POSTCARD #221: Bangkok: Looking through these amazing photos from Jiab, now in Bhutan; mountain peaks disappear among the clouds. In the process of editing, I discover a curious arrow shape in the clouds, just to the right of the place where the sun is breaking through. Also to the left of the arrow point there’s the same form of another arrow shape breaking up into formlessness. It reminds me of the great wheeling patterns, above and over your head, seen in the cloudscapes of the North of Scotland where they have so much rain. It’s a small example of this kind of clockwork of interconnecting wheels created by vast and compex air currents that is seen here.
Something revealed when you crop the original, and attention is focused on the smaller elements contained in the image. Like discovering a window within a window and things are revealed that weren’t obvious at first glance. A small perceptual jump, the process of (eye + the object seen) is not a fixed thing, it’s flexible. I can say, yes I’ve seen it and yes I know what that’s about but that’s just the memory deciding what it’s going remember, what it’s going to recreate in the mind – there is no memory, just the act of remembering [Nyanaponika Thera]. What’s needed is the investigation, the motivated enquiry that just falls into shape when things are examined in more detail.
Also seen in Jiab’s next picture here; a group of people sitting on the steps of a public building. Photo taken because of the colourful costumes and painted building features. Zoom into a curiously emphatic conversation between two men; the man on the right seems to be interrupting the man on the left and somehow dismissing what he is is saying. There was something about this that seemed meaningful… then I suddenly saw it: they are deaf. What we are seeing is the language of the deaf, a visual system of facial expressions accompanying ‘signing’. How do I know this? I was a teacher of the deaf in a former life; seven years in London schools and adult evening classes. I used to know all this and how to fix hearing aids – a closer look at the photo reveals a man in profile in the background wearing a hearing aid. So this must be a group of signing deaf people waiting for the building to open and chatting among themselves.
These days I seem to pause in between things and fall into a contemplation of images like these with their connected meanings (yoniso manasikara). Pictures appear in the mind that have no words, just fall into a sequence. A story unfolds…
Right attitude allows you to accept, acknowledge, and observe whatever is happening – whether pleasant or unpleasant – in a relaxed and alert way. […] You are not trying to make things turn out the way you want them to happen. You are trying to know what is happening as it is. [Sayadaw U Tejaniya]