Seeing something, out of the blue. These moments of direct vivid seeing is what I photograph.
This makes me deeply happy.
Is a feeling deeply human, since the very beginning of existence. Everyone is longing for joy and pleasure. Children shows us this open state of being simply by their doing and not-doing.
And how they express this. Just like that, for no reason. Unhindered, unprejudiced they follow their curiosity and their naturalness of expressing. One thing at a time with full attention and heart. It makes us happy!
We recognize this. because we have this curiosity, pleasure and joy inherently within in us. We are born with it!
One Thing at a Time.
As we grow up and on our way to adulthood we become serious. We get responsibilities, have to think about things and make choices, we become tired and run-down, we recharge, find ways around and fallbacks.
In the complexity of our everyday life and the ever speeding up amount of impulses and information we long for contentment. And before we know it we have forgotten that this childlike joy and open-mindedness is still fully alive within us, waiting to be touched.
One thing at a time with full attention directly from the heart + a creative expression = the universal experience of joy.
We find a universele joy through a creative practice
A buddhist teacher and meditation-master who travels widely throughout the world. And he is an abstract expressionistic painter. Kongtrul has a deep interest in activities that express the natural state of mind for which all meditation aims, and combines this interest and his artistic interest in art & wisdom.
Inspiring! Click here for his talk on Art & Wisdom >>
Contemplative photography is not what we think. Fresh is the opposite of having an idea a concept and start from there. Fresh is the opposite of thinking what we want. We start at the beginning, every time again: fresh.
First, we have no idea. We become aware we sense our perceptions, and how we experience a direct visual perception, as it really is. So we can understand what strikes us, from an open state of mind, without any filters.
To experience a direct perception has no goal, other than to experience the perception. Fresh.
A picture strikes.
Taking a picture of something that strikes us is a deep connection with the everyday beauty, with the extra-ordinary of the ordinary. When something strikes us, it can be a big wow or a small wow. The moment we press the release button is either with ease, relaxation, precision and joy. Or we press it while we experience tension, photographic ambition or we simply hope for the best.
In the conventional photography there is the strong tendency to dramatize the picture. Using filters of software to make it darker, more contrast-full, over-saturized colors. These are used to change existing reality into an image which shows something that does not exist for real. It shows someone take on it. Or for an extreme angle: dive on the ground or hold the camera far above, far away from the eyes.
All to dramatize. This stems from a mostly unnoticed believe that the things as they are, are not interesting enough. And so the power of thinking takes heavily-headed over. And this is what these pictures reflect: heavily headed thinking, things are not good enough as they are. It needs to be different, and this is defined as ‘beautiful’.
Meditation in action.
In the approach of contemplative photography, the practice of seeing fresh, of pure perception and pure expression, we leave all these inner and outer filters at rest.
Contemplative photography is also called meditation-in-action. What characterizes every form of meditation is that we place our attention on something, i.e. the breathe. We train being mindful. We relax our relentless stream of thoughts by placing our attention on something else, so we can be with our-self.
In contemplative photography we place our attention on looking: we relax our thoughts about what we see, we relax our associations, we relax our ambition, we relax our hope, we relax our fear.
We relax everything we want and pursue. What naturally arises is the space of seeing without context.
Throughout the day we always train our attention: we place it on working hard, being lazy, being worried, being angry, being stress, focusing on a deadline, etc.
Here we train to keep it simple, we train to be able to be with what is. We train being without filters. We train Awakeness. So we can simply notice what surrounds us and what resonates with us and enjoy. We train experiencing the beauty of things as they are. We train looking, seeing and experiencing the brilliance of the world around us.
When something strikes us, we resist the temptation of our habitual thought pattern. Thoughts that show up immediately: ‘I like it’, ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘is it going to be a great picture?’, ‘are others ging to like it?’, or ‘I know what this is’ or I have seen this before, is it worthwhile ?’ etc.
Now we arrived at the BIG difference between thinking and perceiving. Perceiving a clear perception is direct and an experience. Following our thoughts is stepping out of the experience of direct perception. Figuring out what it is and then knowing what it is, the experience immediately stops. We move from a direct experience to the chain of thought in our head. We are dwelling in our head.
You always have a choice.
Do you continue thinking? Or do you step into the experience of unexpected beauty of the everyday live, trusting the experience of a vivid sensory perception.
Simply remember you can step in to experiencing your perceptions!
Childlike joy is right there, in our heart. Through curiosity we follow the resonance of what strikes our heart.
Simply by experiencing one thing at at time, seeing one thing at at time. We train being struck and trusting what strikes us. We express this vivid experience with our cameras.
What do you train…?