I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Laurel Pepin’s reflection, “My spiritual practice of receiving light.”
In the beginning was light. The light of the universe, brought into being in an unimaginably short moment. Light and energy, energy and mass, in the beginning interchangeable. For me it’s all about the light. Light, the energy that holds together the particles, that hold together atoms, that holds together me. Light energy from supernovae, possibly the single source of matter that makes up stones, cardinals, seaweed, bone.
Light is a wave. Light is a particle. Nothing can travel faster than light. Nothing. Telescopes measure the distance to a cosmic body by its light, its wavelength, its red shift.
Light is a spectrum, a continuum. There is light that we can see and light that we can’t. The visible light is just a slice of all the light that is. On the spectrum of light – from radio wave, microwave, infrared, visible, through ultraviolet, x ray, gamma ray – visible light is .0035 percent.
Thought of another way: My eyes have evolved to see only visible light. All the other light is invisible to me. This light that reveals depth, meaning, differentiation to my existence is but a small slice of all the possible light. This understanding of my vision is profound to me. It is magnificent mystery, inspiring, and guides my spiritual practice of photography.
A covid year sheltering at home, photographing creation in my back yard – my pandemic sanctuary – gave time and space for my practice grow. My teachers: photographers who encourage me to trust my unique vision, scientists who peer deeper into the quantum realm revealing profound mystery, poets who elevate the power of a word to evoke emotion. My guides: Sophia, wisdom who comes to me in silence. My practice: walking, looking, receiving.
My practice of receiving light from creation, both cosmic and terrestrial light, combined with a Visio Divina practice of receiving a word speaking to me from this light, connects me to this mystery and miracle of being present to Spirit.
And along my journey of exploring light, something amazing happened. Sophia whispered to me: “Your eyes can only see visible light, but your camera can receive infrared light. What might you find there?”
With a full spectrum converted camera, modified to receive infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, and an expansive learning curve, I explore the same open spaces in a new light. Receiving only infrared light from the ground and a wider spectrum from the cosmos, I ask spirit to teach me what this means and what else this means. My exploration of ‘another light’, another slice of the spectrum, is teaching me to look deeper both within creation and within myself.
This spiritual practice of mine is sacred gift.
Being able to share what I learn from creation is so important to me and I was able to self-publish my collection of photos and poems from my covid confinement: 227 Paces, My Pandemic Sanctuary. I’m working on my second collection, roughly titled In Another Light. I am inspired by the photographers, scientists, and poets whose shared works have guided me. The only way I know to thank them is to do the same.
Laurel Pepin, a lifelong resident of Windsor, Connecticut; studied fine art photography in school, although her management skills brought her on a different path. She has since returned to her artistic roots designing liturgical art installations for her church and writing and photographing creation in every spare moment. Visit Laurel online at SharedLightWorks.com