Monthly Archives: October 2016

Appreciate The Beauty Of Nature With Landscape Photography

44Most people really love nature. A lot of people would even travel far and spend money just to be with nature. Indeed, what nature has to offer relaxes, comforts and relieves a person. And so, many people really want to capture the beauty of nature. By capturing its beauty, you do not only improve your artistic side but you also learn to appreciate even more the natural things around you.

Landscape photography is one way of showing your appreciation of nature. Capturing every unique place and fleeting moment will surely make you be more grateful of the things that are given to you freely. A lot of people actually want to keep their memories of the beautiful places they have been to. They want to have something that will make them remember the adventure, the peace and solitude and the fun that they have experienced during their visit to a very nice place. And through expert photography, you will surely have something that you can treasure for years.

Through landscape photography, you will not only be able to keep the memories of the nice places you have been to, but you will also get to show them to your friends and loved ones. Learning about landscape photography may need time and effort especially if you want to master it. There are a lot of expert photographers who can help you.

You can try visiting a private beach and try capturing sunset or sunrise. You can practice all you want until you have finally taken a good shot. You can also visit some tourist spots and practice taking pictures of landmarks. Do this once every morning before the sun is up, when the sun is at its brightest and at sundown. These are the perfect times to capture beautiful places.

Once you have mastered the art of landscape photography, you can then improve your talent in art through creating wall art. In many homes these days, you can see different types of wall art. There are seascapes, floral and even abstract. If you really love nature and landscapes, you can create your own wall art using your captured photos of the different types of landscapes in your country.

Listen To That Itch To Do What You Love

42We’ve heard many stories about miraculous situations – a mute child begins to talk, people who are pronounced dead come alive once more, and those who seem to have hit rock bottom rise to become one of the greatest legends in history.

We get shocked by these stories, completely taken aback by them, applauding these men and women for their accomplishments… and 10 minutes later we go back to doing exactly what we were doing. The next day, it’s even worse. We don’t even remember the names of these people or what they did.

You can inspire your broke friend a million times with Donald Trump’s accomplishments; you can teach your son over and over again about how his cousin is now studying to become a doctor and is so successful and hardworking. You bet this will inspire them – but only for those few moments that you are telling them the story.

Have you noticed, that when we really like what we’re doing, we do it so much better? A child can be a master at video games, but fail in science – why does this happen? He’s learning the information in school, everything is given to him. Then why is he failing? He didn’t know how to play the video game when he first bought it; he had to learn how to do that too. Then why did he get so good at it?

The answer is simple. He became a master at playing video games because he had the DESIRE to reach that goal. You may say “well video games are fun, it’s not surprising that he put all that energy into learning how to do it.” To that I will say, “you’re absolutely right. He has FUN doing it. He has the DESIRE to do it. He has the PASSION for it. And that’s why it’s so easy. Find something you have a passion for, and watch what happens to your results.”

Napolean Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’, said something very powerful. He said “Desire backed by faith knows no words such as impossible.” I think that’s one of the best things anyone has ever written. When you have a burning desire to do something, you don’t know what Plan B is. You don’t know the word ‘Failure’. All you have is your vision, your intention and the fact that you believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are going to reach your goal. So many human beings today shut down their burning desires and let their reasoning minds take over. “I don’t have time”, “It’s too risky”, “I don’t have the money to do something like that”. And then, these very people sit and wonder why they aren’t getting the results they want.

These beliefs become so engrained in their minds that they begin to believe that money is hard to earn and not everyone is destined for it.

Let’s back up a bit – what is money? Looking at it from a scientific perspective, it’s a piece of paper with a number written on it, that allows you to purchase things. But the VALUE given to these pieces of paper differ from person to person. Give a poor man a $5 bill, and he becomes the most grateful man in the world. Give a rich man a $5 bill, he may be grateful, but he knows how to make more than that in a few minutes.

Now when we understand that money only means what we want it to mean, we can begin to shift our thinking. James Allen said “If your real desire is to be good, then there is no need to wait for the money before you do it. You can do it now, this very moment, just where you are.”

Great men didn’t become great by listening to people in their society. Rich men didn’t become rich by sticking at a job they hated. They became who they are because they had an idea, an idea that created a burning DESIRE in their minds, in their hearts, in their soul. This desire is what drove them to begin their journey to abundance.

The universe has everything you need. According to Bob Proctor, a legend in the personal growth industry and author of ‘You Were Born Rich’, the resources you need to make your dream come alive are already available to you. The resources needed to create internet has always been here – we just needed to KNOW how to create it, and now we’ve got it. But this started with an IDEA. That idea translated into a DESIRE, to make that idea a physical reality. And once that step was achieved, even mother nature couldn’t stop it from becoming a fact.

Doctors have told so many people they will never walk again; but this is just an opinion! Doctors don’t know what you’re capable of, nobody knows what you’re capable of. If you can allow yourself to let go of all your doubts, and embrace your desire of walking on two feet once again, the universe will come to your aid and give you everything you need – and your desire will even outwit Mother Nature.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Listen only to your desires and follow the footsteps of those who have achieved such great goals. They had an idea and they acted on it. Pick up those dreams and feel that burning desire in you to do what you REALLY WANT TO DO. Because those dreams are the key to giving you the results you truly want.

