show Miksang - Finding Beauty in the Mundane

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by barry13, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Post your Miksang images here...

    Example images are available on the home page slideshow of Miksang Contemplative Photography as well as their Gallery pages.
    Or you can do a Google Image search (but note it's slightly NSFW on Google even with Safe Search enabled).

    It's hard to describe, but Matt's (@MoonMind) first paragraph provides a better summary than I found online, (emphasis added):
    My submission:
    ea011023-claremont-packing-house-roofline-1080p-.136973.
     
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  2. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    I'm going to join you and give this a try,
    P3050441_DxO.
     
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  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    987
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
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  4. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
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  5. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
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  6. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I don't have any knowledge about Miksang photography, and can't claim to have ever "practised" it. But, in many ways, the description strikes a chord with me. My favourite images (of my own) are those taken when I photograph alone, and when I have entered a kind of contemplative "zone". Often I will have already walked for couple of hours, gradually shedding the thoughts and cares of the day before I start to see things differently. It's easier, then, to get lost in the moment, or in the mood, or sometimes in the minutiae of life. These pictures are more quiet than immediately impactful. And, like the description of Miksang, they do bring me back to the contemplative state that I was in at the time.

    Autumn Lilypads

    AutumnLilyPads.
     
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  7. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Shadow on a Fortress Wall

    Shadow on a Fortress Wall.
     
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  8. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    Melting Slowly
    OI000026.
     
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  9. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Hendrik
    Drip, drip, drip
    original.

    Never knew there was a word for this sort of stuff. I should'a knowed.
     
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  10. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    987
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
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  11. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    OCEANOGRAPHY
    Fleeting compositions,
    Ephemeral designs.
    With each new tide,
    With each new lap of a wave,
    The sea draws anew,
    On a canvas of sand.

    Oceanography1.
     
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  12. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus Mu-43 Regular

    154
    Sep 28, 2015
    Underpass maintenance, Seefeld, Austria...

    31376418794_3c989253cb_b.
     
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  13. Aushiker

    Aushiker Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
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  14. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Hendrik
    To judge from the photos posted by the Miksang adherents (follow the top link in Barry's original post), the concept seems to be that everyday beauties, simply presented, are worthy of display. There is no requirement for decay or dilapidation, as in wabi sabi. Rather, the photo may be of something that would not normally seem worthy to be a subject but in which beauty can be found and reported. The adherents see this as a meditation on the conjunction of beauty and the everyday. As I understand it, where someone interested in wabi sabi would find beauty in an old rusty car put out to pasture, a practitioner of miksang would attempt to find beauty in my 6 year-old, perfectly useful, cosmetically uncompromised Honda.

    What I find a bit amusing is that many of the photos already shown on mu-43 adhere to the visual aesthetic but without any mention of a meditative purpose. Anyway, I suppose it will be nice to have a word to describe a large part of my portfolio. Nice, as long as the word achieves respectability but doesn't become a fashion that runs an intense course and finally burns out, leaving any images tagged with it as just so much fashtrash.
     
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  15. Frogwatch

    Frogwatch Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    100
    Dec 13, 2016
    Perth, Australia
    Matthew
    Agreed. I'm in two minds about this one.

    I discovered a fountain in a children's playground that fascinated me the other day. However my thoughts were more along the lines of "Gee whoever built this got the pipe perfectly level, and the water flow is nicely controlled. I want to stick my hand in it" rather than anything Zen-like. I think you need to somehow separate the aesthetic of the image from the response that the viewer has to it.

    20170108_17-30-12_7869.

    I think a lot of people's views of "meditation" is that you should be moving the goal posts from "oh that's a cool pipe" to "what is pipe, and how do I relate to it", but I don't believe that's the point from the documentation I've seen - things aren't always relative to you, get over yourself.

    It's more of a "pipe is everything, pipe is nothing". There is nothing right or wrong, interesting or boring within the image, and somehow the absence of the answer gives an emotional response. Or maybe it's just numberwang? Running off that definition I would be inclined to suggest maybe contrasting beauty (eg. beautiful dead flower) is more along the miksang theme that my silly picture of a pipe.


    So.... the moral of the story is that I stuck my hand in.. the bars are seated much further down the pipe than you would think due to the huge meniscus.
    I guess I have more a journalist style?
     
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  16. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Hendrik

    Oh dear! Until you related the story of taking the photo, it was beautiful. ;)

    Seriously, I suspect I would have related to the fountain in much the same way. Perhaps you shot with journalistic intent, but, for me, the fact remains that you took a neat photograph of what might have been an otherwise unprepossessing fountain that expressed some of the (admittedly utilitarian) beauty you found. Water can be beautiful, patterns can be beautiful, circles can be beautiful. A more journalistic approach would have stepped back and documented the whole installation, which might have been harder to pass off as beautiful. In that case it would have been more difficult for me to derive the sense I got of inviting wetness, sumptuous color and an interesting mix of patterns and textures. Your result fits quite well within the bounds of miksang as demonstrated by its advocates, and I'm happy to have seen it. So far so good.

