Eyes of the Heart: Photography as Contemplative Practice
A companion retreat to the book
Registration Fee: $120 USD
Photography is a deeply contemplative practice. If we approach it with reverence and intention, it can help us to see the holy moments all around us. In this online class you will be invited to take your camera out into the world each week for photographic journeys based on an adaptation of the ancient monastic practice of lectio divina and specific guided themes. In the process of slowing down and lingering over moments of beauty, you will cultivate sacred seeing, your ability to see the world beneath the surface appearance of things.
Photography is essentially about the play of light and dark, illumination and shadow, much as the spiritual journey is a practice of paying attention to these elements of our lives and how the holy is revealed in each. Photography is also about the choices we make in the visual framing of elements, what to include and what to exclude, whether to zoom or pull back. This is a practice of visual discernment: a way of choosing what is important and what needs to be let go of. We begin to see things differently, and in our images also discover aspects of ourselves and God. In our discussions we will explore how to distill wisdom from the images we receive.
Are you seeking a way to bring more presence and prayerfulness to your creative expression? Are you longing for ways to practice the contemplative life which are more visual and kinesthetic? Would you some structure and encouragement in the creative path?
This class is not about developing your technical proficiency as a photographer – it is about cultivating your ability to see with the "eyes of the heart" (Eph 1:18). In biblical and mystical traditions, the heart is the seat of our whole being. To see with the heart, means we bring the whole of ourselves to whatever reality we find ourselves in. We will explore photography in service of expanding our contemplative practice and compassionate presence to the world and to ourselves.
The themes of this class are designed to build upon one another, opening you to new ways of seeing the world. Your camera becomes a tool for contemplative practice. Using the ancient practice of lectio divina in an adapted form, you will learn ways to become present to sacred in the world.
This retreat accompanies Christine's book – Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice – available for order online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You will need to order a copy of the book yourself as part of the class.
Week 1: Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart, Practices and Tools to Cultivate Vision
Week 2: The Dance of Light and Shadow
Week 3: What is Hidden and What is Revealed?
Week 4: The Symbolic Significance of Color
Week 5: What is Mirrored Back?
Week 6: Discovering the Holy Within Us
Week 7: Seeing the Holy Everywhere
Six days each week you will receive an email with a link to the day's content. The 7th day is a time for rest and integration The added materials (in addition to the book) are in audio format which you can listen to at any time. You have forever access to the materials in the course and can move through the lessons at your own pace.
- Weekly reflections on photography as a contemplative practice from Christine Valters Paintner
- Weekly reflections on scripture from John Valters Paintner
- Seven (7) mp3 recordings of Christine leading you through the guided meditations in the book.
- Please note: You will need to purchase a copy of Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice to accompany the class directly from a bookseller. A copy is not included in the registration fee. Currently it is available to order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Your Guides for the Journey
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Christine is the director of AbbeyoftheArts.com, a virtual monastery exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of nine books on spirituality and the arts. Her deepest belief is that the earth is the original monastery–a wisdom guide and mentor in living a soulful and vibrant life. Visit the "About Christine" page for more information.
John Valters Paintner, MTS
Praise for the Course
Terms and Conditions
Please consider your purchase carefully and review the many free materials we have on our website to make sure the program will be a good fit or get in touch with any questions.
We ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.
Please contact us for permission to quote in settings beyond the program
Some self-study retreats include video or audio recordings of sessions that were recorded in a live community offering of the retreat and may make reference to forums or other modes of sharing. Please disregard these as self-study retreats do not have these available.
If you choose a payment plan and stop payment before fulfilling the commitment without contacting us to make other arrangements, your access to the program will be removed.