Nature's Place

Magical Mystical Beeuties

A recent native bee in the afternoon, a Leaf Cutter. They are dying off rapidly, numbers are way down from a month ago. Not inclined to intrude on them so much now, don’t want to affect their behaviour at the critical time of roosting at their favoured places with the predators about, Wasps and Dragonflies. Wonder if they will rebound, as nature does.

Of course, as sun shines, rain falls, grass grows. Of course.

That’s the fact, everything returns.

Behind is the wonder, the beauty, the inscrutable impulse of primordial intelligence to form as a bee. To amaze, entertain and remind of a wordless place that may be called home, or peace, inside.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

The Idea Behind …

… what I do, on this site and at the Macro Days, is as old as the hills. I came to it through a fundamental need, born of my experience, to know peace of mind. And to know peace of mind requires a willingness to change, first.

The only impediment is my own psychological self, the conditioning of the mind repeating itself, the grip of the past. It is necessary to know and understand how it repeats before the solution can be realised, and it is simple.


But you can’t do anything if you don’t see or have the need for it. Perception is reality in this case, because it’s very easy to think or believe “I can’t do this” with its attendant negative emotions, and so determine your reality, or your unreality.

This idea is mine in as much as I articulate it and live it, the best I can. If you get it, the idea, it is also yours, as much as you live it – this is important, nobody owns an idea, or everybody does.

The idea is not exclusive, any man or woman can do it any time anywhere. It’s just a matter of taking the action.

When the time is right. But don’t wait for another time if you need it now.

The question then is, do you need it now?

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What is the ‘Problem?

What, in your own experience – not what you’ve read or been told, is the common factor in any problem you have ever had. What is the common factor in worry, heartache, paranoia, jealousy, misery, depression, or any other form of unhappiness?

It is thinking and/or emotion. Usually a mix of the two since they are inextricably linked. You can’t get emotional without thinking and you can’t have thinking without emotion to generate it, as a problem. Emotion generates thought about what it is you are emotional about, and thinking (about a problem) stirs emotion about the thing thought. One is dependent on the other, as a problem. If it’s not a problem it doesn’t matter.

Now, in your own experience is there any other common factor in any form of unhappiness you know of, besides thought and emotion? There is, your attention or intelligence. The fact you give your attention to your unhappiness is what fuels it, fundamentally. Which is how you can be distracted from your unhappiness, by distracting your attention.

You might say otherwise but the next time you are unhappy you will notice it is the thinking and emotion that sustains it, by you giving your attention to it as if it is the greater reality.

It is, but only because you have believed it, and as long as you still believe it. And that is a mechanical process.

That’s my own experience. What is yours?

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Well, clearly, if thinking and emotion are the basis for unhappiness the solution to unhappiness has got to be in the cessation of that emotion and thinking. Or do you think your unhappiness comes from ‘outside’ and you can find the solution ‘there’, somebody or something does it to you, so somebody or some thing can fix it, really?

After all these years people, you and me, have sought the solution to unhappiness ‘out there’ and we haven’t found it yet, out there. Maybe because it isn’t out there at all and it’s time to look elsewhere, and the only where else to look is inside. Or do you know of somewhere else?

So, how to free myself of the mechanics of unhappiness? That’s the only real question I can see since the solution would be the basis for the only real change from the unhappy human condition that prevails. Or is there something more important than to be free of unhappiness?

If there is, I’d like to know what.

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And the Solution?

Thinking and emotion persist as unhappiness because we give it our attention at the outset. What if we don’t give it our attention, what then? What if I am fast enough to catch the thought or emotion before it takes me over? How do I speed up my intelligence enough to keep the unhappiness out?

Surely, if I don’t attend to the feeling or thinking that constitutes unhappiness, as if it is the truth, I can’t be unhappy. Surely? I know this looks too absurdly simple to be true but test it in your own experience. If you don’t give your attention to your unhappiness and deal only in the facts of your life as they arise your unhappiness disappears, more or less.

For instance, if you are unhappy (or stressed, or whatever word you use for it) about something in particular you need to do something about it. If you are worried about having no money you need to do something about getting some, or give up worrying, that’s practical, factual. If you are fearful of the boss because he has a terrible temper you need to draw the line and stand your ground, for your own peace of mind, or accept the situation, or leave. Action clears the problem.

Any other practical ‘problem’ also requires practical action to eliminate the emotion.  That leaves the habit of unhappiness, the fact it keeps on recurring uncontrollably, to be dealt with by not focusing on the emotion and so feed it with thinking.

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So, there is the unhappy emotion or thinking – as a problem, and there is the attention I give to it. For there to be a solution there has to be something else to give my attention to, and there is.

