Antalya and Mindfulness


“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”

                                                ― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus, Massachusetts Medical School

 

Antalya town sits on top of a rocky outcrop on the Mediterranean coastline.

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Walking in the gardens after breakfast, I spot a wooden dhow sailing out.

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As the wind pushes the dhow, it whispers its secrets of days gone by. Of, Attalos II the  King of Pergamon founding this strategically important port city more than two millennia back. Of pirates seeking refuge in the steep rocks and mountains, biding their time to loot the arriving merchant ships. Of the waxing and waning of Christianity as the Byzantine forces fought and lost naval battles to the Arabs in these waters. I listen entranced as I watch the gardeners lazily tending to the shrubs. Can they not hear these whisperings?

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Strolling through Hadrians Gate and into the old historical quarters, I am reminded of  Ibn Battuta, that prolific Arab traveler in the fourteenth century, and his impressions of Anatalya. Of a beautiful town, well laid out and counting amongst its citizenry an impressive social diversity of Christians, Greeks, Jews and Muslims. As I walk the narrow cobbled bylanes, I can almost “see” the comings and goings of these diverse people in the centuries gone by. But do these souvenir shop owners sitting here day in and day out, not share my vision?

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I sit near the clock tower, a nineteenth century stone citadel of the Ottoman times. The Kaleici district, replete with old houses and narrow lanes, slopes down to meet the Mediterranean shores. As if in an effort to balance on the slope the rooftops and terraces point out at awkward angles. Folks sit around peacefully, hardly a word being spoken.

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The stillness gets broken by the tingling laughter of two girls as they come running to the chestnut selling vendor. School over, they speak excitedly about the beautiful weather and their plans to go down to the harbourside. Young open minds, soaking in the sights and sounds, passionately open to possibilities. Scarcely a head turns however to watch the girls excitedly canter down the narrow lane. What stops these good folks from appreciating the beauty around them?

I wonder what is it that stops the gardeners, the souvenir shop owners and those folks near the clock tower from seeing and appreciating the “here” and “now” as I could. Could it be that as a visitor, the newness of the place opens me to receive all that is around me? And could it be that for all these other folks, the familiarity and routineness of their daily lives makes them go on autopilot? A mode allowing them to escape a boring present. As they choose to enjoy the thrill ride negotiating between a “what I could have been” past and “how I would show up” future.

And so as I walk away, I muse on how we could bring that curious visitor mindset in our day to day lives, free of clutter, mindful of the present, open to possibilities. What we  could do to shift ourselves  to live our passion in the moment, make choices free of fear, guilt or societal expectations.

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect.” – Unknown

 In learning…………..                                                                                  Shakti Ghosal

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131 thoughts on “Antalya and Mindfulness

  1. Wonderful posting and what secrets did the wind whisper to you of days gone by as it pushed the dhow. I, too, sometimes feel like I am walking the path of history alongside those who were there before me when I visit a place.

    • Hi Lesley,

      I could not agree with you more. What remains interesting is how we become conscious of these sounds and calls as visitors but not as residents in a place. Hope you make your visit to the southern coast of Turkey soon.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  2. I love these pictures, and your words again. Very thoughtful musings, Shakti. I feel great worth in your reflections. You give me a different aspect on life, sometimes overlooked.

    • Thank you Carl for visiting here and commenting.I feel acknowledged when you say that my musings carry aspects of spiritualism and magical awe. Truthfully speaking, I had not thought of it this way. So Thank you.

      Shakti

  3. Another thought provoking post, Shakti.

    Many a time, one walks past treasures with nary a thought. As we tend to “see” according to our perspectives – a group of blind people groping an elephant — you know the story.

    • You are so right Eric about the aspect of how our own perspectives and beliefs ‘allows’ us to ‘see’ a part of the big picture.So does our perspectives allow us to ‘see’ reality at any time? Does that mean that we go through life always groping at thr different elephants we come across? Interesting thought…

      Cheers

      Shakti

      • All of us see ‘reality’ befitting our perspectives, I reckon. One man’s reality might differ from another’s. Hence, to know ‘true’ reality – we too must the journey make.

        Peace, Eric

      • Would that mean that we “see” what we want to see? Would that imply that all of us, to a lesser or greater extent are delusional?

        In learning…. Shakti

      • No, deifnitely not delusional – as that carries negative connotations, which was not my intent. Also, not what we ‘want’ to see – but rather, what we see.

        All look in the mirror and each takes away something different – no one is wrong. That’s the beauty.

