The (seemingly) Mundane

Morning light, living room.

Morning light, living room.

What lens are you looking through?

Imagine yourself walking a city street. You have a simple errand to perform. Go here, get this thing, and return. Depending on your world view, it can be an enjoyable and adventurous task or a nightmare.

In scenario one, the adventurous task, you start off with simple gratitude that you can walk. You may even encounter a fellow human that is elderly, stooped over, barely crossing the light in time, having a relatively rough go of it. Or you may notice someone who has given up on the idea of walking, circling for an empty parking space in their car, frustrated and agitated.

You, on the other hand, have the energy and strength of limb to point yourself in a direction and get there. You may not always be so abled. Old age, disease, injury or other circumstances could to hamper your ability to be a city pedestrian. Do you feel smug in your blessings and move on? No, you start to notice that the old woman walking in the crosswalk is doing so in good humor, trying her best. You smile at her and assist her up on that difficult last curb step. She thanks you, and you have a short, pleasant exchange.

Both you and she have an excellent shot at having a good day because of the lens you have chosen to view the world through.

In scenario two, the nightmare, you are resentful, distracted, worrying about some aspect of your existence you find vexing. You expect others you encounter to understand your impatience, you sigh with resignation, grit your teeth and persevere. This light takes forever! You find yourself punching the walk button with more force than necessary. That woman turning out of the driveway doesn't see you, she almost runs you over. You notice with a certain perverse satisfaction that she is illegally talking on her cell phone. See? The world is going to hell in a hand basket. This city is annoying, and it is only going to get worse. When you are expected to wait your turn in a line, you roll your eyes and tap your foot. Don't they know you have better things to do than this?

You return exhausted, depleted. Your mission to wrest personal satisfaction from this world is a disaster. Perhaps you'll have better luck tomorrow.

Scenario one highlights a sense of oneness with humanity, with the flow of nature. Scenario two focuses on separation, on lack, on competition.

The choice of which lens to use is always yours to make.

I am a light junkie. I am always cognizant of the quality of light nature provides and the wonderful way it plays with my mood. For all of its apparent faults, the city displays never ending subtly shifting light. When I notice this and honor this, even the most snarled up traffic situation or blighted urban surroundings have qualities that I can appreciate.

Boat on the Ganges, Vrindavan, India.

Boat on the Ganges, Vrindavan, India.