.

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Swamiji shares his experience about the quality of an ever-deeping contemplation in relation to visiting ancient Indian temples.  He writes about how going into a temple, and leaving the busy world outside, is like going deep into the silence of one's own Heart.  I see a parallel here to entering the sacred space of a symbolic photograph through the deepening act of contemplating photographs.  Because I make square photographs I immediately saw the relationship between Swamiji's experience and my creative process in photography.  Swami Shantananda writes:

"What is especially significant for me involves the central section, the inner sanctum of the Indian temple where the [temple] deity is housed.  This is known as the garbha-grha, the "womb house," a name that implies for me a gestation of the grace that is imparted to worshipers who enter this sacred space.  It is usually a square room (the square being the symbol of perfection) with no windows, patterned probably after the caves to which yogis traditionally retire to perform their spiritual practices.  It also represents the cave of the heart, the innermost sanctum in each of us--the place where we, too, retire to have the darshan [inner vision] of our deity, our innermost being."  Sutra 7, Splendor of Recognition

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"Darshan literally means "seeing" and "observing" as well as "examining" and "contemplating . . . At the heart of the term Darsana stands a mystical and devotional experience, an inner vision of the One beneath outer appearances."

"Gurumayi says that on the path of knowledge, the instructions we receive are not meant to be understood easily; they're meant to stop the mind and inspire contemplation."   Sutra 8, Splendor of Recognition

Darshan is the essence of what lies at the deepest levels of an aesthetic experience of a photograph.  Through self effort and grace I have been gifted though my creative process in photography with glances of "the One" beneath outer appearances.  As a contemplator I am gifted with visions of the heart, the inner vision of the One.  These experiences of Darshan, of grace, stops my mind.  The stopping of the mind is a kind of death to the ego, and yet the heart opens when the ego has been effaced.  An open heart is the experience of being truly alive. What I am always seeking and longing for as an artist is the Darshan of my own Self, the Hidden Secrete within my heart.  A photograph that functions as a symbol is the visual embodiment of Darshan.

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"According to [the Saivite sages] the yogi who is able to perform actions with a sense of non-doership--that is, without wanting benefit from them--receives a very special benefit: the experience of being aware of the spanda, the creative vibration of sakti." Sutra 9, Splendor of Recognition

When I make photographs in the (mis)understanding that I am the doer, the creator of the image, I am really creating a growing collection of karmas that keep me coming back into the cycles of samsara, the play of consciousness.  Yogis who long to break free of this self-perpetuating cycle of illusion eventually begin performing spiritual practices and all actions with the awareness that the Lord, the divine Self is the doer.

I have gradually come to have a feeling for this teaching in relation to my practice of photography.  It is more frequently becoming my feeling, after a project has come to completion, that I do not remember how it all happened.  It is as if I did not create the work, that it was somehow created by someone else, or it happened through me; I was used as a facilitator, a medium of the Creative Process.  If I say ""when I made that photograph . . ." or "my photograph" I feel like I have betrayed a trust or told a lie.  My Self in the transcendental sense is the true creator.  This is why I often italicize Creative Process.  The italics are meant to suggest something higher or greater or larger than my ego self.   The creative process has a life of its own, a will of its own.  I serve it best by preparing as best I can and by getting out of the way so It can do what's necessary.   

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"With these five acts--creation, maintenance, dissolution, concealment, and the bestowal of grace--the Lord carries out everything that happens in the universe."

"Concealment is the reason that grace exists. . . . The scriptures state emphatically that the power of grace . . . is divine will itself.  . . . the Lord wills himself to remain separate from his plenitude, and so it follows that it can be dissolved only by another act of divine will [grace]."

"We ourselves perform the five acts of the Lord, including the bestowal of grace. . .  We can confer grace on ourselves through our efforts to pierce the shadow of appearances with the firm understanding I am Siva. . .  I am the one who performs the five acts of God. . ."  Sutra 10, Splendor of Recognition

An ancient Saivite text states: Siva is really all pervading, subtle, above the mind, without features, imperishable, of the form of space, eternal, infinite.  How can such a one be worshiped?  

