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The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive


The Meditation Makeover: Before and After

Before and After 1 

What would a month of meditation do for you? In the portrait series “Before and After,” Peter Seidler photographs participants on their first and last days of dathun, a 30-day group meditation retreat. He tells the Shambhala Times:

I set up the “Before and After” project to explore the observable effects on practitioners after long periods of intense meditation practice. The question is: what are the observable changes after a period of intense practice?

Each participant in the project was asked to simply sit for a portrait on first day of dathun.... I photographed them against a consistent background. Prior to the photograph, I asked each person to consider what they were looking for in the practice period ahead. This was on day number one. Then, at the end of the program, after approximately thirty days of retreat, I asked each participant in the project to sit in front of the same background and asked each to consider what the experience of mediation retreat had been for them.... It’s clear from the results that the person in every one of the portraits has undergone an important transformative experience. I leave it to the viewer to draw their own conclusion.

Before and After 2 

Before and After 3 

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Before and After 5 

Some people who view Seidler’s images perceive increased contentment and happiness in the meditators’ eyes; others struggle to discern a change. What do you see?

Source: Shambhala Times  

Images courtesy of Peter Seidler (peterseidler@gmail.com).