Listening from the Heart

SC jan 2014-3The poet Mark Nepo asks, “Can you refresh your ethic of wonder by listening to the earth?” (From his book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen.) That thought has some very interesting ideas in it.

Nepo uses listening in a broader, deeper sense than merely hearing things with our ears. He also intends this to mean listening, connecting with the heart. For me, connecting with the heart in nature is enhanced by my photography, and not simply by the photographs. As I photograph, I shut out other things. I try to open my heart and listen to what the nature in front of me is telling me it needs. I think good photography is always about the photographer and the subject and how they connect. Photography becomes superficial and trite when it becomes merely surface where the photographer imposes some sort of arbitrary technique on the scene rather than hearing what the scene wants to tell him or her.

SC jan 2014-4Still, sometimes I forget to listen and get all excited about my way of photographing what is in front of me. The photograph starts then to be about me and not about the subject. It is then ego and not connection. Wayne Dwyer says that EGO means Edging God Out and I think that can be true.

I think Nepo’s idea of refreshing our ethic of wonder is pretty remarkable. That is a very spiritual point of view. ‘Refresh” and ethic are core to a spiritual life and to religion. Jesus himself says in John 3:3 – “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” There is not much that is more about “refresh” than being born again or about the “spirit” than the kingdom of God. Last year Chuck talked about how important our world is as it is connected to the kingdom of God, again noted by Christ in the Lord’s Prayer, “… Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.”

SC jan 2014-5Being born again spiritually to the wonder of nature on earth – that seems like a pretty good idea. Photography helps me do that. I believe nature is an amazing expression of God’s art and it is worth paying attention to it, deeply paying attention from the heart. That means shedding off the ego and being open to what nature has to say to us about the world, about us, about God.

SC jan 2014-1

The photos here are all from a recent trip to Florida.

— Rob