Looking beyond the obvious

“I see no reason for recording the obvious” – Edward Weston |

What he implies with ‘the obvious’ is what we are used to, what we as a collective have agreed upon as consensus how we name things: we call a tree ‘tree’, a house ‘house’, a flower ‘flower’, a car ‘car’, etc. And add labels on top of the naming: “I like it”, “don’t like it”, “it reminds of another time”.

Around 1930, Edward Weston is exploring mundane objects. He is not searching for unusual subject matter, but looking longer and deeper until the unusual came through – investigating the common ordinary object, until he arrived at its essence and beauty, its true appearance. Het spend time looking until he became unglued from the obvious, unglued from the labels put onto ‘pepper’. Instead tuning in into the beautiful curves and texture. No one had ever seen this in that way before!

The material thing before you, that is it
Zen Master Huangpo, 6th century

edward weston, bell pepper, paprika, miksang, contemplatieve fotografie, mindfulness, mindful fotografie, misken, miskang Edward Weston – Pepper no. 30, 1930

In this century, to stop rushing around, to sit quietly on the grass, to switch off the world and come back to the earth, to allow the eye a willow, a bush, a cloud, a leaf, is “an unforgettable experience”..

Frederick Franck from ‘The Zen of Seeing – seeing/drawing as meditation’

We do not look closely enough

Naming things is helpful up to a certain height, so we know what we are talking about in interaction. Naming objects ‘computer’, ‘office’, ‘car’, ‘service’, ‘profit’, ‘care’ knowing we are talking about the same subject and topic. Although that is of course no guarantee!

But … what also happens with naming following blindly the collective agreed upon consensus; it prevents further looking.

And this goes very quickly and often very unconscious. “It’s a tree, I know what it is, I like it or I don’t like of I don’t care”. And we are secured, we know what it is, we know where we are: this is enough, and we don’t look any further.

Also with all new technology, gadgets, never ending entertainment on TV and online, and better lenses and better photoshop software we look more than ever. We look and look. The speed increases.

Because of this speed and the increasing amount we look more and more and see less. The photoshop software becomes more user friendly and is free in every program; to stimulate to change the image before we have actually really seen it as it is.

The speed of looking and taking in information is increasing – which is not a guarantee and neither an effective method to really see, beyond the obvious.

Eye witnesses are the least reliable

This is well-known in the judicial system; eye witnesses are the least reliable. There is ongoing research in this area and a re-appearing phenomenon is that eyewitnesses can be easily manipulated by the interrogator with questions ending into what is not seen at all. It turns out that eyewitnesses, when not seen the actual scenery in full detail, or experienced under stress, memory holes are filled in with assumptions. Interrogators know this, and use it to steer the eyewitness to an ‘unseen non-existent scenery’.

“Eyewitnesses fill holes in memory by connecting loose patches with self reasoning details, and thus creating ‘false memory’.”

Conclusion:we do not look very well


Making contact and experiencing connection always happens in the here and now – a prerequisite to see.  Our eyes can be a gateway; receiving direct vivid perceptions, leading to blissful experiences of connection, beauty and joyful expansion. When not giving any meaning to other, other than visually be fully available ,we experience nowness. Nowness is free from pushing and pulling, free from filling in details based on self reasoning, free from being prejudiced, free from inhibition. Free and joyful!

Longing for beauty

We all share longing. We all share the longing for beauty. We all share the longing wanting to experience extraordinary things, see extraordinary things. This is a deep inherent longing for union; with everything, with our true self, with who  we really, beyond our obvious self. We actually long to connect with our inherent beauty, and the already existing beauty all around us.

Beyond the obvious.

We can see something actually as it is, its inherent beauty – beyond naming, beyond what we know what it is, beyond the obvious, beyond expectation, beyond associations, beyond culture, beyond time – timeless

If you wish to see the truth

then hold no opinions for or against anything

Hsin Hsin Ming(6th century)

Here is my selection of recent moments, freshly seen.