Home > Meditation Practices, Personal & Spiritual Development > Finding Beauty in the Ordinary

Finding Beauty in the Ordinary


Old Dodge Work Truck. It has had had a hard life, yet it is still beautiful.

I have recently found the website/community www.soulpancake.com, where spiritual seekers of all faiths, backgrounds, and viewpoints discuss various topics involving faith, religion, spirituality, and life in general.

Recently there was an activity which encouraged the users to take pictures of ordinary things that would normally go unnoticed, but that are inspiring in some way. This idea really resonated with me, because living in the now requires you to slow down and really experience life and the world around you. Therefore, for the past few weeks I have tried to really tune into the mundane things that surround each of us for inspiring material.

As I have mentioned previously I have a bad tendency to put my head down and push through every task in front of me, including in my spiritual path. While I have made tremendous progress in slowing down and enjoying life, I tend to focus on my emotions, thoughts, and general awareness, rather than my individual physical senses; therefore this visual activity was extremely useful for me.

The following are some pictures that I have taken over the past few weeks with a brief description of why I found the subject material interesting and/or inspiring:

Beautiful Oklahoma Sunrise. Taking time to enjoy the effortless beauty of nature was a great start to the day!

Beautiful Oklahoma Sunset. I saw this at the end of a very long workday, and it brought a sense of serenity and peace.

Awesome morning rainbow that my wife tipped me off to before I left for work. I guess it was natures way of wishing me a happy Monday!

My beautiful wife and son on a hay ride during my son’s first visit to a pumpkin patch!

My Wife and mother-in-law embracing after my wife finished her 60 mile walk for breast cancer in Dallas, Texas! The joy of goals accomplished!

Recently, serendipitously since i was already forming this blog post in my head, I was privileged to attend a presentation by my friend Kevin Main, where he did a guided group meditation through the five physical senses. It is amazing how powerful our senses truly our when we simply tune into them. During the meditation I was especially amazed at how powerful the sense of sight is when awareness is simply shifted to truly seeing, and experiencing the sense of sight. The lessons that I have taken away from this activity, as well as Mr. Main’s meditation, is to truly tune into the senses, which are windows into the world around us. Our senses can act as an anchor that pulls us into the moment, and allows us to truly live in the moment, rather than focusing on the mental chatter (monkey mind) that can easily occupy the majority of our waking hours.

Practical Tip: Try tuning into the world around you through your sense of sight. Try seeking out beauty in the everyday things that surround your life, whether they be natural or man-made. Taking photographs of interesting things can help to materialize the practice, and help to further develop your focus. Also, I would highly encourage people to try a version of the meditation described above, where your focus, your conscious awareness, is placed on just one sense at a time in order to truly experience that sense. For example sit in quiet room, and simply sit peacefully and quietly, just focus on your breath and try to relax. Once relaxed: 1) with your eyes closed, just focus on the sense of hearing, focus on what you can hear around you (if anything), and just experience the sense of hearing. 2) with your eyes closed, focus on your sense of taste, fully engage yourself with the sense of taste. 3) with your eyes still closed, focus on your sense of feeling, what do your clothes feel like? can you feel the weight of gravity pushing you into your chair or meditation pillow? 4) open your eyes, and fully experience the wonderful sense of sight, don’t try to focus on any particular object, just experience the gift of sight. 5) close your eyes and simply focus on the sense of smell, fully experience the sense of smell. 6) open your eyes and try to integrate all five senses while maintaining a sense of awareness. Enjoy!
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Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

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  1. Baruti KMT-Sisouvong
    November 15, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    Thanks for sharing yet another engaging post. Life is lived and learned from via our senses and when we tune into them, at least for me, life comes alive with tremendous wonder and, as such, keeps me going and mindful of the gift of Life with its senses as our vehicle to really live. Kudos!

    • November 16, 2011 at 9:44 PM

      Thank you Bro. Baruti! life is full of wonder, and we all should strive to be more mindful of this precious gift of life!

  2. November 16, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Monkey mind. Nice shout out to Buddhism!
    However, you photography does not really depict the really mundane mundane-those are some really beautiful sunrise/set shots! Unless you get to see those on a regular basis, I’d say those are quite the treat!

    • November 16, 2011 at 9:43 PM

      Actually, those really are the sunrises and sunsets I see almost every day! I work long hours, and I have a long commute, so usually I am driving to work as the sun is rising, and driving home as it is setting. However, too often I am just “driving” and focused on getting home, so I forget to actually enjoy the beauty of nature that I am experiencing. I think there are many things in nature that most of us overlook as common or mundane, but in all actuality they are amazing.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. December 21, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Beautiful photos, exploring the extraordinary in the passing moments of our lives that otherwise might sneak by unnoticed. Even the breath is an extraordinary phenomenon happening every moment right beneath our noses!! Thanks for the meditation suggestion, too. Very nice one.

  4. August 15, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    Hi…just wrote this and then lost it when I clicked to join your blog…..so here we go again…Hi. I found you thru mindfulacting who just nominated us both for reader appreciation award. Love the blog as your way of being seems very similar to mine….meditation, mindfulness, reading across many faiths, being in the now….and I too keep needing the reminders to be in the moment and it’s why I attend a meditation group every week and have done for years. So I look forward to following and sharing….love the pics especially your wife and child…they are beauties who can really ground you in the moment. Regards Leanne PS ta for the tip about soulpancakes

    • August 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      Hi, and thanks for the wonderful compliment! I just took a peek at your site, and I have subscribed, it does indeed look like we have very similar outlooks. Take care, and thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. November 15, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I discovered Soul Pancake on Super Soul Sunday but had never gone to their site. Thanks for that and for the reminder to look at life as if it were the subject of a photo.

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