Monday, August 2, 2010

Other Practices

I have begun a new spiritual practice, not meant to replace meditation but to add to my day - Ikebana:
The Japanese art of formal flower arrangement with special regard shown to balance, harmony, and form.  [Japanese : ikeru, to arrange + hana, flower.]
Taking a photo of the arrangement I made this morning also lent itself to working with, I have to say it, focus.  I got the image above in one shot that looked like it was in focus on the small display of my old digital camera.  A technically adept friend has advised me that digital makes it possible to take a thousand shots and find the good one.  He's right, I guess, however much I'd like to make one perfect shot.  But even if I'm taking a dozen shots, I need to stand still and regard the slant of the shadow, the very tip of the longest blade of grass - and put the camera on the tripod.

In the simple Hana arrangement above I used saw grass I found cut down in the church’s Oriental garden, and Queen Anne’s Lace from a bouquet my friend Gini brought me after my hospitalization.  It grows in her spacious back yard, along with some yellow mum-like flowers whose name we don’t know.  After a week (or two?) all but one of the yellow flowers were turning brown. That last one went in front of the Buddha on my little altar.  He likes contemplating the beauty in life and death cycle of a flower.  This particular anonymous flower sheds its petals, leaving a little mandala you can see here in front of his shoulder.

Buddha, taken after I learned all over again how to use the tripod and how to suppress the flash.  Then I learned again how to download the camera, all this providing an exercise in patience and another example of Murphy's Law.  What is wrong with me to forget these things?  Who knows?  Another good saying.  No one can untangle the countless causes behind change.

After all that exertion, I see the focus here is on Buddha's face, and the flowers are out of focus.  That's not what I intended and thought I got.  I am compiling reasons to buy another camera, a rechargable one with a bigger display screen so I can actually see what I've got.  That is going to lead me to examine my checking and credit card accounts.  In this way, in my day, things lead on to other things, a large network of things I have to do and want to do.  That sounds like desire contained in self-discipline, so it comes back to Zen.

1 comment:

  1. The photos are lovely. I took a florist arranging thing/class YEARS ago for an entire year and one segment was Ikebana. The woman who taught us was very Japanese and would use the phrase "heaven, man and earse." She said all Ikebana have these three elements.

    From your post, you are not only gaining knowledge in the practice of Ikebana but more practice in digital photography and finance and like you said self discipline, back to Zen. Interesting how things work out that way.