This is a shot I captured whilst walking through Waverley Cemetery on the Bondi to Coogee walk that I recently posted about here. It is a stunning walk, even the graveyard was fairly picturesque.
The picture below was inspired by my friend that stood in this spot to get the great effect. I liked his image that much I had to do the same.
For me, this photo sums up the reasons why I am not religious. For some, this photo is a sign. A message from a higher power that has incorporated two things in life into one glorious view for us to marvel at. A person no longer with us that has been glorified by God at this moment when people are present to witness it. I didn’t look at the gravestone, however I can imagine this moment of spirituality for some would increase tenfold if it was a person with the same name or birthday. We seek patterns and coincidence and love when they occur.
But of course by taking a step to the left or right this picture would not be the same. It would simply be a gravestone with the sun behind it. The same if I held the camera higher or lower. For this shot to work, I had to make it work.
This does not mean that I don’t appreciate the view. This may be my favourite photo I have taken on this recent trip and I often look at it. I love it and not being religious doesn’t take my appreciation away from it. But it does help me to understand that in life we look for such patterns and apply a meaning because it is fun. It makes us feel good and telling ourselves that there is a logical and non spiritual reason why this often occurs is nowhere near as enjoyable as putting it down to something unexplained or wiser than us.
I am not very good at it, but I enjoy trying to differentiate between what I think is true because is it logical and what I think is true because it feels good. We are a very emotional species that likes hearing the truth when it makes us feel warm inside. If it makes us feel crappy, the truth is an inconvenience and this is substituted for a more pleasant alternative. Of course this is my personal belief but this is exactly what I was doing when I was a younger, more religious person. I see it as a blessing and a curse having OCD that I obsess over things and if I think I am believing something contrary to evidence because it feels good, the obsessive part of my brain won’t let it go until I find a rational reason as to why I believe it. If I cannot find one, I stop believing it. This is why I am the person I am now, with my current blog and opinions on religion and atheism. I used to be a lot more direct and not as compassionate in my opinions on religion once I had left it, however I know what it is like to feel rock bottom and having at least something to cling to and this has helped me to transform my blog into a one that anyone of any faith or opinion can reach out too and speak openly on. Of course some religious people are dicks, as any human is capable of being, so my rule is if you are nice to me I will be with you also. The golden rule if you will.
But yes, back to the photo. I think it is good to see this photo with logic, as with life itself. Not to just see it and assume something that reaffirms a belief but break it down and ask questions, maybe contradicting your own opinion. Yes it is good positioning, however why does the cross have to be at an angle for it to work? Why does it have to be this gravestone? Why a graveyard where the person has already passed and the sadness already suffered? To ask questions feels like breaking the shackles for me and liberates us of the thoughts that we have always been told to think, and opens up doors we feel uneasy about opening. Sometimes in life we are so grateful to open these doors and when looking back, do not want to imagine a life in which we didn’t.
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