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Simplicity vs. Minimalism - Seeing More by Looking at Less.

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Here's an experiment: for a few moments, gaze at this photograph while holding the word "simplicity" in your awareness. Note how the word "simplicity" affects your experience of this image. Does it create a positive connection? A negative one? What do you see in this image when you link the word "simplicity" to it?

Now try the same experiment with the word "minimalism," which is a term used in the art world for images like this. What does this word help you see, feel, or appreciate, or prevent you from seeing, feeling, or appreciating, compared to the word "simplicity"?

If you like, I'd enjoy reading your experience with the two words if you're willing to share it in the comment area below. I find my own mind and heart drawn to the simplicity of simplicity, so to speak, while just thinking about the term minimalism draws me into my mind and edges me away from the experience of wonder.


About this image: the gray area is the hood of my Volkswagen Passat, sitting out in the rain a few paces from a tree that is dropping its leaves in mid-November a few years ago. The gray area is the shadow of our roof above our driveway. As I was going to my car to do some shopping, I noticed the beauty of the raindrops. As for the leaf, I can't remember if it was there via nature, or if I picked up a leaf that was on the ground and found the perfect place to put it. Does it matter if I created this scene? Another interesting question: would your enjoyment be less if I had placed the leaf?

Either way, I think this is a good example of how we can open our eyes and our awareness more widely in the midst of "ordinary" places and moments, and discover the beauty--or the potential of beauty--in what's present wherever we're present. It's also an interesting example of how a camera helps us see: look through a camera's eyepiece, or at an iPhone's screen, and put its frame around a bit of the world, and you'll begin to discover the art in daily life. There are sooo many scenes in our daily lives, and a camera can help you look at just one at a time so that you can actually see it. Why not explore the paradoxical beauty of simplicity - practice seeing more by looking at less.

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'simplicity' and 'heart' -- together, those words remind me of my Guru's prayer

"May my heart be so simple that it can love you throughout all eternity."

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