Peace on Earth
The Ganges River flowing between the hills, and the sunset, has always created magic in Rishikesh. I have always experienced calm when I have sat by the water at dusk. I’ve spent evenings sitting by the riverside, as the sun goes down, creating magic in the sky. This is when I experience the peace on earth, and all is well with the world. Sometimes, I sit by the water, ignoring the camera, enjoying the play of nature.
But we live in the real world, and peace does not always spread its wings and wave its magic wand to make all our problems disappear. As I write this, I also realize we must take these moments of calm whenever we can. Sometimes, it feels as though we are stealing these moments of peace, and I ask myself the question, ‘Why not?’
Thich Nhat Hanh died on the 22nd of January, and he is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who popularized the concept of mindfulness. Even though some Western practitioners believe mindfulness originated with the Buddhists, mindfulness is not an exclusive Buddhist preserve. We can argue and quibble, but every religion, region, and philosophy recommend mindful behavior.
So, when I sit by the banks of the Ganges, I realize there is peace on earth, and I am tapping into some ancient mystical spirit.
I remember this man. I remember him standing by the side of the River Ganges with the sun dipping over the horizon. He stood and swung his rope rhythmically, lost in the moment. I follow an animist belief system and was immersed in his activities. I was only conscious of the peace on earth.
At that moment, as other people sat watching him, or the river, or the sun, I knew everything under the sky was in tune. Yes, I understand this line is from Pink Floyd, but it fits here.
When you are sitting without making a sound, in moments like this, everything fits together. And he stood, waving that rope in the air, swirling it round and round and round. When I look back at that evening, I remember hearing nothing but the sound of the river and the evening breeze.
I Was Not Always This Way
Now the time has come to make a confession. Much though I’d like to say that I’ve always been like this, I know it would be a lie. There was a time when I was a hard-charging executive, with no time for anything but business.
I had listened to Donovan’s song, “Slow Down World”, but it didn’t make sense to me, except for a theoretical pleasure in the lyrics. Then, I discovered Thich Nhat Hanh, and his books, “The Miracle of Mindfulness” and “Peace is Every Step”.
These days, this makes increasing sense to me.
A Note on The Edits.
I edited these images first in Lightroom Classic. I am not given to using templates and presets and avoid them unless the image demands it. These days, I apply a linear profile to the images in Lightroom, and then work from this point. When I do this, the image looks lifeless and at first, something appears to be wrong. However, when you edit the images, then you realize that the linear profiles give you tremendous flexibility and power.
After this, I took the images into Photoshop, and applied the final edits and finishing touches. If you are interested in linear profiles, go to Tony Kuyper’s website, and check them out. You will find him at https://goodlight.us
My Camera & My Chai
It is on this trip that I conceived of the “My Camera & My Chai” series of blog posts.