Shinto, A Love For The Spirits Of Nature

41Shinto is the folk-religion of Japan. Intrinsic to it is a belief in the spiritual power of nature and the protective energies of plants, trees, mountains, and other forces of the Earth. All of these are known as kami – the “genius” of “divinity” of nature – which may be a particular form like a flower, a place like a forest, or a natural process, like the turning of the seasons, which brings different plants and energies to prominence, or, indeed, the blowing of the wind, which has a spiritual and psychological effect such as the clarity of mind brought about by its refreshing qualities which ‘blow away our cobwebs’ and help us see more clearly.

Kami, then, are the guardian spirits of the land, but also of occupations, skills, talents, virtues, deeds or admirable actions, as well as our ancestors and sacred dead, all of which have an ‘essence’ which infuses our lives. In short, they are the divine forces of nature, representing the beauty and power of life in all its forms.

Kami traditionally have two souls: one gentle (nigi-mitama) and one aggressive (ara-mitama) and so – as we know – a spirit such as the wind may behave differently according to which soul possesses it at the time. The spirit that manifests may be the gentle breeze of a Summer’s day, bringing us peace and a sense of calm, or a hurricane which carries all before it and brings sudden change and violent breakthroughs. In this, the kami have ‘personalities’ or predispositions which are very human in nature.

The word Shinto is a conjunction of two kanji or ‘word-pictures’: shin meaning ‘spirits’, and tō meaning a philosophical way or ‘path’. Hence it is known as “The Path of Spirit”; the understanding, that is, that the divine is everywhere around and within us, and that there is a way of connecting with all of these spirits – both interior and exterior – through reverence of nature.

The first – and still the most powerful – Shinto ceremonies were performed outside, in forests or before rocks, which formed a naturally sacred space and a natural altar. These ceremonies did not incorporate icons, as, for example, Catholic rituals use bread and wine to stand for the flesh and blood of Christ, or images of the Virigin to represent Mary, because the spirits are formless essences, not the form itself: inhabitants only of the tree (or rock or waterfall) and not the tree itself.

In this sense, Shinto is shamanic and regards all things as alive, aware, sentient, and of spirit – just like us. As a consequence, kami are seen as closer to human beings in their nature and temperaments, thoughts and feelings, than ‘gods’, and all of them occupy the same world we do, not distant from us or inhabiting some far-off Heaven. To quote a phrase used by Terence McKenna in a different context: “Nature is alive and talking to us. This is not a metaphor”; within Shinto it is a reality.

The most obvious theme in Shinto, therefore, is respect for nature, and its rituals are designed to mediate relationships between the Earth, its spirits, and its human inhabitants. Any twisted branch or unusually-shaped stone might be a kami, as might a waterfall, a cloud, a wildflower, or the moon, or, indeed – more abstract but still nature-related – concepts like growth and fertility, and we must therefore tread lightly on the Earth and make the proper observances so as not to disturb or upset these spirits. Nature rituals ensure that we do so and part of the reason for them is that human beings, upon death, become a part of the kami too, irrespective of their ‘good’ or ‘bad’ deeds on Earth – so that the tree branch you carelessly break could be the spirit of an ancestor or, indeed, could be your own spirit in a few years time!

Knowing this, as soon as a child is born in Japan, his or her name is added to a list at a Shinto shrine, which makes that child a “family spirit”, or ujigami – which means they are already a ‘kami-in-waiting’ and will become one of the ‘geniuses’ of the place they are born to once they die. Those whose names are not on this list become “water children” (mizuko), who, upon death, are restless and unsatisfied and may cause troubles and plagues.

Shinto has no commandments as such, but there are four ‘Affirmations of Spirit’, which have their origin in the natural order:

1. The Shinto adept must love nature because it is sacred and brings us closer to spirit.

2. He or she must recognise the family as sacred because it is the main way in which traditions are preserved and spirit can be felt.

3. He or she must attend festivals dedicated to the Kami, of which there are many each year.

4. And he or she should give attention to cleanliness. Purity of mind, body, and spirit are all important. Certain deeds can create impurity or “dirtiness” (kegare), such as killing, or partaking in the death of, a living being. This should only be done with reverence – even if you are just eating a take-away meal of meat or vegetables – in the knowledge that you are consuming a life to continue your own. Failure to show respect demonstrates a lack of concern for others and can create problems for everyone because animals or plants killed without gratitude for their sacrifice may hold a grudge (urami) and their kami will seek revenge (aragami) on the entire community. One purification ceremony to avoid this is to stand beneath a waterfall or cleanse yourself in the sea if you have not made your thanks before now to nature. Another variant is to wash oneself in water and herbs which have a spiritually cleansing property. In the West, these could be vervain, marigolds, rose, or valerian.