  4. Dear Shakti,
    When I was a child, I used to observe the behaviour of the adults. And one thing struck me. They all seemed “set” with age. Their minds all made up. Their eyes trained to see certain things and cut off others. Their lives wrapped up within themselves and a world rigidly carved out. And I remember vowing to myself that I would not become a grown-up like that. I will always be open to learn new things. I will have a probing mind to question and stretch. I will not become so set in my ways that I will no more room for new things to enter.

    Today, reading this post by you, I realise that what I vowed as a child is something possible to grow into and achieve as a grown-up. Because I see it living and thriving beautifully in you. Thank you for eyes that see, ears that hear, a heart that listens deeply every moment.

    Sharon

    • Sharon,

      You bring such a refreshing perspective here. Thank you.

      I suppose we can start being mindful by holding consciousness about it and remaining curious.How would you like to take the first step?

      Blessings

      Shakti

    • Well said Sharon! The moment we stop observing ourselves (dogmas, religion, politics or whatever belief system), is when we detach from the ever present reality of this precious moment. Every moment is anew when piercing through veiled minds. Only then can prejudice and ignorance disappear as delusion of the mind. Thanks for another introspective post Shakti! ♥

  5. You have many comments already, but I wanted to tell you that I have an 18 carat Dhou from Abu Dhabi. I know I don’t have to add that it is just over 1 mm! 😀

    • Hi Amy,

      You are so right. Dhow has an Arabic origin and indeed is the vessel used by the mythical Sindbad the sailor who incidentally was from Oman! I can well imagine that a 18 carat Dhow ( even if 1 mm!) must be expensive and something to cherish.

      Regards

      Shakti

  6. loved it.
    I am among those crazy people who is always curious about knowing the what and why behind places. I stop and admire paths, roads, buildings, just pausing to think about the people who created those, the reasons behind those…
    Today I learned about a new place called Antalya 🙂 thanks to you.
    And am very fascinated to know that that wooden vessel is called a “dhow”
    In our place, here in the Maldives, our wooden sea vessel is called “dhoni” pronounced like dhowni.
    Now I am wondering if we have in fact borrowed that word from the Mediterranean.

    • Hi Amira,

      That is an interesting input you have brought in which I was not aware of.I agree, our languages have been borrowing words from other places through ages.It only goes to show how all cultures and regions are interconnected even though we may not realise it. The word ” Dhow” in fact has its origins in Arabia and my guess is, has got exported from there.

      Blessings

      Shakti

    • That is a great perspective. While to us , the visitor, places like Antalya create visions and wonderment, folks living there do carry the usual burdens of responsibility.This aspect however makes me further wonder about what we could do to sustain a “visitor’ mindset as we go through our daily lives? How could we loosen the attachment to aspects we do not control? How could we accept what is?

      Cheers and happy Easter.

      Shakti

  7. What a beautiful town… I think it probably is the new-ness that they’re missing. Around here it’s a well known fact that people who live in coastal towns NEVER swim in the sea or visit the beach for instance, but to us that live inland it’s magical and not a moment can be missed when you go there on vacation…it can be pouring down with rain and you’ll find tourists in the water! 😉

    • Hi Louisa,

      I agree. I suppose it boils down to our always hankering for what we perceive as “out of reach.” But as we hold this perception, we also become more mindful of what we are experiencing. So that way, this selfish trait within us also has its usefulness.

      Thank you for commenting, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  8. Wow, what a beautiful location. Your post reminds us though that there is incredible history and beauty wherever we are, it’s just a matter of opening ourselves to the moment 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Rohan.

  9. Morning Shakti ..
    Yes, if you are not Swedish, so I understand that you do not understand a word lol ..
    But you must do as we do allihoppa use google translator ..
    Simply copy my text and translate from Swedish to English or which sptåk you want .. Thanks for your visit and welcome back .. Hugs Nicki

    Nice pics..I have bin in Antalya to..

    • Thanks Nicki for this information.Awhile back I was in Gothenburg and had enjoyed my stay.More recently, the ” The Girl with the dragon tatoo” provided a lot of insights into Sweden.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  10. Thank you for infusing a sense of intimacy and personality to a virtual visit to Antayla. Your pictures and the words draw a person in, to where you think, I can smell the salt in the breeze coming in off the waters.

  11. Even as a visitor or a tourist, one often closes oneself against so many of the experiences, sensations, explorations and speculations so readily avialable; thus only a small fraction filters through.

    • That remains our second nature as we prefer to shift to auto- pilot with known stuff, freeing our minds to regret the past and agonise about the future. What is it we could do to embrace the ‘visitor’ mentality and remain mindful of our present?

      Appreciate your visit and comment.

