Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Contemplative Masters Series - John O'Donohue

"When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you. Your forgotten or neglected wealth begins to reveal itself. You come home to yourself and learn to rest within. Thoughts are our inner senses. Infused with silence and solitude, they bring out the mystery of inner landscape."

   I have much to thank John O'Donohue for, not the least of which is his introducing me to the Burren and Ballyvaughan back in 2007.

    He allowed me to come to know and value my inner landscape and its ability to mirror the metaphors I found in the outer landscape.  It is the quotation above that will be central to the third leg of my Threshold Pilgrimage in May.

   John reflected the lyrical love of landscape that all Irish seem imbued with.  The landscape isn't mere "real estate" as we often think of it but a living, breathing and palpitating manifestation of the divine.  You don't walk through it as much as you walk hand in hand with it.  He seemed to be able to reconcile Man's separation from Nature in the most lovely and poetic way.  I can easily state that so much of how I look at the world today is a direct result of having known John and his writings.

My portrait of John, 2007
   John also introduced me to Celtic spirituality. What I've come to love about it is the notion that the divine is not separate from the natural world.  For the Celtic mind, God didn't merely create nature, He is Nature.  This is a concept that is now central to my practice of contemplative photography.

The ancient Celts never separated the visible from the invisible, time from eternity, or the human from the divine.
- John O'Donohue

    Although not a photographer himself, he often said it was a subject he was interested in pursuing.  Had he lived, I believe John would have become the commensurate contemplative photographer.

   Through his writings and lectures, John has reached millions and he continues to do so six years after his untimely death in January of 2008.  I am ending with a link to the trailer of A Celtic Pilgrimage.  I've posted this before but with my own Celtic pilgrimage fast approaching I want you to see why I needed to return once again to the Burren and why John will be a sojourner in spirit with me as I explore this liminal location.  



Stacy Wills said...

Patricia, I've been receiving your lovely emails in my inbox for awhile now, and just wanted to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed the artistry and beauty of the words and images you share. Blessings to you this day!

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you Stacy! I'm so pleased when people take the time to comment. Glad you are enjoying the posts!

Mystic Meandering said...

Absolutely captivating... Inspired me this morning. Yes, The Divine *in* everything. Makes me want to be in nature more, to *experience* The Divine in this way... Will look for this PBS series at out library, or maybe it's still being shown... Thanks for posting this!

Patricia Turner said...

I doubt that before I met John and learned about Celtic spirituality I would have been able to embrace this way of thinking. We have been taught that the material world and the spiritual world are something separate from each other. Taoism hints at this connection with the concept of "as above, so below" but it really was the Celtic world view that resonated with me.

kimmanleyort said...

We certainly share a love for John O'Donohue and Ireland. I'm anticipating your pilgrimage almost as much as you are, I think.

Patricia Turner said...

And isn't anticipation a wonderful thing! It will be here before you know it. Yes, John has certainly touch many, many souls.

Patricia Turner said...

And isn't anticipation a wonderful thing! It will be here before you know it. Yes, John has certainly touch many, many souls.

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