Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Five Ways of Contemplative Photography: Part Five

5.   With the Eyes of the Mystic

   When you approach contemplative photography with the eyes of a mystic you see the world as a playground of the divine.  Although I come from a Celtic Christian tradition, this way of seeing need not be associated with any particular faith practice.  Divine presence is a transcendent spirituality that comes with many names...or no name at all.

   The spiritual essence of the landscape, the world in general, is the primary focus of the photographer who sees the world with the eyes of the mystic.  It is way that I have only fairly recently been drawn to.  (You can see my post on this topic here...)

   Mysticism always, well to be frank, mystified me.  It certainly didn't feel natural.  But the more I've read about it, especially in the work of the great spiritual mystics like Rumi and Hildegard of Bingen, I've begun to feel more comfortable with this way of practicing my craft.

   This is the last of the five ways of contemplative photography.  I've ordered them in the way I personally discovered them.  From the cool observations of the Inquirer, I became more and more passionately involved with it all.  It truly was a journey from the head to the heart.

   In reality, these five ways are not singular approaches.  They combine in various ways and sometimes I find that I progress through all five ways during the course of my experience in the landscape.  No matter which way you identify with, keep your mind and your heart open to alternative might discover a way I haven't even considered!  The important thing is that  your way of contemplative photography fits you.


Mystic Meandering said...

This is my favorite post of the 5, as you might imagine... :) Resonating deeply. For me, being a "mystic" means seeing beyond the surface to the living Presence that animates all life. Some call that God, the Divine, Consciousness, Infinite Beingness, etc. Seeing the cosmos (or the sacred) in the ordinary type thing; seeing that *everything* is "the Mystery" living ItSelf here. As you said, seeing life as the playground of the Divine. Yes... Some feel that a "mystic" is only interested in seeking "mystical experiences" but for me it is not that, but seeking intimacy with the Divine, with universal Truth, which, as you said is not associated with any particular faith or practice, but is a transcended spirituality... Yes. And photography sometimes helps to capture that sense of "the Mystery" that we experience...

Patricia Turner said...

Each of the five ways is a progression. Each leading to a higher and higher level of engagement. Thank you for your lovely comment. I think of myself as a "mystic in training". I know it is one of the most meaningful ways to regard the world.