I’ve noticed it’s becoming fashionable to celebrate one’s own culture. 3rd, 4th 5th generation seem to be much more self aware than previous generations, including my own. This is très cool.

 

Hopefully we can now begin return to the ideologies of the better parts of our culture, found in yoga, meditation, the symbolism behind festivals such as Navratri…the celebration of Shakti – female power/energy. It is this energy, which helps us to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.

 

Diwali…Festival of light. The celebration of good over evil, knowledge over darkness/ignorance. Light in all its forms is a source of power, inspiration & strength.

 

As a photographer, my first inspiration was light-stalking..This is what photographers do – I was not unique. Street photography was my thing. I lurked in dark spaces, waiting for things to happen during the golden hour. Though perfectly lit, much of my work back then felt empty – with no soul or meaning. In time, I realised it was my inner light that needed to be awoken if I really wanted to make beautiful photographs. I learned to make beautiful photographs in India during 2006/07, when I worked with the ragpicker community of Ahmedabad. I felt connected to humanity. The children always called out ‘Namaste didi’ (sister). During my childhood, much of cultural practice felt dogmatic so I later began to question and learn what it all meant and realised this to be transformative and liberating.

 

‘Namaste’. The word ‘namaha’ can also be literally interpreted as “na ma” (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another. I also understand this as ‘the light in me bows to the light in you’, which is why we close our hands in the shape of a flame and bow our heads.

 

In the most fundamental sense, light and darkness are energies of creation. They exist in a perpetual state of duality…one is essential to the existence of the other. From one perspective, darkness may be thought of as the energy of separated intellect that causes doubt, fear, ignorance and isolation. Isolation is part of the human experience of suffering, which we must all endure at some stage. It is precisely this kind of darkness that I embraced & overcame in order to begin to realise myself. To overcome darkness is to acknowledge that darkness exists in all of us, all of the time. It manifests itself in ego, pride, jealousy and hatred towards others.

Our own existence is a gift of love. It allows us to shape our own future and to choose the path towards humanity and our true selves. Knowledge of our higher selves and oneness with everything and everyone around us is vital if we are going to make it. While we can choose to turn away from others, there is an evolutionary ‘pull’ that calls each of us to the place of return, away from the darkness, towards each other, towards love.

Happy Diwali.

Love. Light. Truth. Knowledge.