Living Meditation

A Living Meditation - Do As Little Harm To Future Generations As Possible

Sustainability and living a greener life are significant causes to me. I do not think that I can live a life that is entirely environmentally true. But I do think that I can lead a life in which I place a continuous effort into living in such a way that will do less harm to future generations.

“How do I fit into the conscious solution and not the unconscious problem.” Author unknown

The one constant point that keeps reoccurring in the ongoing debate about global warming and/or climate change is that change will happen. Be it of the Earth process itself or that of mans’ actions, life will not be the same for future generations. By future generations I mean my ancestors for the next 10,000 years. I trust that my daughter and future grandchildren will be fine. That there is enough of everything left on the planet for them (including fossil fuel, food, technology). I do fear that they will see mass destruction like no other generation before them. On mutually different fronts from global perspectives to political upheavals the humankind will not be the same.

I place effort into buying organic and local foods, driving less when possible, changing regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent, using green friendly cleaning products in my home, supporting green dimes to have trees planted, recycling and composting, turning off lights and electronic devices when not in use and some day I will buy a hybrid car. In no way am I perfect at any of those items, I rarely compost, I find it hard to buy local foods, I drive a lot and I cannot even conceive how I could afford to be carbon neutral.

Nevertheless my actions and footprints that I leave behind will cause some harm. The living meditation, “Do as little harm to future generations as possible”, will hopefully become a path that I and my future ancestors will follow. In the end my intentions are that with daily effort, knowledge and inspiration there will be little harm done to future generations.


Borders & Craig Photography

You can now purchase Fine Art Cards featuring my Pittsburgh at Night series at your local Pittsburgh Borders. If you live outside the Pittsburgh area and cannot find the "Pittsburgh at Night" fine art card at your local store simply ask the manager to order them.

Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 3 sec (3)
Aperture: f/18
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV

P.S. A special thank you to The Painted Veil for the kind words.



Autumn is such a gift; the weather is always seasonably warmer than you remember. The colors of the trees and cloud-filled skyline are that of a surreal painting. The air smells clean with the aromas of life that is only found at this time of year. The autumn wind has warmth leftover from summer that I have found comforting. Noticing the black nighttime skies with ambient glow from the stars seem to be an autumn rite. Few times can I remember looking up at the stars but there’s something about the night autumn winds that forces your eyes up to notice the splendor. Even the heavens and the galaxies wake-up to enjoy the autumn time of year.

The odd thing about autumn is that with beauty there is the precursor of the season of dying. Winter, the time of rest for Mother Nature. We know that the beauty of autumn will not last. In the end I guess that is the double lesson of autumn. Take pleasure in the magnificence.


Gratitude Journal

- Late night photo shoot with good conversation.
- Good news from my doctor
- Think About, Inc website that was forwarded to me. Thank you…
- My wife for sponsoring a child through Christian Children’s Fund


Language, Motion, Rhythm

On completion of Oliver Sacks book Musicophilia I have taken away that the brain is seeded with three fundamental ingredients for whole-brain thinking.

Language (narrative - self), Motion (social-cultural), rhythm (music - nature) – Are the three ingredients that we are born with to establish whole-brain thinking. In the parentheses I placed how the essential three would place in a comprehensive, all-inclusive worldview. All three of them overlap with one another but that is the point of whole-brain thinking, a broader perspective. Accepting that nature has a rhythm, and culture has motion, and language is understating our own narrative, is a means for our personal betterment.

Out of these essential three, two of them get dropped as the years go by: motion and rhythm. Our education system cuts arts and athletics programs due to financial reasons. In adult life music/art and exercise take a back seat to daily employment. I consider that the lack of attention to motion and rhythm to have a dramatic effect on our cultural and nature wakefulness. By disconnecting ourselves from the basic life ingredients we cause ourselves to be less alive and even to create disease within ourselves. Removing motion and rhythm is like removing food and water from our life. Language is evolving; new words correspond with new ideas. Language is used, practiced and enjoyed. No matter what state or stage of life you’re at your vocabulary is growing. The same cannot be said for motion and rhythm.

