Friday, March 1, 2013

"Seeking Souls - Apply Within"

If you search everywhere and cannot
find what you are seeking it is
because what you are seeking is
already in your possession.

-Lao Tzu

   I had to chuckle the other night while I was watching a re-run of The Mentalist. There was Patrick Jane quoting the great Taoist master Lao Tzu!  It was a great quote for the detectives in the story who were looking for clues but it's also a wonderful reminder for contemplative photographers as well.

Looking for Cockles - Barra, 2011
   People who embrace the idea of contemplative photography are seeking souls.  We look for inspiration in the little visual "breadcrumbs" we gather on our journeys.  What I sometimes have to remind myself of is that we already carry a great deal of wisdom within ourselves.  I doubt we give ourselves enough credit for this.  So much better, the logic goes, to seek out a "master", someone who has the wisdom we seek so we can learn at their feet.  

   I think this also applies to photographers in general who are constantly looking to other more gifted photographers to elevate their own images.  While a certain degree of learning-especially in basic technical knowledge- is necessary, we must not discount our own worthiness either in the contemplative part or the photography part.  No one can tell you what images you should make, although some will try.  You must be directed by your own will lead you to the "right" images.  

    By all means, go in search of what you need but keep in mind the possibility that at your core you already have what you are seeking at least in all the things that truly matter.  The rest you can learn as you need to.  This also reminds me of  another quote, this time by St. Brigid, when she was speaking to some pilgrims intent on making the arduous journey to Rome as a way to enhance their spirituality...

You will not find in Rome what you
don't already carry in your heart.

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