      Shakti

  12. Beautiful pictures and thoughts. I wonder how to be a visitor in my daily life. i bet it would seem so much more extraordinary if I realized each moment was a fleeting as a trip to Italy or Thailand.

    • Yes Kourtney, this is a challenge in our day to day life as we are wired to shift to the “auto” mode while doing repetitive stuff. We need to put in the effort to rewire ourselves.

      Thank you for your kind acknowledgement.

      Shakti

  13. Your senses are able to savor sights and sounds more deeply because of the gift of simplicity. As you wisely put it: The secret is in paying attention to the here and now, and opening ourselves up to new possibilities to achieve freedom and satisfaction of both the mind and spirit.

    This is one beautifully written post, Shakti. How I look forward to more of your deep insights and stylish writing very soon.

  14. Thanks for this Shakti! 🙂

    It’s nice to see other places I would not be likely to see myself! 🙂

    Thanks also for the visit and comment! 🙂

    My blog is a day by day diary of events and experiences I enjoy and how I’m dealing with my paranoid schizophrenia.

    It helps me stay focussed and grounded when I’m feeling disturbed.

    Living on my own I’m vulnerable to others who would take advantage of me like my neighbour Doug who now avoids me because he crossed the line. 😦

    I’m getting stronger though and one day I hope to be free of my illness.

    God Bless my friend!

    Prenin.

    • Hi Prenin,

      What makes you say that you are not likely to see these places?

      Reading your comment I can see that you hold the intention to overcome your current challenge. This itself is a great start and I need to acknowledge you for that. What else could you do going forward?

      Blessings, wish you all the best.

      Shakti

  15. Antalya- another place I would have liked to visit. (so many!) I find that photography helps to “keep me in the present”. I look at everything as a potential photo these days. Fortunately I don’t take the shot every time.

    • That’s a great perspective. Yes, photography does allow one to be in the present. More important I would say is to develop a “photo taking” mindset which allow us to be observant of all that surrounds us.

      Shakti

  16. “As the wind pushes the dhow, it whispers its secrets of days gone by.” Today, we get to hear those whispers through your visual capture/images of this beautiful, amazing place. Wonderful old structures with a view of the sea that will always capture one’s heart.

    • I could not agree with you more! Antalya does hold the capacity to pull at your heart strings.

      What is it we could do to preserve such places which really embody Mankind’s heritage?

      Shakti

  17. “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – This is a core belief for me! Your experience and thoughts about it really resonated with me – approaching life as a visitor is a wonderful way to put it! Looking at our world like a child does..the “firsts” in life revisited. Lovely post Shakti!

    • As I hear you say that you hold such a beautiful belief as part of who you are, I do see you as a global sibling. What structure could we bring into our lives to support us to approach life as a visitor?

      Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  18. What a wonderful, inspiring read! I was mesmerized from the opening quote all the way through the photographs and beautiful poetic descriptions. Thank you so much for the tour.

  19. Lovely photos, Shakti. I was in Antalya many years ago with my husband and then young baby. I remember its beauty and nostalgic history. You write about it like a poet!

  20. Shakti, I love the opening quote: “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Your words follow and support this well. We miss so much when we focus only on the future or past and not observe the way a shadow sits or how light lands just so on a flower.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  21. What a beautiful place. I love that quote at the beginning. It’s so true, that every moment of lives is important, as each one helps to make up the whole tapestry. 🙂

    • Indeed,it is each and every moment that helps to make the whole tapestry of who we are. What could we do to have this tapestry support us in our future choices and intentions?

      Appreciate your comment.

      Shakti

    • Hi Jamie,

      Have been travelling on business through the cold climes of Europe and hence have been infrequent here. Love you initiative to reblog this post and thank you for the same. Once I get back to town, I promise to be more active!

      Cheers

      Shakti

  22. Thanks for taking us with you! As I read this, I think of something I so often repeat to my husband and close friends: “What would/did our ancestors do?” This marveling activity is SO often connected to a historical place, giving travel such brilliant texture.

    Your writing reminds me that we can always be more present, more often. What a worthy practice to continue, in delightful devotion, each day!

    Warmly,
    Annie

    • Annie,

      You are so right. Do we not get this feeling as we walk through the hallowed chambers of an old citadel or an excavation that there exist spirits which are watching us? Do we not wonder whether our steps are following those of yesteryears? Indeed, to be present, we need to hold the “visitor mindset” replete with curiosity and adventure.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  23. “In learning…” What a wonderful way to be with others, Shakti … and illustrated poem/essay holds the essence of joy. Be of the moment. Great wisdom. All else will follow …

    On a more prosaic side: What a dream to walk were these ancient ones walked, to stroll through Hadrian’s (one of the five good rulers out of the thirteen, a stoic if I remember right) Gate. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks for your thoughts and your photographs.

