Notebook

Practising Sight

Contemplative life is grounded in an ability to see. Contemplation is grace, of course, but grace, as ever, builds on nature, so we must exercise our faculty of sight. That’s something we all can do. In fact, if we fail to foster an ability to see and distinguish colour, the world around us increasingly appears monochrome. Czapski once noted:

‘Dusk already. Work once again, fresh and sure. Sure, in what way? In the way I control myself, objectify, expand the range of my sense of colour which, when I don’t work, is impoverished. The routine? Could you call this routine, this secular technique that opens a universe of happy, pictorial experiences before me? This slow pace couldn’t be called vision, it’s more like an apprenticeship of looking.’