Tim's Spiritual Journey
Read the spiritual journey (Christian testimony) of Tim Crawshaw that formed part of his latest exhibition, "The Bay of Fires Collection by Tim Crawshaw. A Spiritual Journey of Love and Photography".
The Bay of Fires region in Tasmania has over time become my spiritual home. It's a place where I found myself, who I am, where I come from and where I am going. Life is a journey and the photographs I’ve taken in this Bay of Fires Collection serve as markers or signposts for the spiritual lessons and experiences I’ve learnt and had had during my life.
This collection combines my spiritual practice with my photography art practice. It is an attempt at producing wholeness - who am I in a complete context? One of the answers is "in this place I become this place". The objective merges with the subjective and the illusion of my separateness is lost. I am not a photographer because I have forgotten myself! I have become one with my environment. The beauty in this place has helped me to recognise my divine nature that I am part of what I am seeing, that I am the observed and the observer. I have never seen a place of such beauty and freedom that has allowed me to merge with my environment like the Bay of Fires. During the prolonged times in this place I was able to reflect on society detached and see it for exactly what it was - full of smoke and mirrors. The Bay of Fires helped me uncover the truth of my reality.
Below is a summary of some of my observations and experiences.
The world’s love is conditional and Gods isn’t. We are conditioned by the world to believe that we can only feel good about ourselves, happy or be loved IF..... we have have what the world desires (material wealth, personal success, luxury possessions, status, the right look etc). God wanted me to accept his gift of unconditional love through Jesus Christ. I did and became free from conforming to the ways of the world and began living according to what God values. He didn’t want me chasing or altering myself for people's approval, status, money or for my own selfish desires. I never became afraid of failing after experiencing this love.
Consumerism, social ladder climbing, keeping up with the Jones', the latest technology, fashion etc. are all decoys that take our focus off what is really important. At the end of the day, this stuff doesn't matter so why do we let our lives become consumed by these things?
I found refuge in Gods love and the freedom to be who I really am. Knowing and experiencing Gods love and grace, gave me amazing confidence in myself to not seek the approval of others and just be myself.
I became aware that there was more to my existence than what my senses were telling me and that there are spiritual forces going on behind the scenes that are shaping my experiences and the people around me. I became aware of the different value system in Gods kingdom (spiritual) and the world (material) and that they are polar opposites. I realised that I belonged to God, not the world and wanted to live according to his ways - not the worlds. This is what I figured out:
God - Light. World - Darkness.
God - Unconditional Love. World - Conditional Love.
God - True/Real Self. World - False Self.
God - Eternal Life. World - Limited life.
God - Forgiving. World - Unforgiving.
God - Divine Plan for Your Life. World - Create Your Own Destiny.
God - Truth. World - Deceit.
God - Service to others. World - Power, domination.
God - Gentle. World - Forceful.
God - Love. World - Fear.
God - Divine strength in you. World - your own animal strength.
God - Peace. World - Stress.
God - Altruism. World - Always want something back.
God - No Limits. World - Limitation.
God - Others first. World - Self First.
God -Dependence on Him. World - Dependence on Self.
God used photography as a way of helping me develop spiritually by giving me a lot of solitary time in the Bay of Fires (as an extrovert I initially found this hard). I knew I had to quit my job and take a step out into the wilderness. I did. Completely broke but happy, I found myself driving down a road when suddenly my car broke down. Feeling at a total dead end, I got the car on the side of the road wondering "What the F#@K now??". Immediately a brand new BMW car pulled up beside me and a woman about 55-60 years of age got out of the car and approached me. "Are you alright darling?" she inquired? "No my car has had it" I replied. "Well, my name is ........... I'm a Christian, God told me to come and give this to you". As she said that she approached my hand with a big handful of cash and gave it to me. "You don't realise how much Jesus loves you" she said. I began to cry. I had not been forgotten by God and the grace that came spiritually with the money turned me into a sobbing mess. The woman said prayers for me until the tow truck arrived and all the money she had given me was enough to have the car fixed and towed. After that I never felt my life could be dictated by security consciousness if I followed my true path. God would always be there.
After digging deeper and being open to Gods presence I received the holy spirit and became aware that my true identity was woven into the mystical union of God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. I had a supernatural experience that would change my life forever. During this experience a spiritual portal opened up in my abdomen and out of this portal poured spiritual water from another world. I cannot explain what this felt like except to say it was from another dimension (heaven) and literally felt like God himself was passing through me as a river which contained everything that is good. It was pure light, love, peace, goodness. The force of it was so strong I can only liken it to a fire hydrant that had exploded and was gushing out of me like a fire hose flapping around everywhere with no control what so ever. I was observing what was happening to me and was totally aware that this had nothing to do with my mind, intellect etc. I knew then after that, that the world was not my real home. I had been illuminated. I later found out in the bible that Jesus said "who ever drinks the water that I will give him will become a spring of living water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14). The reality of God and his grace and the power of the holy spirit became my truth. This wasn't faith, this was knowing.What the world had to offer in life after experiencing God in that way was not even mediocre. I saw the smoke and mirrors the world had created to prevent people from coming into contact with God. I knew that my life was for God and to serve him completely.
As I was walking on my first solo trip along the Bay of Fires, I asked God to reveal himself to me. I was about to take some shots I noticed a love heart in the sky! (I have the picture to prove it!).
Another time after traveling from another part of Tasmania to take some photographs at the Bay of Fires I was disappointed to see that the overcast conditions had set in, rendering the light conditions abysmal. I thought to myself, "I've got nothing to lose, so I'll ask God in a prayer to help me out". So I did. Nothing happened. How crap I thought. But when I turned around I couldn't believe what I saw! In the south east I saw a circle of blue sky forming, then I thought wait, he's going to send that blue sky to me with the wind!!!! And, he's giving me enough time for me to find the right vantage points!!! I felt such an amazing connection of teamwork!! I found the best vantage points including the one in the image below. I can't express how amazing I felt when the sun opened up through the sky. "It's on!" I cried out!!
In my book "Together. The Journey With Jesus", which features photography from the Bay of Fires area, I write about some universal truths in the Christian journey. See below.