    Jamie

    • Hi Jamie,

      This feeling which you talk about, it is at once so personal and universal, is it not? It has enveloped me as I have walked on bylanes of places ranging from Rome to Kolkata, where ancient ,rustic pillars,old dilapidated mansions still stand with people still living in them.Most times it has come in so intense, so vivid that I could only ascribe it to my personal imagination.But I do realise that somewhere, somehow, the essence of a place attaches to each one of us who come and muse there. An essence which is universal, only coloured by the attachment of our individual imaginations.

      Thank you Jamie for coming here and commenting, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  24. We do tend to take familiar things for granted, I know I do. I even hesitate to walk around with my camera at ‘home’ . Have been meaning to set that right, but ‘life’ intervenes everytime 🙂
    Beautiful post Shakthi.

    • Madhu,

      I guess we remain conditioned to go on autopilot with all that is familiar to enable our minds to multitask and take on new challenges. If we were to hold this perspective, it would mean that the autopilot mode is not necessarily a bad thing and in fact might be improving our efficiency and productivity. So do we really need to set this “right” as we say? Life indeed intervenes and yanks us to the present moment, does it not.

      I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  25. Shakti, living in Hawaii is a real eye-opener, for me. It’s so extraordinarily beautiful, but even in this beauty and constantly changing landscape, I’m sure I take it for granted more than I should. Though I am mindful of my good fortune and try not to be cavalier about it.
    We naturally have many guests. And the good thing about that is that we get to see the island through their eyes each time. It helps to have a fresh perspective, and also to go places we normally don’t go as we’re such homebodies.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip, and that you appreciated it. I’m sure the land resonated to your openness and perhaps opened itself up to you in a way few experience. My husband and I are both lovers of history – so great to read your post and to get that historical perspective, as well.
    Blessings to you!

    • Bela,

      Could it be that the reason you settled down in Hawaii was because you always possessed an intrinsic need to have beauty all around you?
      Could it be that there are folks who are better wired to be mindful of their present and thus hold less clutter of their past or future?
      Could it be that you are one of such blessed folks?

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. You know how much I appreciate your presence.

      Shakti

  26. The congested, close quarters remind me so much of the urban areas of the Philippines, and Spain and Italy. I love looking at it. 😀 People are always in a rush, it’s our nature. A rush to do our chores and livelihood, a rush to go places and explore. Same thing, Shakti. They are just in the comfort of their own territory. We are humans you don’t know how to stay still, and are dreadful of getting stuck-ed.
    Ow, when I was in Italy. I always, always love seeing Mt. Vesuvius every time I go to work.
    Great travel stories, and great thoughts that comes with it.

    • Hi Rommel,

      You are right.Each one of us get conditioned to always be in a rush. We hold a belief that if we are not in a rush, we are not working hard, not doing justice. Even when we may be physically still, our minds and thoughts are rushing all over except dwelling in the present. Hence the autopilot mode. This is the reason why I mused about the need to hold a ‘visitor mindset’ devoid of all the daily clutter we carry around in our minds. With this mindset comes the possibility of creative thoughts and appreciation of the “here & now”.

      As the bard W.H. Davies had mused,

      “WHAT is this life if, full of care,
      We have no time to stand and stare?—
      No time to stand beneath the boughs,
      And stare as long as sheep and cows:

      No time to see, when woods we pass,
      Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

      No time to see, in broad daylight,
      Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

      No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
      And watch her feet, how they can dance:

      No time to wait till her mouth can
      Enrich that smile her eyes began?

      A poor life this if, full of care,
      We have no time to stand and stare.”

      Thanks for the comment Rommel, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  27. Your thoughtful post brings a couple of thoughts to mind, Shakti. I recall my Mom saying that she had worked right down the street from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But she never went to see it until shortly before she moved away. Before we moved from Central New York to Florida, I crammed as many sights, sounds and tastes in as I could of that locale before we left.

    We sometimes get to re-experience and appreciate things thru the eyes of our children. Suddenly we “discover” something that at one time seemed so ordinary. Now, thru new eyes, it is magic. I loved your photos and comments. Thank you, Shakti.

    • Hi Judy,

      Your recollection of what your Mom said is what my post is all about. The challenge that we hold is how to retain that all curious, raring to go “visitor mindset” in our daily lives. How do we do that? But till we make that shift, we would fail to “discover” the extra-ordinariness in the ordinary as you say.