Rhythm and motion can help save us from different neurological conditions. Similar to how meditation can literally change our brains through mental training. Rhythm, motion and meditation are being recognized as something that takes advantage of the plasticity of the brain. Improving plasticity of the brain is comparable to upgrading your computer, more memory, more speed and better overall functionality.

I am not advocating that everybody play an instrument and join a gym. However I am advocating that we place effort into balancing our lives while improving our rhythm and motion in the sublet parts of lives. Our mind and body are on loan only for a short time. Maximize the experience that we get to have while we have a mind and body to enjoy.


Eye Strain

I have lately started to comprehend how much eye strain I have in my life. I use my eyes a lot, seriously a lot, no joke I use my eyes much more than you. Let me give you a day in the life of my eyes. Ok, first there are all the times I spend with a camera crushed up against my face. Watching auto focus go in and out of focus is a very eye straining experience. Then there is the squinting of using only one eye for the bulk of a photo shoot. Having a flash go off is like having minnie fireworks shot at your eye all day. Then there are the eight plus hours that I spend in front of a computer screen doing the in and out of a photographers life. Computer screen glare, I hate you. Next, I am a reader. I read a lot. Reading leads to eye fatigue. See I told you I use my eyes a lot and I’m not even done sharing my daily sights with you. Then there is all that TV watching that takes up the twilight time of my day. You probably thought that I am not much of a TV watcher. I am. I wish I could watch more TV but there’s not much that I like. LOST (see you in February ‘08), Men in Trees (everybody should watch this show. Please watch this show so they don’t take it off the air), House, Criminal Minds (not much of a fan of this show just more of going through the TV watching motions) and then there’s Sunday NFL (here we go Steelers, here we go). WOW, that’s a lot of eye strain, thanks for understanding…

So, what to do? Well? I could rest my eyes. Not much of an option there, being a photog and all. I could get someone to see for me. They could describe life to me as it happens. Kind of like a sight butler. It might be fun for awhile, probably not much of a long term solution. I could become more light aware. Awareness is the key to happiness! I knew the answer along. I just want to brag about my newly conceived eye strain awareness solution. (Hence the long-winded and whimsical paragraph above).

What is the key to my awareness? Sunglasses… Not much of an epiphany but it will do. The one thing I am finding hard about wearing sunglasses is that fall colors diminish when driving. I love the saturated blend of autumn colors and viewing autumn colors through sunglasses is not natural. It’s a disheartening experience for a photographer who makes his living from color and light saturation to deprive himself from the inspiration.

C'est la vie, eye strain and thankfulness, awake or asleep I have photographic dreams. I guess managing a little bit of eye stain is worth it for all the grand viewings I get.



Current Reading: Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
Current Music: Magic by Bruce Springsteen
Mood: Energized
Sounds: Wind and rain pounding on the window
Smells: Sniff & Scratch
Sights: Gray skies
Temperature: Currently: 67°F Light Rain
Thoughts: Langue, motion and rhythm are essential life fundamentals.

Music & Diet

All the world’s major problems could be solved with proper diet and music. Think about it. It’s hard to start wars if you’re listening to music. When was the last time music caused you harm? Yes, there is the “battle cry of the republic” music but that’s for old people generations ago. Music doesn’t hurt…not even a little bit. Proper diet leads to good health. Good health leads to happiness. With good health you could be dancing to the music. It’s hard to be angry if you’re dancing.

Let’s recap to solve all the world’s problems in three simple steps; Step one put on some music, step two eat a healthy diet, step three repeat steps one and two throughout the rest of your life.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 1.6 sec (8/5)
Aperture: f/18
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV


Gratitude Journal

- My local library for inner library loans.
- Autumn leaves
- Miso soup
- Extra special Father-daughter time that I will be spending this weekend.

