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The Paradox of Permanence © Alison Beste

Zen Camera: Seeing and the Five Visual Elements of Photography

Each of us has in our possession a powerful and time-honored way of knowing about the world. Observation, direct perception in the present moment, teaches us about ourselves and others and helps us interpret the many dynamics that surround us. It shapes our response to the world and forms the basis for both knowledge and action. In one’s way of seeing lies one’s way of action. —Alfred Stieglitz, photographer Both […]

Nickel Tailings, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada © Edward Burtynsky

Photography for Social Change

After the election of November 8, 2016, a healthy majority of Americans feel fear and despair over the impending erosion of our constitutional liberties, the potentially shattering setbacks for our hard-won civil rights, and the likely acceleration of environmental catastrophe. Many people are asking where are we heading? What have we done? And the most important question: What can we do to avert the potential consequences of social and environmental […]

© Rachmad Sofyan© Rachmad Sofyan

Art and Self Knowledge

Who Am I?Know Thyself.” Socrates words resound with an inner force as clear and direct as their first utterance over twenty-five centuries ago. These two simple words lie at the heart of the world’s great teachings and have had a profound impact on the thought and inquiry of western civilization. What do these powerful words really mean? How do we approach this vast and essential task? And for our purposes: […]

© Kanani Ann Daley© Kanani Ann Daley

Spiritual Practice for a New Generation

Part OneAs a spiritual seeker, and as a guide and mentor for some, I hold many questions about the state of spiritual practice in today’s world. Many authors and teachers have shared acute observations about the “flatlining” of modern society — that many don’t acknowledge any reality higher than what can be perceived directly by our senses or by the means of scientific inquiry. Myth and magic, religion and the […]

Makapu‘u Lighthouse © David UlrichMakapu‘u Lighthouse © David Ulrich

Education and the Cultivation of Wisdom

An Ever-present Invitation to Ever-greater OpennessAs an educator, I face the question daily: In what way can modern education contribute to the cultivation of wisdom and the search for clarity of thought and perception? Many of my students have confided in me that striving towards independent thought, emotional understanding, and direct perception are noticeably absent from most of their educational experiences in school — and that they are looking for […]

© Alison Beste, Aina Haina

Intimations of Infinity

Visions of Hawai‘iWhen I look out the window of my home, towards Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean, I see infinity. I can see as far as the distant horizon allows. Often, the ocean and sky blend together into a featureless, luminous field of color and light. I see this daily and it enters my consciousness deeply. It changes me in ways I cannot quite identify. I am constantly reminded […]

Portrait DU 2011 © Pua LoganPortrait DU 2011 © Pua Logan

Into the Heart of Vision

I recently completed a memoir/essay, Longing for Light: Into the Heart of Vision, about learning to see, a process necessitated by losing my right dominant eye to an impact injury in 1983. As a photographer, the experience was painful and traumatic — like nothing else I have experienced — and a profound learning experience. Many years of inner work preceded the injury allowing me to treat the suffering as part […]

Escalante Falls, UT © David Ulrich

Deep Perception

Cultivating the Art of SeeingWhy must we learn to see? Can we learn to open the gates of perception? We have lost something very special: the ability to engage life richly and fully through a concentrated, directed awareness. I believe that the one of the most dangerous elements of modern life and of our contemporary educational system is found in the rapidly decreasing attention span in our selves and our […]