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I pulled into a shaded spot and jumped out.  The light was beautiful filtered first through the summer storm clouds then again through gently swaying branches and leaves.  I was eager to get out the camera and start to photograph flowers illuminated by this dancing light.  I grabbed my tripod and camera bag took a few steps towards the flower beds glowing in that light and stopped dead in my tracks.  “O damn! Columbine!” I muttered under my breath.

As I stood there stunned, startled, and indecisive about what to do I caught myself.  “Aren’t I supposed to be open?”  “What happened to all that buddhist beginner’s mind stuff,” I asked myself?  With a sigh and shudder I lumbered over to the flower bed, plopped down my body and gear and starting gazing. 

Columbines!  Spikey, angular, and oddly shapped I looked glumly and in the space of a moment or two the thought arose: “I hate Columbines.”  But then quickly the question arose – “why do I hate Columbines so much?”  I waited holding open space for a wiser voice to respond to the question, and it did.  “I hate them because I do not know how to photograph them.  They intimidate me.”  I laughed as I perceived the judging mind at work throwing up impossible conditions and expectations that if believed, would make it impossible to appreciate much less have any fun photographing Columbines. 

Then it hit me – the proverbial lightening bolt from beyond:  “Obviously if I have no clue how to photograph Columbines, than any and everything I do will be perfect.”  And so it was.  And so an important insight into the nature and experience of Beginners’ mind occured.  I spent a good time with those Columbines.  I had fun.  Gifts and a few good images were given to me and I was then and now, grateful.

Each time one puts the camera to their eye, one truely does see for the first time.

Initially there is hardly anywhere I’d rather be than sitting in some simi-shaded spot on a bit of cool earth in some garden or flower patch, deep in concentration and deep in love – loving the beauty surrounding me and concentrating on photographing the flowers arrayed before me….Alive and aware. Of sensory consciousness, of breathing, of the dull ache in these old knees, but blissfully empty of thought, stories,  judgments and expectations.  Just being open.  Just practicing being clueless – letting go of judgment and expectations of self…of….Others….of Columbines.

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