Music to Photography

Music is imagination, critical thought, idiosyncratic and recycling. Photography is painting with light. Writing is a release. Composition is the all-inclusive whole of my life. Art is deconstruction.

I have been focusing on music as of late because the reason I am a photographer today is because I played music yesterday. I stand behind the tripod more as a guitar player than a photographer. I revere my compositional history further than I respect the camera that I look through and hold. The camera has always been a piece of equipment to me. For some unknown rationale the guitar or paint brush or a pen has more compositional value and greater life than a piece of equipment. Nonetheless, I respect the light that I gleam through the viewfinder. I find photography to be an inexhaustible passion of who I am today.

Photography is the documentation of life caught in that instant flash. My history is what I see and feel when I raise the camera to my eye. All the knowledge and expertise that came before that photo is captured and released when I fire the shutter.

Early studies in music are memories that have never left me. In second grade I took drum lessons from a man who taught me the foundation of how to hold a stick and how to strike the practice pad. The repetitions and basic skills that were taught to me have developed into the foundation for all future compositional practices. Next in life I discovered the guitar and then I found God. Creation, evolution, beginning and end all made sense to me. The guitar strings have the answers to the universe in them. String vibrations are life. Six strings, a piece of wood and an endless mystery. Writing songs made me feel like a creator. Having people respond to my songs made my ego grow. Hearing my songs on the radio made my ego explode. Constantly, meeting somebody who plays better than me kept me alive and my ego caged.

Why photography professional and not music? I have a natural eye for photography and not a natural ear for music. Perfect pitch is not one of the disciplines that I developed but a natural eye for compositional balance is a gift that has been given to me. Photography is all-encompassing of how I live my life. The minimalist, ambient, documentation approach I developed for my photography is made up by the music I have practiced, the books that I have read and words that I have written down.

The narrative and architecture of past music is the inspiration I stand on today. Hallucinations of sounds play in my head; visions of cropping, lighting, color contrast fill my mind eyes. From a guitar I became a photographer, with a bow of gratitude I will continue the practice.


Why Instrumental Music Is Good For You

Music can help engage whole-brain thinking. “What’s so great about using your whole brain?” you ask. Simply put, exercising a whole muscle verses only partially exercising a muscle is better for complete body/mind balance. (Balance; defined in the integral, all-inclusive use of the word: Is body, mind and spirit in self culture and nature awareness). Why instrumental music? For the reason that it does not tell you how to think or what to think about. It opens up the mind for a comprehensive listening experience. I do not want to make the case that lyrical music is bad. I want to make the case that instrumental music has additional effectiveness for mind and body development growth potential.

The Mozart Effect, Oliver Sacks book Musicophilia, Music has Power organization and countless other institutions have shown how neurology and music enhance the mind and its perceptions to grow, heal and expand. The non-scientific example of why instrumental music works is that it moves the neurons and brain waves in a different manor than they are accustomed to. Opening up more of the brain functionality for expansion, music is the accompaniment of our evolution. Instrumental music has the budding influence to unlock part of the brain that was previously dormant.

Continuing with yesterday’s musical post: we are the only species on the plant that reacts to music in the manner we do. The importance that we place or do not place on the ambient soundtrack of our daily life will have a direct impact on our future wellbeing.


Musical Creatures

We are musical creatures. Music is a biological make-up embedded in our DNA. My daughter is not yet two and she loves to dance to music. We never taught her to dance or even thought about teaching it to her at such a young age. Nonetheless she dances all the time. It was just a natural part of her development as was crawling to walking. We helped out a lot in the crawling and walking department. Dancing was all on her own, sparked by the music. . When music comes on the TV or the stereo the first thing she does is get up and starts swaying to the music. (By the way, let proud father brag, she dances like one those cute Disney penguins from the movies.)

Music is life. It arouses emotions, thoughts, memories. It improves tastes, colors and even smells. It serves as inspiration and blesses the sacred in our lives. What is life if not enjoying the primary senses? Music can heal. Now, music cannot mend broken bones or act as a band-aid, but it can control, mediate and balance our heart rate, brain waves and breath flow for oxygenating our bodies.