    Where I part company from the miksang intent is the idea that the image can conjure up in the viewer some sense of the state of mind of the photographer at the time the image was made. I think we agree in this. No one is likely to be able to guess what was going through my head when I shot the image of the droplet I posted. I don't think it matters. (FWIW, it was almost totally devoted to the process of taking a photograph of an ephemeral phenomenon I might not encounter again for a long time. The only calm involved was an acceptance that I might not get it right.) If, however, I were coming from some different set of life experiences, then I might feel a need to follow the discipline suggested by the miksang users.

    BTW, thanks for the Numberwang link. Hilariously incomprehensible. I take your point.
     
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  17. Frogwatch

    Frogwatch Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    100
    Dec 13, 2016
    Perth, Australia
    Matthew
    Haha. You're right, a wider viewpoint would be more journalistic. :p
    I was thinking more, "Fountain is wet, news at 11" type of journalism. It's sad when actual journalism isn't what you think of when you hear the word now days. :)
     
  18. TassieFig

    TassieFig Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    721
    Oct 28, 2013
    Tasmania, Australia
    The picture put me in an instant Zen state and I want to stick my hand in it too ;). Plus, I think it's an awesome shot. In my limited understanding of miksang, it's a perfect example too :th_salute:
     
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  19. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    987
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I really don't think it pays to be overly philosophical about the whole thing. In my personal experience, getting into a sort of "flow state" (something I call a "mode" - "photo walk mode", to be exact) is very satisfying and changes the character of the images taken. I don't know (and really don't care) how this may or may not qualify as a) meditative or b) "Miksang" in the expert definition sense of the word. I think, however, that approaching photography this way enables one (or at least me) to really create images the subjects of which I wouldn't even have noticed otherwise - I let myself get fascinated by the most common things. The way I read the stuff about Miksang I could find, once you remove the strictly religious/spiritual stuff, that's more or less what remains behind. I may very well be wrong about that - but honestly, I don't care. I simply love this kind of photography. So I don't want to theorise about it; it would probably take away most of the fun and fascination anyway. I'll just get on with it :)

    30234755271_e8142613c8_c.
    neat fix
    on Flickr

    M.
     
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  20. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    What I got about meditation, after a few books and a couple of years of practice, is that meditation is about disconnecting the mind and reconnecting with the senses (also called the present moment, intended as the present millisecond) in the literal sense.

    As soon as you start to think anything you are doing it wrong. It's about feeling sensory events without any classification, judgment or even acknowledging the sensations (like: "cool, I'm hearing something from the left" or even worse "I'm hearing a waterfall on the left"). It's hard.
    "Pipe is pipe" is already too much, "pipe" is a label: the pipe is a mix shapes, colors, sounds that is what we actually experience.

    It's about feeling sensation we normally do not feel, like the five senses but also, the best example, our breath: it is there all the time, it blows under your nose, moves your belly up and down all day long and yet we never normally feel it. This is why the basic exercise is reconnecting with this simple, clear basic sensation (and it's also handy to bring it around anywhere). Or the sensations in our feet while we walk, etc.

    You should just "shut up" your internal dialogues/thinking (wrong word, "tune out" is more correct as there should be no struggle, just let if fade in the background of your mind while you passively re-focus on sensations).

    Base practice is much more practical and well defined than most think and very little fuzzy/mystical/spiritual. It's all about being here/now as opposed to keep thinking about past/future/fantasizing/etc. like we normally do. Like taking back 10 minutes to "feel" the present moment (it's hard to do even a few seconds actually, mind does it's best to take back the control). You can meditate sitting with your eyes closed, while doing the dishes, waiting in line at the station or while walking (it just gets harder).

    A book I liked is this one, with a western/practical view of the topic. BTW meditation is not about finding peace or feeling better or even getting relaxed (quite the opposite, it's about being aware of the surroundings and inner sensations/feelings). It's about acknowledging what is happening, now, how you are reacting to that, and if it is bad, well, it just is (we are always talking about the current millisecond, you cannot do anything to change that) but at least now you know better, it's not tucked under the "more important things to do" carpet.

    About "acceptance": it's about accepting the present (rather then hide the head in the sand), not about the future, it's not a resigned attitude.

    And, with time, it's about "feeling" your own thoughts like you hear "the sound from the left" and feeling which physical sensations accompany these thoughts. This changed the way I think about my thoughts, just by starting to observe them (as they are a separate thing from the observing self).
    And there is often a simple unmediated pure joy feeling in reconnecting with your own senses, perceptions and body (maybe after years or just days) that is a reward in itself.

    Ok, long enough. This do not want to orient this thread in any way, just to share my experience.


    P.S. The first rule of meditation is you do not talk about meditation, you do it :) Because it is really hard to properly describe it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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