Friday, November 15, 2013

The Light Beneath it All...

   I am reading a book by J. Philip Newell, The Book of Creation - an introduction to Celtic Spirituality.  Next to Taoism, Celtic spirituality is what underlies most of my contemplation.  It informs my thinking when I look at my images.

   Light is at the center of Celtic thought and rather than being separate and detached, it is the very essence of all created things.

   Light is also the grand metaphor of wisdom as is seen in the Buddhist idea of enlightenment.  It is the basis, the beginning, the energy that empowers and flows through everything.  It is also a good metaphor for the exploration of the contemplative photographer.  We seek, through the images we receive, the light beneath no matter how obscured or blocked it may be.

   Even if we cannot see the light we know it is there because of the shadows it casts but the shadows do not define the light for shadows can be distorted.  For some, I fear, they see the shadows as reality and fail to understand the light behind them.

   In his book, Newell presents a poem by the great Celtic poet Kenneth White...

the loveliness is everywhere
in the ugliest
and most hostile environment
the loveliness is everywhere
at the turning of a corner
in the eyes 
and on the lips of a stranger
in the emptiest areas
where is no place for hope
and only death
invites the heart
the loveliness is there
it emerges
it rises in its own reality
and what we must learn is
 how to receive it
into ours

   I think it would be appropriate while reading the poem to liken the "loveliness" to the light...the light that illuminates our images and our hearts.  Try reading it again using the word light in place of loveliness.  Without light there would be no photographs.  The light defines our medium but also refines our reflections.

   When you are next out photographing, concentrate on the light.  See what it has to teach you.

   Here are two past posts you may find interesting...



Mystic Meandering said...

Beautiful post! The first image left me gasping... Lovely...
And the poem de-light-full... "it rises in its own reality. What we must learn is how to receive it..." Goosebumps... Thank you!

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you so much!