How do I make photographs of that which is all pervasive and yet without features?  When I say I work intuitively, I really mean I open myself up to grace, to non-doership.  "Let go, let God do the work."  The Divine nature of everything is concealed, hidden, veiled.  A symbolic photograph, a manifestation of grace, a container of grace, and a transmitter of grace, unveils the Divine nature, the One beneath dualistic appearances.  A true symbol radiates the presence of the divine.  Symbols are a from of recognizing and thus worshiping the divine.  

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The Five Acts of Perception
"Rakti one of the five acts of perception as a practice of yoga, occurs when we enjoy the play of the senses being aware that these experiences both arise from and are maintained in the Self." 

 "Vimarsana one of the five acts of perception is the practice of acute attentiveness in which one lifts the veil of separation, glimpsing [the oneness of] Consciousness at the moment of perception."  Sutra 11, Splendor of Recognition

There is often a great joy or pleasure in seeing the world as a potential photograph, especially when there is a sense of having Darshan at the time of perception, that the mystery of life is somehow palpable in the seeing, in the imagined photograph, in the sense that the veil of separation has just been lifted.  That doesn't always happen of course; sometimes there is just a little intuitive hunch that I should make the photograph and discover later what might have been seen on an intuitive level, vision of the heart, that wasn't conscious at the time.  In the contemplation of the finished photograph there can also be that moment of joy in the visual revelation, in the way the image manifests the experience of "the oneness of Consciousness" which is the true meaning of a photograph that is functioning as a symbol.  

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"To comprehend the full power of matrika [letters of the sanskrit alphabet, the words made up of the fifty letters, etc.] we must begin once again at the beginning, with the creation of the universe. . .    how creation manifests vibrationally--through the power of sound, known as supreme speech, para-vac. . . ."

"[We fail] to understand the power matrika has in our lives--the way we get lost in the meanings of the words we hear, both from others and from inside ourselves.  There is a whole constellation of meanings around words; these meanings bring forth responses from us; and these responses tether us to the illusions of the world more effectively than any rope."

"Underlying all the levels of speech is the great light of Conscoiusness, origin of both the words and the objects they name.  Thus all the forms of speech carry weight, for every level is penetrated by the highest, by para-vac."  Sutra 12, Splendor of Recognition

If an image is functioning as a symbol for me I can have a direct experience of the sakti, Consciousness without having first to go through the layers of transformation that originated by the primal sound (OM), then matrika--the letters, words, and finally the things of the world.   The power of the word is a blessing for a poet who knows the power of the symbol; for a visual artist like myself, the power of words can become a great obstacle.  The visual symbol, with it's transforming power of grace, becomes the means of liberation from words.   

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"When I look inward my mind becomes calm.  Then this serene mind allows me to enter . . . a place where I'm in intimate contact with the inner me, the silent resonance of 'I am." . . . Turning within is the essential gesture of all spiritual practice. . . The mind recognizes its own nature as citi, as pure Consciousness. . . . In other words, the mind stops identifying with the thoughts and feelings--formed of the words it produces incessantly . . ."

"The main effort on this path is to let go of all traces of 'mental activitiy' and to enter again into the vast space that is avikalpa, 'free from thought.' . . . With this movement, we dissolve the binding effect of matrika-sakti at its very source, the profound silence of the unuttered divine speech."  
Sutra 13, Splendor of Recognition

A poet once wrote that contemplation is seeing outward things inwardly.  I like this idea very much.  It is what photographing intuitively is all about for me.  I see the world through "a serene mind" --  the inward space of the heart, the silence of the Self.   Also, Seeing Photographically, that is to say, seeing the outer world as a possible photograph, takes me inside as well, inside to the Imaginal World.  This is a mediated version of witness consciousness, seeing the world as an image "free from thought"  --  free from the binding effect of matrika-sakti.  

