Yesterday I tried to explain how I see photography as a spiritual practice. As often happens, I realized there was more I wanted to say. I tried to explain how my awareness of the beauty of the natural world being threatened by smog triggered a deep concern that has persisted since. Photography had awakened my love of natural beauty first. Then the idea that we might not be able to continue to see that beauty set the course for my life’s work to try to prevent that from happening.
The process of taking a photograph is itself a spiritual practice. As I spent more time in the natural world, I found my “eye” was being guided to see things. Similar to Quaker worship, I was getting leadings, in this case visual leadings. I found if I stood still and quiet, I would discover an image to photograph. This eventually led to conversations with the Spirit. “That is a beautiful flower you created God.” “You painted the sky brilliantly”. “That is a nice arrangement of rocks.”
The awareness of these visual leadings helped me maintain a spirit of worship throughout the day.
One morning I had a visual leading during meeting for worship at North Meadow Friends. I noticed the shadows of a curtain moving on the back of the wooden bench in front of me. The shadows moved as the curtain moved gently in the wind. That led me to share a message. As usual, I had my camera with me. After meeting, I recorded this short video to show what I was seeing, and I repeated the message I was given. This was a convergence of spiritual and visual leadings I was blessed to experience.
After meeting my friend Daniel Ballow said, “I always wondered what spiritual fire looked like.” To which I said, “now you know.”