A Magical Prairie Dawn
As I sat on my back deck looking out as a morning began to unfold, as the sun began to paint colours, I was thankful for the gift of being present and a part of this moment of magic. I know that the photo I took can never capture the essence of what I can only say is something truly spiritual, a scene that gives a sense that something else is present, something more than what can be seen and measured. Jung called it the numinous. I have to admit that being present in moments such as this, moments which can only be hinted at with an image, brings a sense of fullness that is hard to describe.
“Attending to nature is a spiritual exercise whether or not it goes by that name. It is a particular kind of contemplation. Not empty, except that the lens is still. Not full, because there is no agenda. . . . Being a lens is far different from looking through one. . . . To be a lens is to live in a certain way, to be a means rather than a subject, and transparent rather than stuffed with a self.” [Moore, The Soul’s Religion, p. 183]
I have to admit that I have never considered it from this point of view, that I was a lens. Since I typically have my camera close at hand, I think of the camera’s lens as a tool I use to attempt capturing what I see and feel. I did know the idea of attending to nature as a portal for meditation, even as meditation itself. The images I bring here, that I capture with my camera are yet another way of attending as well. I like what Moore has to say about images:
“As we notice the presence of the art images around us, we may come to see everything as an image.” [p. 179]
In a way, being able to shift into a different state of consciousness in which we stop looking at the world and the people in it through a restrictive and literal lens, we get an opportunity to sense the presence of more. Each scene, each moment is then vital, pregnant with more than we can describe or take in with our senses. What we take as real becomes freed from our limited ego consciousness and promises us an escape hatch from the overstuffed busyness of a purely external and objective reality. Entry through the magic that an image contains when we become a lens, leads us to a space that is beyond boundaries, what can best be described as a pregnant emptiness.