When I look at a photograph and it silences my mind, I am graced with the opportunity to experience "the profound silence of the unuttered divine speech."

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". . .the very act of perception demonstrates beyond a doubt who is having the experience.  We are Siva, the only one who possibly can take in what he himself has created.  This is why we are such great devourers of experience. . . . Contemplating the nature of our own perception is the key to recognizing ourselves as one with everything."

"As a yogi gets closer to his goal, the flames of Consciousness grow higher and glow with greater intensity forming . . . a circle of luminosity that envelopes the triad of perception--knower, knowledge, and known.  The yogi then perceives the entire universe as that luminosity. . .  As we know, all forms and thoughts are nothing but Consciousness.  The fire is the light of your own Self. . .  this great light consumes all manifoldness, all binding thoughts in the same way the flames of the yajna [yoga fire ritual] reduces all the offerings to one mass of ashes." Sutra 14, Splendor of Recognition

Sacred ritual had lost it's power for me until I got into Siddha Yoga.  The yogic rituals I have experienced on this path have been very powerful because they are performed with great devotion.  The Creative Process, and photographic picture making has become a sacred ritual for me, a yogic practice that silences the mind.  

In this sutra Swamiji writes extensively about the power of the yogic fire ritual, the Yajna.  I like the image of the circle of luminosity that envelopes knower, knowledge, and known.  The saints of all spiritual traditions speak of the transformation of the world into light.  I don't think this is just a metaphor.  But photography is about seeing the light of the world and transforming the ordinary world of appearances into the grace-filled symbol.  Seeing photographically does eventually lead to the experience of synchronicity, and the sense of transcendence or transformation which the image as a symbol is empowered to invoke in the contemplator.  The symbol-- the purist form of image--is an image that glows with the ritual fire of creation.  It burns with the light of consciousness, with Self Knowledge.

Note: I have written about sacred art, ritual and creativity in various chapters of my project "An Imaginary Book."  Visit the Preface.  "An Imaginary Book" is a large project initiated by a mysterious experience I had while viewing a collection of illuminated Qurans in a museum in Istanbul.  The project is an exploration of my creative process in relation to Islamic sacred art.

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"Instead of producing a sense of separation, the purified senses of an enlightened yogi perceive the Great Light shining within all created objects.  Each perception vibrates with the ecstasy of the Self, enjoying the world of its own creation.  What is perceived in the mind and what is perceived outside are no longer two different realities.  Citta, the mind, has become citi, Consciousness."  Sutra 16, Splendor of Recognition

This is the goal of yoga: union with the Self.  A symbolic photograph is a visual union of archetypal counterparts.  They give us a hint of the unity consciousness that is ultimately possible with the support of the grace of a true teacher.  

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"When you receive shaktipat, divine initiation from the Guru, your kundalini energy is awakened within.  Your eyes are opened to an inner world that you never knew existed.  You see familiar things in a new way. . . The miraculous begins to envelop your existence; and you cannot tell if all this beauty is coming from the inside out, or the outside in."  Gurumayi Chidvilasananda   Sutra 17, Splendor of Recognition

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"The first and simplest method for expanding the center is the dissolution of thoughts. . . [Another] method . .  is one of watching--simply watching--for the beginning point or the ending point of the breath, the pause that occurs when the breath itself 'turns around.'  It's the point at which one breath has ceased and the next has not yet begun."

" . . . there is great attainment to be found in this space between the breaths. . .  In fact, the 'point at the beginning and the end' can also be the pause between two thoughts, two emotions, two physical movements, two states of mind.  It can refer to an interstice that appears within any dichotomous activity.  Any of these spaces that are bracketed by two actions can serve as an entry point into the vast realm of Consciousness." Sutra 18, Splendor of Recognition  

The space between has been the initiating "mantra" (idea, visual direction) for this entire project.  My very first  photograph for this project, and which became the "seed image" for all the work that has followed was about the space between two glints of light.  See the image, April 12, 2014  Click here--Fig. 2   

The space between photographs is also an important concept in my work especially when it comes to the process of presenting a series of photographs in an exhibition, in a book, on a webpage.  As I look at one picture, and then the next, I carry the remembrance and the experience of the one image over and into the perception of the next one, and then a subtle in between image imaginatively forms from the experience of the two.  A silent dialogue occurs in the space between two pictures, and the contemplator who can silence his mind can "listen" to the dialogue, and imaginatively, silently join in the conversation.   