      Thank you for your lovely comment, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  28. Greetings and thank you Shakti…I have always felt that one of our greatest challenges in life is to not only remain present in our lives, but somehow figure out how to keep the newness intact so the excitement and awe and wonder never leaves us. It is a hard obstacle to get beyond and opens the door for our autopilot lifestyle to take hold…Once we master this obstacle we will be well on our way to sublime living…Have a great weekend my friend and be still in your heart…VK

    • Hi VK,

      Greetings to you too!

      Your comment so beautifully resonates with my post that I can only applaud and say “thank you.”

      VK, as always I appreciate you for being here. With blessings.

      Shakti

    • Hmmm! That’s a great question. What did the sleepy goatherd indeed do? Well, since he found the shady and was feeling sleepy, he must have gone to Noddyland, I guess 🙂

      Cheers

      Shakti

    • If my post has fueled in you the aspiration to visit Antalya, I guess I have succeeded! It is a wonderful place and I encourage you to go.

      Thank you for commenting.

      Shakti

    • Yes, indeed, as we shift ourselves to appreciate the little things in the “here & now”, our lives can get vastly enriched. Thank you for your kind words and presence. I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  29. Thank you for taking me along the walk with you Shakti, the photo’s are wonderful, a place I have not been, and as you discribe I could have easily got lost inside the past of those bygone times.. All those little things add up to bring home how the simple things of life mean so much… Just being able to muse and reflect as our thoughts get caught up within the past..Taking time out to cast our minds back to see how far we seemingly have come, and yet how very much further we have to go…..
    Wishing you and yours a relaxing time this weekend
    Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      As always your gracious presence and thoughts here always adds that zing to my day. So, thank you.

      Have you had the experience of visiting a place which somehow envelops you in a special way? A place where you intuitively feel comfortable and something in you tells you to wander around? To me, Antalya was that sort of place.And as I wandered around allowing the sights and the sounds to seep in, the clutter inside receded allowing me to muse the way I did.

      As always, I appreciate you, Sue.

      Shakti

  30. Insahallah! Having spent much time in Turkey, and knowing Antalya very well, I can understand what you´re saying. But then go to the old metal market – if it´s still there – and listen to the rhythms of the craftsmen beating out their pots and pans. Antalya is noisy, its people live for the moment, but their moment is different to yours. Their understanding of time, almost at odds. They can´t understand your sort of rush, as you can´t understand theirs. They don´t have to look at their wonderful surroundings all the time, they live amongst them. But sit down and take glass of chai with a few locals and discover how they have all the time in the world to talk.

    Antalya is part of the cradle of Western civilisation. Greek and Roman ruins abound throughout the province, and then there are others that go back much further. It is Biblical, it is Christian, it is Moslem, I get the feeling we are all mere travellers in time when we visit such jewels, including the people who borrow the city now, They spend their lives there, we spend our holidays,
    .

    • Hi Bryan,

      I can see what you mean. Yes, one needs to listen to the rhythm of a place to allow the essence to seep in. What jumps out at me are your words,
      “….. its people live for the moment, but their moment is different to yours. Their understanding of time, almost at odds. They can´t understand your sort of rush, as you can´t understand theirs…..” This brings in a great perspective and I realise that I was somehow looking at the Antalya folks from my point of reference. Was I being judgmental?

      And yes, we remain mere travellers in time and in the moment. We need to remain grateful for all that places like Antalya offer to us.

      Thank you for your lovely and perceptive comment, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

      • No, you weren´t being too judgemental at all.

        Most times I have to look at places at least twice in order not to jump to swift conclusions. You possess the eye of a poet, and subjectivity is sometimes a valuable part of the art. As the observer you have to establish your presence, and you do it very well. Without it, we would not be able to appreciate your world through your eyes, and the result would be bland and uninspiring.

        So many times I remember arriving at destinations late at night, tired and grumpy, thinking how I would leave the next morning, only to wake and see them again through completely different eyes. But not always. Besides, your comments about Antalya are valid. I know I have felt the same many times when gazing at beauty.

        Where Antalya is concerned I visited it so many times I grew to understand it in ways that are difficult without doing just that.

        I enjoy your replies, as much as your posts, they are so thoughtful, kind and gentle. Thank you.

      • Hi Bryan,

        As I read this comment of yours, I realise what a great insight you have brought up regarding the importance of subjectivity. I really had not thought of it in this manner so thank you!

        Shakti

    • You’re so poetic, Bryan. You bring it totally to life.

      Shakti – I enjoyed this post much. My horizons are broadened by your pages. Cheers 🙂

  31. I love that you opened with Jon Kabat-Zinn. I do believe that this wonderful photo – poem- essay will open each who comes by. I opened a bit today. Thank you Shakti.

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