When the inner eye met the outer eye

By Aparna Sharma

August 2011

When the author signed up for a course on introspective photography at a meditation retreat, she experienced the perfect convergence of inner and outer vision

We have two kinds of eyes. One is the physical eye, which looks outward towards the sights and sounds of the world and is our gateway to the path outside. The other is the inner eye, with which we look inwards in self-contemplation and is a gateway to the path within.

The outer eye is my connection to the world, and indeed constructs my world through the images I choose to see. The inner eye comes to life when I am with myself. The outer eye’s visions may translate as the sunset shots of a photographer, the brush strokes of an artist, or the lyrics of a poet. The insights of the inner eye are extolled in the Vedas, other scriptures and by innumerable seers down the ages. The path within and the path without – where, if at all, do they meet?

Deer Park

The Deer Park Institute has been my platform for the path within. Nestled in the high mountains between Palampur and Dharamshala, lies the cozy picturesque village of Bir, which houses this centre for study of classical Indian wisdom and traditions. The place provides an ideal setting for study, contemplation, learning and immense self-discovery, or simply for chilling out on a vacation.

I first attended a silent retreat here and recognised that it was the ground zero of the path within for many across the globe. My own experience here was intense, marking the first step into my inner journey.

For me, the outer eye is best represented by the lens of a camera. It is my tool

  “To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj

to capture the nuances of the big world out there; the visuals, sounds, tastes, thoughts, emotions, interactions, relations, and everything else that comprises ‘life’.

Therefore, my present foray at the Deep Park represented a beautiful
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