Now, as I journey with my contemplative photography, I know that there is more behind those soulful yellow eyes than some would believe. The development of a strong empathetic attitude is crucial for me. It effects how I look at the world and, I feel, it makes me more receptive to the images I am gifted.
Feeling this profound connection with the living landscape is an important characteristic of the contemplative photographer. You can never truly relate to something you don't first love on some level.
Through my study of Taoism I have come to embrace the idea of sentience, the metaphysical quality of all living things that requires respect and care. It is a very Celtic thing as well...to see the divine in all of creation. It is also a philosophy that is central to those of us who advocate for the humane treatment of animals.
When we open our hearts to these creatures we can begin to understand the character of unconditional love. The ability to feel and show love is not limited to human animals. In the West, the idea of sentience in non-human animals is an often scoffed at thing but that doesn't phase me. I am very attracted to photograph animals and their complete genuineness is something I've long admired. They are what they are and they don't pretend to be anything else. Humans could use a bit of this truthfulness of spirit.
I found a board on Pinterest that celebrates sentience in the animal world. The images will make you smile and also, I hope, bring a new respect for these creatures. Put aside your skepticism and embrace the empathy. This board of photographs of animals, great and small, displaying real emotions will make you feel good down to your toes and isn't that a great thing? Happy Valentine's Day...Share the Love!