Sutra 18 states that immersing one's self in the space between any two things . . . for example between two photographs . . . is an entry point into the vast realm of Consciousness.   This is a very important part of the creative process for me.  

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"Samadhi is a natural function of the mind. . . it is the mind that  experiences itself as God.  It is the mind that realizes its own identity with the Self.  . . . by dwelling on the memory of any glimpse of samadhi we may have had and by returning to our memory of it again and again . .  we are all able to learn how to remain in that state."

"The path of pratyabhijna, the path of recognition, [the path of the Heart] is this repeated remembrance of our own highest nature. . . "   Sutra 19, Splendor of Recognition  

The Creative Process is a natural function of the mind, the song of the soul which yearns for union with the Self.  My practice of making photographs as a form of spiritual practice is a way of recognizing and remembering who I truly am.  My symbolic photographs, and my experiences of contemplating them, give me repeated glimpses into the wholeness of being, an imaginative-experiential form of samadhi.  

I return again and again to certain images that are particularly meaningful to me, images especially alive with creative energy, sakti.  These images affirm what my goals are as an artist and as a student of yoga.  I remember these images, and they lead me to the recognition of the next image I must make . . . and then the next.  Absorption in the symbolic image becomes absorption in the Self. 

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Gurumayi speaks of the longing for Samadhi:  Pratimilana [absorption in the Self] is the song of the soul.  The soul wants to be reunited. . . .  I am Siva.  My body is Siva.  Everything about me is Siva.  Siva is inside, Siva is outside.  I am Siva.  Siva is me. . .  When the heart aches, it aches with the longing to be one with Siva.  It is this awareness that makes it possible.  

Baba Muktananda wrote: God has granted me the vision by which I see everything with a slightly bluish tinge. . . . In the scriptures this is called the lotion of Consciousness.  Tukaram Maharaj [The great saint of India] said that when this lotion of Consciousness was applied to his eyes, he could really see.  First his vision was limited, and then it expanded.  When it expanded he could not see the world as world any longer. . . . he could see only God's light everywhere.   Sutra 19, Splendor of Recognition

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"Now we have come full circle, returning to the evocative term that provides a name for  the core of teachings we've been contemplating: pratyabhijina. . . which clearly conveys a return to knowledge.   . . . in the universe there is one knower, one knowledge, and one known.  Pratyabhijina, then, is the knowledge of the knower turning back to know itself.  The light of the Self reflects on itself, always turning to its own rapturous presence as the only knowledge that exists.  In the impeccable space of the heart . . . every action is an act of worship, and all perceptions are forms of meditation."   Sutra 20, Splendor of Recognition

The symbolic photograph is a means by which, with grace, the Self reflects upon itself.  These dynamic images of unity which arise spontaneously, in a flash of recognition from within "the impeccable space of the heart" are at once forms of meditation, forms of praise and forms of worship.  Symbolic photographs are reminders of the truth of unity in which there is only one knower, one knowledge, and one known:  I Am That.

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This ends my commentaries on text selections from Swami Shantananda's wonderful book: The Splendor of Recognition.  

If you enjoyed these text excerpts please see the complete set of excerpts collected at:
The Creative Process  ~  Chapter 3 ~ The Splendor of Recognition 

Also be sure to see the text excerpts I included in Chapter 4:
The Creative Process  ~  Chapter 4 ~ The Symbolic Photograph and the Imaginal World


This project was announced on the Welcome Page 
of my photography website 
on July 4, 2014
latest revision July 16, 2014

Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.