In the course of the life I’ve spent looking deeply into nature for answers, the wisest answers have often been the simplest ones. The most basic observations have often become the most profound.
One of the wisest and simplest principles is this: what you water, grows. Nature shows us the principle in the relationship of plants and rain. Mindfulness practitioners and gardeners—who are often one and the same—show it to us in related forms.
Watering seeds works equally with perceptions and emotions as with gardens and forests. If what I water is my focus on what’s wrong with the world, I begin to see the problems more acutely, at the expense of my ability to see what’s beautiful and natural. The problems then grow, which feeds the cycle. I will have watered the poison plants at the expense of the flowers.
If instead I choose to focus on what’s right with the world, I begin to see more and more that’s beautiful, in harmony, peaceful, loving. And that in turn begins to nourish the positive growth. Looking through a camera has helped me immensely in that process, because when I look closely enough at someone or something, seeking the art in their essence, they become more and more beautiful as their art is revealed. For that reason, I sometimes photograph the most rough details of urban places, so that I can find and celebrate what’s right within even what seems to be desperately wrong. When I do that, a little more of what’s right takes root. When I also do that with ones I love, the qualities I love in them flourish.
The nicest compliment about my photography was from a stranger who was overheard to say, “This guy sees beauty in everything.” That’s my life celebration goal. And when we all celebrate together, we truly see the remarkable beauty that’s already real and right now, indeed in everything.