Contemplatives in Conversation: Images in Contemplative Practice
Updated: Jun 9
This piece, featured in Interalia Magazine as well as in Contemplative Light, is based on my conversation with Don Salmon on Zoom. In it, we explored the contradictions inherent in our use of images for spiritual guidance, along with questions related to the intersection of art and theology. We discuss whether abstract images or images of nature have the same power to inspire contemplation through devotion and love as sacred images of specific mystics, yogis, sages, and saints.
Is there a difference in the state of consciousness achieved through religious tradition as compared to contemporary methods of spiritual practice that aren’t necessarily associated with a tradition? What is the role of imagery in devotional practices vs non-devotional practices? We explore the relative value of image-based vs. non-image-based meditation, and the benefits of using digital images for contemplation. We also discuss the nature of apophatic and cataphatic methods and how different traditions approach images as vehicles for spiritual enlightenment.
Mosaic Ceiling of the Florence Baptistry