Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Full Participation in Life

This is a thought-provoking article:

Why you should stop taking pictures on your phone - and learn to draw

In a nutshell: you don't commit things to memory that you are capturing in a digital image; you do not fully engage in the moment.  People who draw what they see notice more details.

On a personal level, I came to the conclusion a while ago that, rather than worry about taking a photo or a video all the time, I prefer to watch my children perform/play/swim, savoring the moment with my mind.  I don't banish the camera completely, as watching video of their younger selves brings great joy, as does flipping through their scrapbooks.  I'm more judicious in my archiving activities.

I shared this link with a few people.  One of my wise sisters (I say one, for they are both wise) pointed out that drawing, too, could be a hindrance to full participation in the moment.  I agree with her on that.  When I scan my mind for the most memorable moments of life, I don't need any aids in appreciating those moments.  For example, holding each of my children for the first time: snapping a photo or attempting to sketch the moment would have been a disruption, a distraction.

Would you believe it?  St. John of the Cross might agree with me.  He writes this about our ability to fully enjoy union with God:
Let us imagine a perfect painting with many finely wrought details and delicate, subtle adornments, including some so delicate and subtle that they are not wholly discernible.  Now one whose sense of sight is not too clear and refined will discover less detail and delicacy in the painting; one whose vision is somewhat purer will discover more details and perfections; and another with yet clearer vision will find still more perfection; finally, the one who possesses the clearest faculty will discern the greatest number of excellent qualities and perfections.  There is so much to behold in the painting that no matter how much one sees in it, still more remains unseen.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel
Book Two, Chapter 5, Section 9
In all things, then, we should strive for that full participation.  With life, with our loved ones, with God!


Full confession: I took photos of the amazing cloud formations only after I spent time enjoying their beauty with the naked eye.  Honest!

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