There is another element in this (mechanical) system of being human that is rarely observed and that is the sensation inside. This is the means of speeding up the intelligence, by slowing down the mind.

What this means is you have something other than thought or emotion to focus on, something that is more real and won’t go away. And by doing so the ‘problem’ is reduced or eliminated.

So the solution, to the ‘problem’, is to take control of what you give your attention to, obviously.

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To put it another way.

There is the problem (of emotion and thinking), there is the pure simple sensation – that is the only reliable anchor against the movement of mind, and there is the attention or intelligence that sustains either. Which am I going to give my attention to, the problem or the sensation?

The sensation ‘inside’ the body is the basis for the senses that appear to be of the ‘outside’ but are in fact cognised inside, sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste along with more subtle senses. And the senses are most easily realised in nature.

I start with focus on the pure inner sensation as it is the more substantive, and add the others as progress is made in slowing the mind, as the practise is established. Nature is the ‘outer’ reciprocal of the inner sensation.

This, the inner and outer of sensation and nature is the basis for the changeover from mind to sense, and it occurs gradually.

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The way it works is this. What I give my attention to grows. If I give my attention to the ‘problem’ it grows, check next time you are worried what happens if you think about it, you get more worried. And if you can give your attention to the pure sensation what happens? It grows, or the problem (of emotion) recedes.

The ‘good’ Wolf and the ‘bad’ Wolf, of that old Indian proverb. The one that wins is the one you feed the most, or give your attention to.

But to be able to do it in the ‘hard’ times, when the pressure is really on, you have to have practised it in the ‘easy’ times.

Does this make sense? Questions or comments are welcome.

(See Meditate for an introduction to the practise.)

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Mystic Nomad

Nomadic by nature, doesn’t mean they have no home. Any place is home to a nomad as long as their need is filled. And in the filling of their need Nature’s need is filled, they are not separate.

One need fits to another the way a tree does to the Earth, as all things fit to some thing at some time.

There is an out-of-the-way place where these little beauties go to sleep at night. I am the only one I know of that goes there and I can’t see that changing. It’s a small clearing in the middle of a field at the edge of a forest and off the beaten track. It is a special place for these beautiful creatures.


Towards the end of their day they fly in and circle their favoured roosting site, a dried out grass stem in this case. They land at the top of the stem, as far from the ground as possible and grip it in their jaws as they settle in for the night, face to the ground – usually, but there’s always the odd one.

Face down, probably because that is the direction danger would most likely come from while they sleep, it’s a defensible position and can easily be abandoned if necessary. It just makes sense to have your array of detection senses, antennae, eyes, mouth and feet facing any danger.


I often watch them at dusk as they jostle for position on the twig, seeming to prefer to join up from above, makes sense as they fly in from above. When one does there is a pushing and shoving with legs and jaws, from the front and back, but no violence, as positions are adjusted to fit the newcomer.

At times dislodging one or another so it flies off the twig and comes in from behind again and the process begins over until there’s not enough light and they have settled positions for the duration of the dark hours, it takes a little time to get to sleep time.


It looks comical and sweet at the same time, innocent, and makes me smile, what a wonderful nature we have.
They are not unlike children in their innocence, and how they might sleepily jostle for space in a bed they share.

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It’s a popular place for the little creatures, with native bees and wasps of different kinds making a home of it, a safe harbour to rest at night. Care must be taken not to blunder into a wasp nest or disturb the roosting bees, don’t want to get stung or intrude. I approach the bees slowly, careful not to strike their perch or loom threateningly over them.

It’s not a hunt, it’s a prayer.

There are times when it seems my presence at a metre or so is enough to disturb them, and times when they seem fast asleep while the sun is still up and I can shoot away to my hearts content.


They live their little lives noticed by few but their own sweet selves, but are well accounted for in the tapestry of nature. Little weavers of life that they are.

Their big green eyes and long white furry manes, specks of pollen showing where they’ve been. A tale yet to be told.

Without them we would surely be less.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Dangerous Liaison

It’s a jungle after all. One hungry creature attacks another and someone comes off the worse, usually dead, but maimed is probably common too – having seen so many of our tiny creatures missing limbs or bearing wounds.

You might think; ‘Oh! Poor Sweet Little Bee. Beastly Assassin Bug.’ I might. And bees are sweet things – maybe something to do with their pollinating and honey making, especially the Australian native bees – since this is where I am.

But Assassins aren’t beastly, just designed differently to fit a particular niche in the living pattern of things, or the pattern of living things. Truly, each piece of the pattern is a wonder unto itself.

