I have always wanted to be a photographer. My family has had it share of good photographers, and many of you, my friends, are excellent. I think of Betts, or Joon Chan, or the master of all, Ham Chulhoon. So, having attained the age where one must follow through on his decisions, I recently enrolled as a student at the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP).
The first thing I learned is to develop a sense of what to look for in the world around me. The guidelines that make this possible are: First, find a clear subject, one that is clear and unambiguous; second, focus attention on the subject, so that this will be the first thing people see when they look at the picture ; and third, simplify the photo by excluding those elements that detract from the subject. So you see, I am still very much a beginner, although I have taken photos all my life, beginning with the Kodak black box camera I was so proud to own when I was a child. But it’s good to start at the beginning.
I am a photographer, that’s how I see myself, however elementary I may be. I am also a meditator. So when I discovered these basic guidelines of photography I was not too surprised to realize that these same guidelines are necessary for one who desires to become a meditator. I speak of biblical meditation, with God as the ultimate subject of meditation and the Bible as the primary tool for revealing God.
When I meditate on a verse of Scripture (and this is my preferred way of meditating–one verse a day), for example, Psalm one, verse one, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want,” I use these three guidelines. First, I carefully observe every word and seek to discover the main theme about which God may want to speak to me, or about which God and I can have a conversation (The beginning of discipleship is a conversational relationship with God.). I know at that time that God wants to talk with me about His being my Shepherd. Second, I focus my full attention on the words of the text. I do not allow my mind to wander beyond those words, because I desire my mind and heart to be filled with God as my Shepherd. Finally, I simplify everything by dismissing from my mind my preconceived opinions about what that may imply for my life. This does not mean I remove all knowledge about what this text means, that I have attained through prior deep study of the text; but this time, I want to know not what God is saying to the whole world, but rather what God might have to say to me as an individual. I dismiss the interruptions, distractions and noises surrounding me and simplify my approach. Then I experience an exciting time of solitude and silence, which always leads to action.
Well . . . I’m not yet there as a photographer. But someday perhaps I will find a shepherd and photograph him or her, and show the world the profound meaning and beauty of what it means to be a shepherd.