Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Visio Divina: Sacred Seeing

The last snow of the season.
  In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, icons are windows that allow the viewer to gaze into the heart of God.  The Hindu's call such seeing  darshan.  I've encourage you to learn to read your images through Photo Lectio and to create your own icons of experience.  These are all forms of visio divina or sacred seeing.

   As contemplative photographers this idea of sacred seeing is a comfortable fit but what does it actually mean?  I've said that I try to hear the whisperings of the landscape through my visual listening exercises and that all creation contains the stamp of its divine DNA.  In a real sense, if our seeing becomes beholding then all seeing is sacred.  The problem is to recognize it as such.

   Whether it is watching your cat sleep contentedly in the sun or taking the time to observe a single leaf drift down a stream or the clouds shape shift on a summer day, all that we behold is infused with divine presence.   At best, our photographs are inadequate translations of that presence.

   Through my work with SoulCollage® I've developed a whole new appreciation for the power of images to communicate.  We are drawn to images that have some meaning to us whether we gather images for collage or through our cameras.  Divine seeing allows us to open up a channel between ourselves and the image.  Intense regard brings the image into us in a very real way.  It is no longer just an object, it is a open door that leads us into a new way of being.

   Sacred seeing begins with sacred thinking.  The right mindset is crucial.  It is characterized by an open and non-judgmental thought process and a compassionate sentience. These are things we need to practice on a daily basis.  If we fully embrace sacred thought then sacred seeing will come quite naturally.  It is not that the mystics see differently than the rest of us, they simply practice sacred thinking much more than we do.

   For a more fully delineated description of visio divina, you can go to this link...

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