The fact is that’s Nature, everything that is has its place in it. It can’t be denied. And to take sides is absurd, or is it?

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Well, Nature gets on fine without our interference so it’s hard to put a case for interfering. In fact where we interfere we invariably make more problems in trying to fix the one we focus on, but that’s probably because the ‘problem’ we try to fix isn’t a problem at all, just an inconvenient – to us – fact. And when you try to change facts that don’t need changing in a world of effects a ripple of predictable consequences is what you get, but unknown outcomes.

The trouble is we personalise Nature and so make of it the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ when there is only the fact, no good or bad at all. This notional existence of good and bad is self-divisive, the high and low of emotional consideration, the ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’, the source of much personal misery and ill health, and is ultimately unsustainable.

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How to depersonalize then? When you’ve had enough – ever tried giving up something you love before you’ve had enough, just leave the good and bad out of it and see the fact. And that’s the end of ‘problems’.

It does mean no more judgment of the fact, no more unnecessary thinking.

Simple really, when you’ve had enough … ((:

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Macro Day Three …

… nearly didn’t happen. With all the rain and not a bug in sight … The short of it is one made it for the day, it was only decided to go ahead on the morning of the day, and it seemed prudent not to ask anyone else along in case the rain didn’t stop. It stopped, for long enough anyway.

When it’s not pouring rain there is always an insect around, wherever you are. The trick is to find them without it being a stress or strain. When you stop trying you find what happens, happens with a pleasantly surprising ease.

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If anyone is interested in coming along for hands on experience of what and how I do what I do check these links : Macro Meditation Day, Macro Illustrated and Meditate, and email me at contact (at) beingmark (dot) com so you are on the list.

Email going out soon for January 2011 (and maybe Feb) dates.

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I can’t emphasize too much the importance, in my experience, of methodical relaxation and meditation to the creative state, that state of being in which it is possible to see and do the extraordinary – which is ordinary at the time. It is the basis for my art, it is my art. And it doesn’t have to be separate from the ‘rest’ of life.

Your life is your art, and every one a masterpiece, when nothing is left undone. ((:

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Here are a few of mine from the day, just the Nomadic Leaf Cutter Bees for now. The other participant may post some of his later.

This is also posted at different fora, the most active of which is HERE.

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I thought the one who attended would post a few pix but he must be too busy, never mind.

Here are a few more of mine from the day.

Jumping Spider with prey.

Some kind of young Shield Bug.

A small black Weevil at the honey with Mites attached.

Tiger beetle, the fastest thing on six legs – 1 metre in 1 second, so they say. Lucky he wasn’t running this day.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Prince of Light

Out of the winter, all furred up, lighting the way of his kind.

Sword and sinew aready, face to the black, work of a season behind.

Out of the darkness, a climbing of heights, glittering sky of his mind.

Into the summer, the plans of the deep, conferring a making to bind.

Raised on Ambrosia, a pain to the Gods, he is the first of his kind.

The season anew, the flight true and through, the Grail it is his to find.

Soar up little one, beloved of mine, ride the mystical wynde.

When battle is done, and death comes to tease, ‘tis a kiss to a warriors rind.

Oops! ‘Tis a female after all, I didn’t know, and I don’t mind. ((:

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Macro Day One

Ok, my first Macro Day (check link for forum) done and I enjoyed it. And well done to the participants – who I trust enjoyed it too.

Biggest lesson for me? You can’t do it all in one day. Just as learning photography is an evolution of perception and effort so is teaching anything, the more you perceive and correct what is not right for you the less effort you have to make, and the process is refined by experience.

We were going for around four hours and it seemed like work at times as I’m sure it did to others – not a bad thing in itself, and not stressful with the practise of relaxation/meditation. People were introduced to some wonderful creatures and I trust we were all relaxed enough and learned something of value from the experience.

Things for me to remember, make some general purpose diffusers for people to use, and get longer sticks for next time. ((:

FYI, the other Macro Days this year – 11th and 29th Dec are booked and I have a list of people from this and other fora interested for the new year. If you want to be on the list check this page : Macro Meditation Day. Follow/read the links and/or email me at contact@beingmark.com

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I thought 3 or 4 would be a comfortable number and it is so. I’ll keep it at that for now unless anyone who has already been on a Macro Day wants to join a group that hasn’t – I’d consider that an asset.

I trust those who came got a few keepers they will post here for the record. Keeper rates in high mag macro are not high for anyone, whatever ‘they’ say.

Here’s a few of mine from yesterday, more later. Anybody is welcome to comment.

A Beetle in the bush.

