Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Portraits of Nature, Tree - Series 1

This is a series on Trees which I started in 2009. It had been featured in Hotels and Residential developments.


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Captured in Fort Canning one early morning. The twisting of the branches and the layering of the leaves, at a certain height, leaves of various forms and sizes,
produce this magnificent sight. Looking up, I felt the grandeur of nature, mesmerized, absorbed and danced to its sway. A great day lies ahead.
We are always humbled and awed at the magnificent beauty of nature. Watching nature is a meditative process. We derive peace and a sense of oneness with
the mysterious Cosmo. Through it we see our desire and learn to lose them. Through it we cleanse ourselves of our cluttered thoughts and worries; we become crystal clear. As we look up, we see clearly the escalation and layering. And, eventually, we find peace.


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It is uplifting looking at the Bodhi tree with the sunlight penetrating from behind its leaves. The luminosity and the swaying of the leaves captivates one’s attention. Perhaps it was for the same reason that Siddhartha Gautama sat beneath it and achieved enlightenment.
In Sanskrit, Bodhi means “to awake, become aware, notice, know or understand”, commonly translated as “enlightenment”. In Greek it means “Nous”, a faculty of the mind which helps to understand the world. Perhaps, the intuitive awareness of things around us is as important as our understanding of the world through rationalization. Observation is an immediacy between us and nature. Be mindful.


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It gives me a calming effect and persuade me to sway
with life rather than struggle against it. Often life has
been described as a form of struggle. The Chinese
idiom described life as liken to a boat paddling against
the current, it either moves forward or gets carried away
by the current. Perhaps, being with the flow of things
could be a good thing. Who knows?
Being constrained by a certain urban myth, at times, can
be limiting. Perhaps, drift with nature, be adventurous,
and receive nature’s grace.
Flow. And be at Peace.


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In darkness our
imagination runs wild.
Without the twinkling
stars, nor north stars, we
lose our orientation,
without a companion, lost
overwhelms us. We
should light up within.
Our lights, in us, would
be brighter and brighter as we gain faith and strength.
We persevere and we know tomorrow will be just as
bright as another day, the night is always spent when we
rest, lest we become restless.
The title alludes to ‘Starry, Starry Night’, by Vincent
where the stars illuminate in saturated fury. Don
McLean aptly described the feeling in his song ‘Vincent’.
‘Starless Night’ is about our darkest moment and only
we, with faith, could free ourselves. And lead us out of
the darkness, let there be light within.
Kev Ryan has this to say,
“The more and more I look at this image the more it
connects with the words....more than the words.. but
what lays behind the words emotionally...those dark and
difficult moments of which you speak...those personal,
intimate challenges that take us to the edge of our being
and become long nights of the soul....the deep blue and
the shapes and inter-connectedness of the branches
resonate with me at some if I am re-member-ing
a past experience and maybe where I looked to in order
to resolve the conflicts within.”


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The intense whiteness contrasting with frenzied dark
strokes, of tree branches, delight and bath us with their
starkness and complexity. One see nakedness. Without
the leaves, one can trace their journey towards the sky
reaching for more sunlight. Searching. Don’t we all
search too. We never cease to search. The search itself
is our destiny. Remove all the disguises and we see
what matters most in our lives. To be true to ourselves,
is not easy.
Bruce Lee said it well,
“ ... but to express oneself honestly not lying to
myself, ... that my friend is very hard to do.”
When we are true to ourselves we will be fulfilled.


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When light dazzles us. We are blinded. And yet in that
blindness, we see clearly the shadow. They become
visible. We clarify in darkness. Didn’t we in our darkest
moment, realized, received enlightenment, came to
terms, and knew our priorities. We smile at our own
stupidity and naiveness, which had been frustrating, but
now they all seem that meaningless and trivial.
We laugh in the blinding light and yield from darkness.
We declare, darkness is great, as we had seen beyond
the dazzling light, piercing into the shadow, and distill
the virtues from adversities. Blinding pain heightens our
lives. It completes us.

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