Introduction from my new book Meditations
The original Meditations was a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, recording his private notes to himself and ideas on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations as a source for his guidance and self-improvement. Kirk’s book, by comparison, is also a kind of reference for guidance and self-improvement, but that is where the similarity ends. This book of Meditations is not about Stoic philosophy, but instead, is an allusion to Zen Meditation. Each of the one hundred two images depicted inside represents a unique moment in time. A moment, during meditative walks, where time stands still and the separation between here and there dissolves to become one.
Kirk’s motivation for practicing Zazen is to be fully present and in the moment, “Awake,” and experience life as it is. The collection of photographs included in this book took almost ten years to acquire using a smartphone. During this time, Kirk discovered the irony of practicing being present and taking pictures to memorialize his experience. Either you are in the moment with nature or taking photographs. You can’t experience both at the same time. The practice of witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset can be exhilarating. The connection you feel with the universe can be palpable. However, when your attention shifts and you decide to “capture” that moment, everything changes. You are still present, but now your concern is with other things like aesthetics. Your focus immediately turns to the mechanics of taking a photograph, such as getting an exciting composition. After the picture is complete, you can get back to experiencing nature, but the moment is different. Everything has changed! Expansive and infinite, the cosmos is simultaneously digitized, cropped, and reduced to the size of a postcard.