Music has carried me on my journey through life, in a best friend type of way. Today I use music in a more ambient art form. I design my life and the background of my surroundings for the music to fit the mood. I practice my yoga and meditation to music that deepens the vibrations of my substance and thoughts. I read almost everything exclusively to Bach: cello suites. I drive to music that is fun. Music at its paramount for me is spent while I am drinking a bottle of red wine and having conversation with my wife.

In the opening preface of Musicophilia it asks what developed first, language or music? My answer: the heart started with a beat.



Current Reading: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks
Current Music: The Toys of Men by Stanley Clarke
Mood: Happy
Sounds: Acoustic bass tracks run through my head.
Smells: Starbucks dark roast coffee
Sights: Autumn leaves
Temperature: Currently: 54°F
Thoughts: I am very excited to be reading Oliver Sacks new book. I have been looking forward to reading it for some time now. I will be posting my thoughts on this book thoughout my reading of it. Music and the brain, fascinating……


Blog Action Day

Today is blog action day, the day that the collective voices of the blog world converses on the same topic... The environment... You can read the official “action blog” here for motivation and inspiration on how you can make a change.

You can read an older post here: Walking Through the Forest for my view on why a culture shift is needed.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1250)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200


Gratitude Journal

- The love of my wife and daughter, big eyes, huge smiles and enormous hugs can help you make it through any dark time.

- Prayers from family and freinds that can be felt, thank you.

- Long, slow yoga and meditation.


Time Off

I will be taking some time off, be back mid next week.

peace, love, & be nice to each other,



Albums, CD'S and Downloads

October 2, 2007 8:15 am I log in to my iTunes account and download the new Bruce Springsteen CD Magic. 9:30 am I am driving in my car listening to the new music.

What satisfaction a download can give to you. Not going to the store, no shrink wrapping that you have to fumble off, and no sticky tape that seals the CD case shut. What and why is that sticky tape stuff even there? It seems so cruel to torture the consumer for buying a new CD to make them go through so much frustration just to open a jewel case. When a steak knife is the main gizmo for opening new CD’s something has got to give.

Do I miss albums? Yes. The album is so cool. Just holding an album makes the music sound better. Drop the needle and play. Albums, although magnificent in their sound perfection, had their problems. They warped, scratched, collected dust and had that snap crackle pop thing happening at the song’s end. However the feeling and memories of my youth are blended right into the soundtrack of each and every album I owned.

Nonetheless, the albums passed to the cassette tape, something I never touched (the young audiophile in me new that they were just a passing phase). Next that little compact disc, indestructible, never skipping (unless you hit a really big bump in the road). I have been buying CD’s since the conception of compact discs, about 25 years now. I would use my paper route money to build my music collection. Re-purchasing old albums while watching my CD collection grow.

Today we download. New problems arise with that; transferring the music to our iPods, phones, external hard drives and then burning them to a CD for that last source of backup. We live in an age of download fear…at any moment our computer can crash and out external hard drives can be erased, and how many of us really take the time to back up to CD’s. That is what we are running away from in the first place. The colossal storage that little silver disc took up too much in our homes.

There comes new complaints with new technology. Now we have to scroll through the library of information archived on our iPod just to find that song that we originally had on vinyl. At least the circle of life has a musical soundtrack to it.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 13 sec (13)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 62 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV


The New Atheists

~ C4Chaos has an excellent review of Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.

As of late I have been giving more focus to the writing of the new atheists genre. Christians need to read atheist's writings to understand what a Christian foundation should be. To look outside our own circular thought; to understand the perspective of why they are atheists and understand why they are right on many points (War, Terrorism, Genocide, Infectious values imposed). To be a good Christian in today's world you need to understand what a good atheist is. We need to speak (and be spoken to) at a level that will be understood. Not with conviction to convert or to be converted, but with the confidence to coexist.

Thank to ~C4Choas for the great writing….