Photography is a wonderful contemplative practice. The camera lens focuses on God’s presence. We learn how to see with new eyes. We see from our heart not our minds. We begin to view the world through God’s eyes.
Grab your camera or cell phone. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Explore the paths of a local nature center. Stroll through a small town on foot.
Leave your worries, anxieties, fears, concerns at home. They will still be there when you return from your quiet journey. Decide to enjoy this special time. And then let go of that too.
God is your lens. What does the Divine want to reveal to you in the frame of the lens? Don’t look for the picture. The picture will find you.
What captures your attention or peaks your interest?
It is autumn. Is it the pastel colors of the leaves on the trees? Their foliage has begun to change color before they gently drop off and fall to the ground.
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Is it a church? The old church is constructed of magnificent large stones. You must capture its old fashioned splendor and beauty. It reminds you of a church you once attended many years once ago.
Is it a small pond? The dark blue sky and cotton ball white clouds perfectly reflect on the surface of its calm waters. It is difficult to discern where the water and the sky meet.
Focus and snap your picture. Zoom in if you must. Alter your perspective. Adjust your camera from portrait to landscape.
Crouch down and shoot upward. Ascend the small hill and snap the photo as you look down upon the scene.
“Photography can be an act of silent worship.” We rest in God’s presence that continues to surround us. Each frame reveals what God wants us to relish.
“Practice is the key to developing any habit; it is the commitment of a lifetime to keep showing up.” I must show up to my daily centering prayer practice. A contemplative photography practice is no different. Each time I show up I am always amazed by the pictures God has framed for me.
I encourage you to check out Christine Valters Paintner’s book, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice to learn more about this delightful practice.
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 Christine Valters Paintner, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice, (Sorin Books): 2013
The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Painter
Spirituality in Photography: Taking pictures with deeper vision by Philip J Richter
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
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I just finished Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community by Daniel P. Coleman and The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner. I am currently reading Intimacy with God: An Introduction To Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.