Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In the mountains and the valleys

I spent much of yesterday afternoon prepping and printing images for an upcoming show, and then spent my evening going through my photo files looking for possible candidates for another show that's scheduled for November.

It's always fun to revisit folders whose images I haven't seen in a while. And sometimes I think the work I was doing back when I first started shooting -- like this one, shot in Tennessee while visiting a friend -- has more of an impact that the pictures I shoot now.

Of course some of that is because all the old ones have been through several years of culling, and only the best of the best remain. But still, visiting images from the past is a bit like visiting the ME from the past. And I particularly wanted to do that this week because something in Sunday's sermon triggered an unexpected grief in me. I'm not sure how it happened, but I left the church rather painfully aware that deep inside somewhere there is a sort of tomb, rather like the one Jesus was buried in. Something, or someone; some hope or dream or potential, or some part of something in my life lies buried in this tomb. The stone at the door is too heavy for me to roll away, but I have this sense that it may be important to figure out who or what lies buried there -- whether or not I can ever move the stone.

I carried that knowledge into spirituality class with me yesterday, and found that as I listened from that space, and heard people talk about their struggles with their shadows, some part of me was thinking I'd rather be struggling with shadows: at least there's some drama there. This tomb, and trying to figure out what's in it, feels like staring into an abyss; sort of distracting and deadening.

But it also feels like a good thing to explore: there's always the hope that understanding will prove an invitation to resurrection. And the good news is this: I know I'm not searching alone. There was a wonderful passage in the Elizabeth Lesser book, The Seeker's Guide, which my class is still studying:

The common theme running through all spiritual literature in its attempt to define God is the sense of a relationship between our limited consciousness -- the separate self -- and an overarching consciousness-- a unified whole. It isn't so much that God is the unified state of consciousness that each of us came from and will return to, but more that God is the creative energy flowing between all states of consciousness. God is in the land beyond the mountains, but God is also in the mountains and in the valley of illusions cradled within the mountains. God is not one thing or another; rather God flows between and through all things. God connects, relates, weaves all things together as if one.

I like this way of seeing God: it approximates what I sometimes sense in meditation, and it comforts me at times like this, when it seems I need to go on yet another quest; to unearth yet another part of myself and bring it into the light. If God is there in all parts of the journey -- in the valleys as well as in the mountains and beyond, flowing between and through -- then I know I do not have to walk alone.


Maureen said...

It is comforting to accept that God is in us and that because of that we are never alone. What's difficult is holding on to that state of being. Fear can corrupt it, things going wrong and out of control can corrupt it; loss does, too. Eventually, though, faith and belief can help bring the comforting feeling back.


Joyce Wycoff said...

Diane ... I look forward to your journey. It feels like you are tugging at something significant and it makes me want to dig a little deeper myself.

Louise Gallagher said...

I love what you wrote. I too have had those triggering moments over the past while -- something deep is buried, looking for egress. To let it free I must simply be, where ever I'm at, without forcing it.

And that's so hard for me. I want to rotorooter into my soul and dig it up.

Thanks for the beautiful reminder to just be in the knowing -- I am not alone.