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  • Bill Petrie

A Quick Way to Quieten Your Mind

There are so many ways to settle your mind - from meditation and mindfulness to rock-climbing and yoga. Here's a quick and surprisingly effective way to quieten the mind that I learned – not from a meditation teacher – but from a photographer.

‘What has photography got to do with settling the mind?’ you may ask. And, it's a fair question but the reality is that, for a photographer, a settled mind makes a considerable difference. A settled mind makes the difference between taking an adequate shot and the achievement of a truly great shot. Without a settled mind, not only do we not get a chance to smell the roses, we also miss the chance to experience the real visual magic of life.

So, here’s how you do it:

Wherever you are, pick something to look at – a window, a bookshelf, a plant, a picture. Simply look at whatever it is that you picked. Don’t try too hard. Rather just let go and relax and look (just for a few seconds) as if you were seeing whatever you’re looking at for the very first time.

Now, pick a second object and relax and look in the same way. - just for a few seconds. Now, pick a third object and relax and look at that too.

Now, in a relaxed but alert way, look at the first object – just for a second or so. Then look at the second for just for a second or so. Then look at the third for a second or so and then shift your gaze back to the first, then the second and the third and back to the first and so on – relaxing into gazing at each of the objects in turn.

Do this for a few minutes and see what happens. You’ll be surprised.

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