Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Contemplative Masters Series: Emily Dickinson

Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of
living is joy enough.

   Emily Dickinson wrote all her 1800 poems either in her garden or in the bedroom of her Amherst, Massachusetts home.  I believe that if she had been a photographer, she would have done the same.  She would find her inspiration in her surroundings and would never feel the need to seek it outside the perimeter of her daily existence.

   The soul should always stand ajar, ready to
 welcome the ecstatic experience.

    If one cannot find inspiration, joy and the ecstatic experience near to hand than it is unlikely you will find it in any other place.  But if you can take pleasure in how a spot of sun illuminates you bedroom curtain or marvel at the color of grass after a spring rain, then you are well equipped my friend.  

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
 One clover, and a bee, And revery. 
The revery alone will do, If bees are few.

Today is the 100th anniversary of Thomas Merton's birth. For me, Merton is the most important contemplative master. I've created a collage of images of my trip to Gethsemani Abbey in 2013. You can read my post on my experience in my daily photojournal...


Sandra said...

I certainly agree about photography: using what is on hand and within our reach is the perfect way to go about things.
I really love Emily Dickinson's poems - a sheer joy!

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you Sandra! The beauty of the commonplace and close to important part of my contemplative practice!

kimmanleyort said...

I really relate to Emily Dickinson, having read recently about her need for solitude and how she connected with people through her writing. I like how you've included her as a contemplative master.

And yes happy birthday to Thomas Merton, a muse for both of us.

Patricia Turner said...

Yes, we have that in common but I think anyone who studies contemplation very long must pay tribute to Merton who really re-introduced the idea to America. Emily proves that the vow of stability isn't such a bad thing after all.