Be the Change You Want to See

BeChange

Contributed by Board Member, The Rev. Philip Hardwick

 
At Starbucks yesterday I overheard a couple of men talking about how terrible the world is. The conversation was very depressing. I left the coffee shop thinking about what they said and then I drove behind a car with a bumper sticker that said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” I think that’s a quote attributed to Gandhi. Let’s think about that for a moment. . . “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

Do we want a peaceful outer world?  We must reconcile our inner world. Are we sick and tired of cynicism and negativity out there? We must cultivate hope in here. Do we wish to find stillness in the world? We must find the calm within ourselves. Do we want others to be more loving toward us? We must choose to love first.

Richard Rohr says, “Transformed people transform people, and usually only as far as they themselves have been transformed. So the best thing you can do for your family and the world is to keep growing up yourself.”

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

 

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

 

~ Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

     

Contemplative Sight

IMG_7254

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

“Auguries of Innocence,” by William Blake

Contributed by Executive Director, The Rev. Tara K. Soughers, PhD

I have been finding, more and more, that my photography is a form of contemplative practice.

Of course, there are times when I rush madly around, taking pictures right and left, and those times are not particularly contemplative.  They are no more contemplative than other busy parts of my life.  Photography becomes another task to accomplish, another thing to mark off my “to-do” list.  I also find that those pictures, while often acceptable, are not usually my best pictures.

Photography becomes a contemplative practice for me when I make the time to slow down, and to become present.  I usually begin with looking for the obvious pictures, and I start there.  As I slow down, however, I begin to notice things, details, that I miss in my more hurried photographic  forays.

IMG_7240

Best, however, is when I sit in one place and let myself be present there.  In those times, I become see more deeply, and I am much more likely to be surprised by what is around me.  I can marvel at the texture of the rocks, notice how the light from the sun hits the trees, see the insects among the flowers, and watch the wind make ripples in the water.  For me it is a time of simply being a part of the world around me, allowing all of the normal activities and worries of my life slip away until I am at peace with the world around me.

IMG_7242

Like any other contemplative practice, sometimes I find it easier to get that place of quiet more easily than at other times.  In times of great stress, I may not be able to get to a place of calm presence.  Even on those days, when I am at my most distracted, however, I return from my contemplative time less stressed, more grounded, better able to face what lies ahead.

 

Does photography function as a spiritual practice for you?  Feel free to comment and to leave examples of your own photographic work.