A lovely coloured Fly nobody else saw. ((:

An Ant, stopped dead in its tracks. I believe it did literally die in its tracks, as it was about to take another step. I got a number of shots of this over a time of nearly two minutes and it had not moved ‘at all’. Someone else may be able to confirm no movement of this creature.

And a few more later.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Whether the Weather …

… is good for finding ‘bugs’ to photograph?

It has been cloudy with occasional rain and the odd ray of sunshine, so it’s a natural question.

My experience is as long as it’s not actually raining there is usually something to shoot, 99 times out of 100. I’m sure there would be something to shoot in the rain, or sheltering from it, but I don’t have a waterproof camera.

Shooting refers to a time in our culture when hunting to kill was the preferred way to get close to exotic nature. Probably because all the skills of the hunter are employed in the capture of a ‘good’ image, the need to kill has been civilized. Though a willingness to put yourself in some danger at times, sensibly so, will get the shot others won’t.

The first thing a hunter does in order to spot the prey/subject is be still, inside and out. If he’s not quiet of mind he’s not present to see or otherwise sense the minutia that often represents the presence of prey/subject. And if he’s not quiet and fluid in his body and environment most creatures will take offense and run or hide.

For a hunter/photographer to master the hunt of exotic creatures he must become one with the nature. In appearance, sound, movement, any other sense, and above all attitude.

The ultimate hunter is invisible to the prey/subject. From that the greatest capture rate will flow.

The attitude is ‘I am transparent’, I am nothing!

That’s the strategy, and then there are the tactics, the ‘how to’, which are best shown.

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Another take on it …

Nature is always changing. Nothing stays the same for long. Everything in it is active according to the local conditions.

Beneath the appearance of things there is one life, one psyche, which everything is a form of, and in. Being so every form has a connection to every other form, at some unconscious lever of being.

That means you and I have a connection to everything around us. We are the most impressive form in any natural landscape. Impressive of our condition of mind. We impose our will, be it conscious or not, on our nature. And our nature is impressed by this, for good or ill.

I am not suggesting bugs can be willed to appear, just that there is normally an effect of one being present in nature that can be minimised for the purpose of capturing an image of one of nature’s unusual and often beautiful creatures, and of doing so more creatively.

So, how we are inside makes a difference to the nature around us, because we are connected. That doesn’t mean we have to be absolutely still of mind for anything to appear, obviously. It just means we have to do our best and not impose our mind on the nature around us – the sense of it – by leaving our thoughtful and emotional worldly concerns behind.

Intent matters.

This can’t be proven except in your own experience. It’s the sort of thing, once you know it, unfolds as your experience if you are observant of facts and not given to doubt it. And if you go along with it will result in peace of mind, relatively speaking.

This is the essence of right meditation, no belief, no imagination, no thought or emotion. Just a plain and simple practical exercise of the will to engender a quieter, more relaxed way of being.

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The weather has been unusually cloudy with occasional showers and the odd ray of sunshine for a while now. This being so I was asked if there will be any creatures to photograph on a Macro Meditation Day.

This is my answer, which is also touched on in Macro Illustrated, what is true in my experience. :

There are no guarantees nature will show up in the forms that please the most, or are wanted, and everything has its time. It’s the not knowing that gives rise to the sense of wonder and discovery at the infinite variety of form and colour at our feet, as it presents. The chances of something showing up are increased by our respect for and acknowledgment of the simple wonder and beauty of the nature that does show up – in the little things.

And a little gratitude, to nothing in particular – spoken or not, for the nature that does show up is the best way I know of ensuring it shows up next time – in some form.

The pictures on this page are from the last five or so cloudy days, these are the fruits of my exercise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Li’l Bee

This fellow is about 4mm long and in the first few pix is collecting resin from a hole in a pine tree. I suspect it is for building material for the nest. There were more than one at the hole but as is often the case only one was at the right angle in the right place for long enough for a shot or two.

These are Australia’s native honey bee, known as sugarbag, and their honey is a luxury given their numbers and size – they don’t make it like the European honey bee that is twenty times its size and more active.

They don’t have a sting either so they are harmless by comparison, and they are too small for me to track back to the hive. That’s their advantage, too small to be threatened.

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Science often tells us how nature is robotic, that the creatures and plant life are no more than the sum of their parts plus function on auto. And it’s true, except for the ‘no more’ bit.

The ‘more’ they are is the same ‘more’ you and I are. It’s the inscrutable intelligence behind the structure of everything.

The unknown, the mystery before knowing is, before you and me.

The mystery, the no-thing, the pre-existent wordlessness before it all begins, and ends. As it is now.

The wonder, the beauty, the colour and light.

The deep, the black, the abyss – inside.

Home.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge