Attentiveness

8Caladiums
Caladiums (2020)

When we become more attentive, a most important result becomes possible: we begin to see the world as it more nearly is rather than as we wish it to be. To be attentive is to know that we are always already in a world that touches, feeds, and responds to us in bewildering varieties of ways. It is to see how frequently and how easily we get in the way of others because we are so intent on imposing our way. At root, the skill of attentiveness manifests a willingness to love the world. The discipline of attention works to remove destructive ambition and ego so that what lies before us can speak for itself. It testifies to the desire to work with rather than against others. In its deepest and most concentrated forms, attention becomes a form of prayer, a practice in which the truth and integrity of the world and the grace of God can shine. (Norman Wirzba, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, 2nd ed., 2019, p. 97)

In a section of his book called “A Gardener’s Point of View”, Wirza speaks of the importance of attentiveness with respect to gardening. When I read this paragraph, I thought it described perfectly my lifelong goal and lesson about photography. Looking at life through the lens of my camera helps me to slow down, pay attention, and appreciate life and non-life forms all around me.

 


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