Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Open Yourself to the Mystery...

Mystery is what happens to us when
we allow life to evolve rather than
having to make it happen all the time.

- Joan Chittister
The Gift of Years

The Empty Chair
   Human beings are rational, fact-based creatures on the whole.  We need to know and to explain everything.  Of course, that obsession for getting to the truth of things has brought us far over the millenniums but in the quest to answer every question, we have lost the appreciation of the mysterious side of life; the acceptance of the unknowable; the joy in the hidden energy of existence.

   So much of Taoism is rooted in this acceptance of the mystery...being open to the natural flow of life without needing to direct the outcome.  I see contemplative photography that way as well.  Part of my process is to simply let go and allow the mystery to unfold and enfold  me.  Why am I drawn to a place?  Why am I urged to take my time and absorb the energy of the landscape?  You must ask yourself if you are content to skip over the surface, like the flat stone thrown from the shore, or do you desire to sink below the surface to experience the hidden truths, the true mystery behind the veil?

   This doesn't mean you need to "know" the landscape, as a geologist or a botanist would.  You can simply revel in the mysterious energy of place and see what it can teach you.  You can always recognize those for whom this mystery is most important.  They don't walk through a landscape with their nose in the guide book but, rather, with their face turned towards the sun and wind or they simply sit quietly and still content with just being there.  The former will get the facts, no doubt, but the latter will absorb the essence, the true sense of place.

   So much of life, I think, is mystery and I  prefer to keep it that way.  I will get where I need to go and I'll receive the images I need to receive - that's enough for me.

I see my path, but I don't know where it leads.
Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires
me to travel it.

- Rosalea de Castro

1 comment:

Andy Ilachinski said...

Patricia, I don;t recall if I recommended an extraordinary book on "seeing" by Henri Bortoft, called "The Wholeness Of Nature"? It is ostensibly about Goethe's vision of nature, but as all spiritual guides are, it is so much more! I have a feeling it would find a special place on your shelf: