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One of the many benefits of mindfulness is how easily we can incorporate a present-minded awareness into any daily activity. How we use social media and our mobile phones can sometimes feel robotic and automated.

Our new interactive experiment, MindfulFilter, is an opportunity to pay more attention to how we use and interact with technology and social media through something we do regularly – taking and sharing photos.

This week’s MindfulFilter theme was Earth.

We saw two major trends in the photos people shared with us on Instagram: sky and light. Colorful cloud formations, rainbows and sunrises/sunsets galore.

That’s understandable.

Those fleeting moments need to be captured on the spot. There’s an unconscious drive to capture images that may not be there a second later. Perhaps we want to record and share situations that only we experience. Or we’re trying to make sense of things we don’t normally see.

With those considerations, we asked ourselves: Are we mindful of the moment we’re photographing – or are we responding instinctually without any conscious awareness?

One follower said: “I find that the process of taking pictures of such situations is incredibly mindful: you need to be cognizant of every move, every sound. It’s certainly a change from how I (we?) usually blunder through the natural world!”

There’s also an opportunity for the viewers of the photographs to practice mindfulness. When viewing some of this week’s #earth photos, for instance, we took a few extra seconds to examine different elements in the image, such as different shading in cloud formations or patterns in sunbursts. Elements we would usually notice, but not really look at closely.

The additional time we spent really seeing the image, or parts of it, allowed us to notice emotions that arose while looking at the photos: curiosity, awe, joy, jealousy (I wish I was actually there right now!), and so on.

Take a look at some of our favorite photos below.

rainbow

 

sky

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What comes to mind when you look at these images?

Please consider taking part in our social experiment. It’s easy to participate.

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