Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hidden within all things

"To recognize the sacred is not so much to see new things as it is to see things in a new way. The sacred is not separate or different from all things, but rather hidden within all things. To see the spiritual in ourselves and the world is to recognize what is always already present. This new way of seeing is an innate gift that needs to be cultivated."
-- Roger Walsh, Essential Spirituality

Yesterday my kids nailed some long driftwood poles to the little boardwalk that goes from our deck to the beach. The poles are temporary, erected partly to support a rope that will serve as a sort of handrail, and mostly to carry a string of lights. Without the rope and the lights, they look a bit strange -- or, at least they did, until the sun came out in the middle of a downpour, and suddenly the poles were calligraphy, carving words of grace on the horizon.

Or, at least, that's how they seemed to my camera. Frankly, I didn't see it until after I took the picture -- which is often how it goes for me. My camera -- all my cameras -- have always seen things my brain doesn't relay; it's as if the cameras have an invisible link to my inner divine. And I'm so grateful for that -- if I didn't have this alternative way of seeing, a way of turning off my inner labeling mechanism and just taking in what IS -- I'd miss an awful lot. I have to confess -- I shot several images AROUND the poles, not wanting them in the photo, until I gave up and shot with them in the picture, because that just seemed to be what was called for.

It's a perfect illustration of what Walsh is saying in this quote I read just this morning: the sacred is not different or separate. Or, as the gifted writer Marilynne Robinson says in Gilead, "Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see.” That glow of sacredness is there, just below the surface, in absolutely everything and everyone -- even me. I like to think it's the sacred in me that shouts "Grab the camera!" to some other part of my brain and then insists on pointing the lens at something I don't understand: Perhaps it's the sacred recognizing itself and calling out to it, much as we spot close friends or family in a crowd and single them out.

But then, I don't need to know exactly how it works: I just need to notice that it does, and allow that to remind me -- again -- of what an amazing world this is.


Maureen said...

Oh, that wonderful image! Those poles like totems, their reflection extending into the depths of the shimmering water, the straightest like a cut or tear down the paper separating the image, alienating it into different pieces, the two toward the back merging into a deep V. The coloring is special too.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Diane ... how often I've been humbled by my camera that also sees things I didn't, and probably would have never, noticed. I thought it was just me ... thanks for sharing.