Saturday, January 19, 2008

Seeing What's Hidden

When hiking through the woods or across the meadows with camera/tripod on my shoulder, I try to tune in to any wildlife that might be nearby. Unfortunately for the photographer, but fortunately for the various animal citizens of our world, Nature has granted them the ability to blend in to their surroundings. So the photographer needs to move very slowly, in general, and to maintain a really close lookout--for baby elk blending into the dead fallen oak leaves, a turtle or frog covered with duckweed, a great blue heron disappearing into the shoreline reeds, or a nesting songbird. Can you see them all here?

Maybe some close-up views will help:

It's not easy, is it? Even with the aid of a zoom lens and some judicious cropping, it's sometimes tough to pick out the reality from the illusion.

Especially when the truth is hiding under a lot of muck!

But it sure is amazing once you actually discover it there! Once your eyes are actually opened to discern what's really there.

Spiritual seekers can certainly relate to this photographer's dilemma. Every moment of every day, we are bombarded with stimuli--things we see, hear, taste, feel. Messages that seek to reveal the truth and enlighten us, and messages that seek to hide it and fool us. We filter out a lot of these messages, just because there are way too many--but how do we know what we might be overlooking? And even when we do pay attention, are we able to discern Truth? Are we able to see the beautiful emerald frog hiding beneath the slime? As the great guru Jesus is reported to have said, "Hear, if you have ears!" Or if you have eyes, open them up and see!

Truth may not be pretty--it may be a plain brown toad sitting on a dead stick--or what we want it to be, or where we expect to find it, but it is always there somewhere, just waiting for us to discover it, like the tiny toad sitting quietly on the forest floor as we walk past and, if we're attentive or lucky, glance down for a moment of discovery.