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The Tao as the Way: A Love Affair with Available Light Photography and Other Love Affairs

Updated on May 18, 2013
Quirinus profile image

"Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures." - Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-87, Writer/Reformer

“The way where there is straying is not The Way.”


In the Flow, In the Zone. The irony with moving with the Tao is that you are not aware of it while you are moving with it. It’s just as if you are playing. So it seems there is no way for us to bring about the experience of flow or being in the zone in a controlled manner. There is though a short checklist of attitudes that we may cultivate to eventually find ourselves more and more in the flow:

Watchful …

Alert …

Courteous …

Yielding …

Primal …

Receptive …

The Love Affairs. It seems that I’ve been in love with learning forever. You may be familiar with this type of person---would love to learn this and that, but never enough opportunity to pursue the love affair. So it is that some of us remain at the amateur level forever. And hopefully make peace with it.

The Tao of Available Light Photography

This section is not about how to develop mastery in the art of available light photography, but can be used in gaining the insight that truly a limitation can actually provide the strength in a situation:

The limited light available on a photo shoot’s subject can produce several number of combinations for the camera’s aperture opening and shutter speed selection, causing a varied number of renditions of the same subject given that lighting condition.

To a photography expert, it may be an automatic reflex to choose the right combination of aperture opening and shutter speed to get the perfect rendition of the subject given the limited light source. But since most of us are not experts, the intuitive sense may be something we need to rely on during times like this. This is how my romance with available light photography started.

The black and white picture showed a lass, her back against the light, sitting on the wide open window of the wooden house. On a single take, how can it be that an amateur like me was able to shoot such a picture just the way I wanted it rendered?

The moment led the way. When we know we do not know, we can open to the question, we can let the moment lead the way, teach us what we need to do.

… Watchful. Alert. Courteous. Yielding. Primal. Receptive.

The Tao of Learning Driving by Self-Study

Since mentored learning as far as driving was concerned was only a brief stint for me, I had to learn the rest through self-study. It just had to be done. And slowly, as I realized there was considerable damage that can be done if I drove all by myself with insufficient skill. How to do this?

Start with baby steps. Drive around the subdivision around and around just one block. This means the learner does not need the skill for the next mastery level, which is turning left. All the learner needs to practice at this level is changing from the first gear to the second, then the third and turning right. Sounds complicated enough to add the left turn, which, if you think about it, has the added risk of having the amateur run into collision with oncoming traffic.

… Watchful. Alert. Courteous. Yielding. Primal. Receptive.

What is the moment teaching me? The interaction between my limbs and the controls of car, between what I am doing and how the car is responding, between how the car is moving and what is going on around the car. It’s more of a listening experience than a controlling one. We listen to the moment then act on what it wants us to do. We listen to how deep inside we feel, before moving on to the next step. Am I ready for the next level? Maybe then we can introduce turning left then eventually moving on to busy streets.

Other Love Affairs:

The Tao and Volleyball. The intuitive sense is especially relied upon while receiving the ball or moving with the drop shot. We did not know where the ball will go a split-second before. Listening to the moment, asking what it wants of us, it lets us know. Then we move with the moment. We move with the ball.

The Tao of Blogging is about waiting in emptiness and not imposing our controlling self on the moment, but rather moving along with the topic, the moment, asking it what needs to be written next.

Really there is a Tao for everything. Life can be one romantic love affair.

Finding It is Like Finding Playing.

When we move with the Tao, we are unaware of it. Unfortunately or fortunately? Who knows?

When we are playing, pursuing a hobby or absorbed at work, we are not aware we are in the zone, we lose track of time. It is only in retrospect that we realize, “I was in the zone,” moving with the Tao.

The way where there is straying is not The Way. We are always in the zone, moving with the Tao. We are only unaware of it. We flow with it especially when we are not willful but only do what needs to be done, without concern for gain or others’ approval. But when we move against The Way, forcing our will against the way things work, who knows that we are not also moving with the Tao? It is just the way things are.

We are It. It is us. Moving along together. Always in the zone.

In Love with Love: A Sigh

In love with love. In love with life. In retrospect, counting, recalling our blessings, we realize life has been good. A single exhale out, realizing we are always nurtured and nourished by the Tao.

A grateful sigh.

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    • Quirinus profile imageAUTHOR

      Queirdkus Ω Ibidem 

      5 years ago from Sitting on the Rug

      Your words speak of the love shining through, reflected from you and the people in your life, Friend. Really happy that we have you in the community.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My good friend, this Tao business is only frowned upon by the insecure. When we are taught by Paul (previously Saul) to meditate on the good he is talking to a foreign group. Let us love all foreign groups just the same, and welcome their wisdom and practice their good arts. I am married to an Easterner, am I commanded not to learn from her? I think not. She is now a wonderful Christian wife and mother, did she not learn from me. These things you speak of are worthy and should be loved.

    • Quirinus profile imageAUTHOR

      Queirdkus Ω Ibidem 

      5 years ago from Sitting on the Rug

      Always an insightful one from you, Eric. Thanks. I really appreciate it when others share their experience, giving me the understanding that there are several among us seekers on the journey. Perhaps only using different words to describe the same experience.

      The Tao simply defined has sometimes been referred to the Way the universe works, the way things are. I think it is sometimes a misconception to think that Taoism is a just religion. Although there are those who practice it as a religion, Taoism in my experience is simply subscribing to Taoist principles.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I reckon I do not know this Mr. Tao. But this hub is all about good brother. One time I was clocked at 96 miles per hour downhill ski racing - there was no here. It was a zone I had brutally trained for and anticipated. This same zone has occurred because it was known and searched for from that time out -- births of children, arguing a death penalty case, hanging from a cliff, exposing my weakness, preaching to teenagers.

      You have marveled us my friend, I am forever grateful for this hub.

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