Our first fortnight of The Eye of Horus is done. In it we have seen the value of connection in our contemplative seeing. Human beings have an inbuilt desire to connect, to relate, to make things into sense. I like to think this is a mirroring of the Lord bringing order out of chaos, brooding over the waters. We yearn to have order, purpose, belonging, connection.
We are psychologically disposed to see faces and find patterns in the most random seeming stimuli. The clever word for this is pareidoilia, if you like that sort of thing. Turns out it is normal to see faces in clouds, even if South-American Catholics sometimes get a bit over-excited when Jesus appears in their tomatoes, this is perfectly human, it’s how we are wired, to see patterns, to make a connection with the things around us. I drive my husband mad with the things I see in my toast, like the toast bunny above. I also have a photo of when Donald Trump appeared in my toast, but I won’t scare you with that.
So, in my contemplative poetic ramblings to go with the photographs, you will have seen me make reference to characters in books I’ve read, ascribe the shape of an arrow to a formation of water droplets in the atmosphere, be reminded of comedy songs by the roundness of a plate, and apply scriptures to the flight of a small bird. This is evidence that I am not only seeing what is there, but that I am sitting with what I see, and linking it to other thoughts and ideas as I ponder. This takes a little time, and adds layers of meaning to a seeing. It doesn’t follow, of course that all those thoughts are holy, but as we set our minds and especially our hearts more and more on God and his Word, the greater the likelihood we will find our contemplations wandering in his direction, learning to see and hear what creation is shouting out to us about our Maker.
In some ways, contemplating a piece of creation or a moment caught in a photograph is a bit like staring at a painting and seeing what it brings to you. Two of the most powerful ways we use connections like these are in the fields of memory and innovation. Both our processing of the past and our creating paths for the future come from our ability to make connections. Our very brains use pathways of synapses, neurons firing off one another in a chain reaction to create original thoughts and come up with ideas, likewise we reach down these pathways to recall and relive memories or to file them away.
As we make all these links in contemplation, we need to do so with an awareness of our processes, with an understanding that a lot of these things come to the surface from our subconscious, from our ways of seeing and interpreting the world around us. Our background, race, social standing, education, gender, prejudices etc. will come into play. Again, this is natural, but we do need to be honest with ourselves about our own cosmology and how these lenses affect what we see. Part of contemplation and its fruit is to challenge those very things, but we will come back to that later. For now, we are simply happy to “only connect.”
“Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.” E. M. Forster, Howard’s End
The next fortnight or so we will be looking at seeing with a sense of wonder……
Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017