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Archive for October 1st, 2009

We all enjoy a trip to someplace new. While traveling for pleasure, we look at things with greater care and enjoy exploring. We savor our meals a bit more and find more things about which to be astonished.

The “quest” is a very powerful archetype that underlies our wanderlust and tourism impulse. The modern quest is of course outfitted with its own ritual paraphernalia: guide books, audio guides, and of course the all important digital cameras and camcorders.

The camera has become an especially important part of one’s journey, but I find that those photos are rarely revisited. Also, though we try, the photos can never recapture the unique character of our experience. We nonetheless nobly soldier on in a vein attempt to help people see what we saw, but I, for one, have grown tired of the many feigned gestures of interest and enthusiasm. They weren’t there and there’s no way around that.

The real value of the camera is for me. It helps me single something out from the many possibilities around me that I am taking in, so I can reflect back on it later. Yet, the real goal of the quest is not the destinations nor the individual objects along the way (marvelous though they may be). The point of the quest is the questing in itself. The practice makes us feel more present and alive, interested without any use to be necessarily made of any new knowledge gained in our travels. We plan it, make choices about what to visit, and feel that all the world is new again as we begin our explorations.

These memorable (and generally expensive) adventures come, for most of us, fairly infrequently. How can we bring the quest into our daily lives more fully and more often in very practical, low cost ways?

A practice I am enjoying this morning is to choose to pay special attention to some one phenomenon in particular.

I have a client, for example, who has decided to study and photograph church doors: to examine the range of colors, design, size, symbolism, and the degree to which the door communicates warm welcome or austere authority.

For today’s reflection, I am choosing to go on a quest in search of shades and hues of color. My color palette is pretty impoverished actually. I can name only a small number of color shades. My purpose is to become more refined in what I can appreciate about color and, through that practice, add the qualities of sacred pilgrimage to my day, whether in unfamiliar or familiar settings.

I do hope your day is awash with dazzling colors, and the deep satisfaction that comes from really experiencing it.

Crimson Palette

Crimson Palette

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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