Another way of honouring the spirits and gaining their support is to erect an altar in your house, which in Shinto is called a kamidana, or “spirit shelf”. This is hung on the North or West wall of one of your family rooms, just above head height. Before it you may pray and make offerings to the spirits of your home and the kami of nature in return for the favours they will then offer you.

To make a kamidana, first clean and purify your home, then choose a site that is light and quiet. On each side of the kamidana place evergreen banches for purity and longevity, and hang rope above the shrine as a protection for the spirits who live there, so only good energies may enter. You can also place items on your shrine that mean a lot to you, or for which you seek blessings and protection – such as family photographs and heirlooms that connect you with your ancestors and their love for you. On some shrines, a mirror is also positioned to reflect bad energies and keep your home and family safe. Very often plants, flowers, or small branches are placed on the shrine to represent the purity and power of nature and the spirit it contains.

Food offerings, called shinsen, are left to the spirits on this altar, as a mark of respect and to empower them so that they have the energy to help you. These generally include rice, wine (sake), water, and salt. For new beginnings, a rice gruel made with the seven herbs of Spring (parsley, shepherd’s purse, cottonweed, chickweed, henbit, turnips, and radish) are left at the shrine on January 7 during the celebration of Nanakusa-gayu. The food is removed from the altar next day and eaten as part of a family feast. By doing this, you and your loved ones will not suffer illness for a year. After making your offering, face the kamidana and give thanks for the gifts of your life. Then bow twice, clap twice, and bow once again. This ends the ceremony.

Shinto teaches that everything is alive and has kami or “spiritual essence”. There is a kami for everything and for all groups of things, so every rose has a kami, every species of rose has a kami, and there is a kami for all the roses and then for all the flowers of the Earth. All of these are collectively called Yaoyorozu no Kami, an expression literally meaning “eight million kami”, but which actually means ‘an infinite number of spirits’.

And this is a good way to look at life: to recognise the spirit in all things, to appreciate that nature is alive and talking to us, and that the richness of the Earth – in all its myriad forms – can be our ally, helping us to reconnect with the planet we live on and to know our place as we expand our horizons and empower our dreams to come true.

Waterfalls Near Pune for the Nature Lovers

40Pune is a land of great diversity that has managed to retain its traditions marching ahead with advanced infrastructure.

This great mixture not only makes it a unique city but also a heritage that must be visited once in lifetime. Even more so if you love the nature then these spots near Pune will help you get the much required peace and you will go home with a refreshed mind. If you love nature then get on one of the Mumbai to Pune flights and come here to see these amazing places you won’t want to miss.

Kune Falls: Kune Falls is a picturesque waterfall located close to Kune town in the Pune area of Maharashtra. It is one of the popular waterfalls in Maharashtra furthermore a must visit place in Lonavala. Kune Falls lies at an elevation of 622 m set against the awe-inspiring scenery of the well-known Sahyadri Mountains. It is a three-layered waterfall falling down from a tallness of 200 m and is among the well-known traveler places close to Pune and one of the best waterfalls close Mumbai.

Lingmala Falls: Lingmala Waterfall, one of the best places to visit in Mahabaleshwar, is situated at top of the Vena Valley in Satara region of Maharashtra. It is one of the celebrated waterfalls close Pune. situated at an elevation of 1278 m, Lingmala Waterfall is shaped by Vena River. There are two waterfalls, a small one and the primary waterfall which tumbles from a stature of 500 feet. The small-scale waterfall is relatively safe and reasonable for swimming and playing in the water. One needs to stroll for 30 minutes to achieve the perspective of fundamental waterfall from the smaller falls.

Chinaman’s Falls: The special thing about the waterfall is that it falls down from two distinct places and converges in a solitary stream. Situated at the highest point of the Vena Valley, the quiet surroundings and the outlandish waterfalls render an impeccable vacation spot. The falls can be seen from Babbington point and one can likewise achieve the highest point of the tumbles from Valley View Resort (around 2 km). Visit to Mahabaleshwar is not finished without a perspective of amazing course of Chinaman’s Waterfall.

Thoseghar Falls: One of the mainstream waterfalls, it is situated at Thoseghar town in Satara. It is one of the top waterfalls in Maharashtra furthermore one of the most noteworthy waterfalls in India. Thoseghar falls in among the most prominent Satara spots to visit. Thoseghar waterfall is a picturesque spot situated at the edge of the Konkan area. The waterfall is drops through a progression of falls with an aggregate tallness of around 500 m.

Vajrai Falls: A pleasant waterfall situated close to Kas Flower Valley in Satar, this one is the most dynamic waterfalls in Maharashtra furthermore one of the top Satara traveler places. Vajrai Falls is a three level waterfalls falling down from a tallness of around 853 feet (260 m). This is a lasting waterfall however is extremely vibrant amid monsoons. Individuals from various parts of Maharashtra run to this falls amid the monsoons to watch the delightful flow of the waterfalls.

With so many visually stunning waterfalls near the city, Pune will leave you speechless and make you question the materialistic pleasure of life. Just book your tickets on Mumbai to Pune flights and come here to have an awesome time.