In my reflections on photography and spirituality I often speak of the importance of living in the moment, being fully present to the world as it presents itself to us and, in the case of photography, composing an image that captures for us that experience.

It occurred to me recently that people with dementia live in the present moment. Perhaps all they have is the present moment, and that is not something we would want to experience. So what’s the difference between that illness and the type of awareness I am referring to?

What we strive for is to be immersed in the present moment with a sense of connection, awareness, and engagement, not simply a disconnected experience of our surroundings, divorced from any personal history.

What we give ourself to in meditation and in pursuing our art is the experience of connectedness that our focus allows to happen. For me it is an awareness of and connection with the divine presence in creation. It engages me with meaning and draws me in and leads to gratitude. It is this affirming connection with creation and with the divinity that distinguishes our centering experiences from illness and that makes our efforts at prayer and creativity so worthwhile and rewarding.

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

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