Nothing is missing, and nothing extra is added – exactly enough in the picture
In Miksang, the emphasis is on ‘to translate’ what you see purely and directly into a genuine photographic expression.
With your camera as a medium, where the end result shows exactly enough.
In Miksang, the end result, the photo is the by-product of this process; a successful Miksang photo is a balanced harmonious picture.
In which nothing is missing, and nothing extra is added.
In Miksang a successful photo shows exactly what you have seen, where nothing is too much and nothing is missing.
Exactly enough – free & joyful!
We don’t need to get rid of anything,
We don’t need to add anything.
Simply experience directly what is actually there –
This authenticity will liberate you.
Maitreya on Buddha nature
Authentic photography is genuine photography; honest about what you see and honest about what you photograph.
‘Genuine and authentic’ begins with understanding what you have visually observed, before the reasoning mind starts up.
Understand what has touched you in the multitude of your direct visual surroundings.
Understanding begins with feeling what you see; you look further and feel out what the perception exactly is.
This also shows the difference between perceptual perception and conceptual perception.
- Perceptual perception = feeling what touches you, directly, through a sensory perception. Here it is about seeing something suddenly, out of nowhere. You feel a resonance. In Miksang this is called: a flash of perception. You stay in contact with the flash of perception, which is the red thread you follow throughout the process of perception until the very end when finally pressing the button. Here the emphasis is on the process of perception.
- Conceptual perception = indirect. The feeling of the direct sensory experience is skipped and you start working mentally with the an idea, with an insight. ‘Mentally’ is naming what you see, looking for context or giving it mental/emotional/intellectual context – from all the mental knowledge you have at that moment. Next is dividing it into ‘like’ and ‘I do not like it’. And as a photographer; “how do I make a great picture?” Here the emphasis is on the end result, the photo.
Genuine here means you take the time to understand what visually struck you.
Genuine here means you take the time that does belong to your perception and what does not belong to your perception.
Genuine here means you allow yourself to photograph only what you have actually seen, directed and vividly.
Nothing is missing and nothing extra is added. Exactly enough.
You simply relax
- Yourself, your reasoning mind, your emotions and physicality
- Your expectations of what you want to photograph
- You relax what you want as an end result, the photo
You relax your eager jumpy untamed mind and lean into not-knowing; you do not have to know what you are going to see and you do not have to know what the photo will look like.
The more you lean the more the mind gets tamed.
Tamed into a perceptive, calm, open and inquisitive mind.
Tamed into an available mind.
You tame the scattered mind into mindfulness. As the mind is eager to get trained it doesn’t make a distinction itself in what it gets trained!
“But I see a lot more around it”
Here is where the confusion arises.
What can be seen as there is much more visual present, and what you really see, is a big difference: there is ALWAYS more to see than just your resonance, than just your flash of perception. There is always more entertainment, there is always more distraction.
Seeing from the heart, feeling struck upon seeing something out of the blue is the simplicity of seeing something in the midst of the multitude of visual surroundings.
You see it, you feel it, and you do not get distracted by what’s more to see.
Feeling struck is where your available mind, awake eyes and open heart come into alignment.
Then you be it.
You keep in touch with the very first moment of visual impulse, and you simply let your reasoning untamed jumpy mind at rest.
You train resting.
- Take a few good breaths, feel the balance between yourself, the resonance and the visual richness.
- Stay true, feel the perception and realize there is only the NOW.
- There is no need to go find another moment of seeing.
- The here and now is where you experience direct seeing, in this now moment.
There is only this moment. Exactly enough.
Making it practical in 4 steps
Now we translate the experience of being struck in this now moment; we make it practical.
Through a few questions you ask yourself; applied thinking in 4 contemplative questions.
With these 4 contemplatieve question we align our mind, eyes, heart and action.
In these 4 steps, in these 4 questions lies the freedom of genuine photographic expression and the joy of genuine photographic expression.
These 4 questions lead to the genuine photographic translations and often amazing pictures as a natural end result. Including that it is not always possible to photograph something that you have seen vividly and directly; it doesn’t translate with the camera, and then you can let go.
- Wat stopped me?
Here you stand still. Or you go a few steps further to get closer, and then stand still. Literally standing still immediately makes you calm, and stills your thinking mind. You slow down, take a moment to ask yourself; “What stopped me?” Feel it out.
- Where does my perception begin and where does my perception end?
Feel further out where your perception begins and where your perception ends. ‘Feeling’ is the key word here. Sometimes it’s clear immediately, sometimes you need the next question to get your direct perception more clear, or when you get distracted by the other visual things around it. And sometimes you see something in a visually complicated scenery, and therefore you need the next question.
- What is part of my perception and what is not part of my perception?
Here you become more precise. You can apply deduction if it is not entirely clear yet; ask yourself what does not belong in my perception: every shade, edge, little thing, twig, leaf, piece of roof edge, sill, air, etc. Please note! Here, the reasoning mind can take it over, often unconsciously. Continue with this question of or return to feeling it out; what is part and what is not part?
It is not carved in stone but as a rule it works quite well: if you say ‘I think it is part’, it does not, if you say ‘I do not think it is part’ it does!
- Is it horizontal or is it vertical?
Now, the last part; is my perception horizontal or vertical? This question makes it practical with your camera. A sensor in the camera is rectangular and has two dimensional ratios: 4×3, 3×2. On every digital camera you have the choice how to set the sensor; rectangular, square or panoramic. With the last two settings, you leave a part of the sensor unused.
Personally, I find it easier to use the entire sensor, and take this rectangular shape into account during these 4 steps/questions.
Now you have a picture.
Simple, joyful & free!
In which nothing is missing and nothing extra is added.
©Hèlen A Vink - November 1, 2019
Miksang 1 – Seeing From The Heart – an introduction to Miksang Contemplative Photography
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