Miksang Training Course Descriptions

Opening The Good Eye: The Mechanics of Seeing

Required Reading Material: Opening the Good Eye

Opening the Good Eye: The Mechanics of Seeing focuses on developing the basic skills that we need to clear our minds of the filters, associations, and the basic prejudices that we all have, the likes, the dislikes, and the ignoring of what we consider unworthy of attention.

This is not strictly a photography course. It is about developing a state of being and a state of mind that is free of conceptual preoccupation. Only then can we have an experience of fresh, unconditional perception. And then we can use our camera in a simple way to express our perception precisely as it is seen.

It would be helpful to have some background in mindfulness-awareness meditation practice. As we say in Miksang,” Seeing is a State of Mind”. Our courses are not just photography courses, and in order to fully participate and connect with what we are presenting, it is part of the workshop that you do our visual practices during your course of study. They are a practice sequence called “Settling into Awareness,” developed by Michael Wood in 2021. These visual practices are the way in to direct seeing. If you do have a background in meditation, you will find them to be accessible and an amazingly effective way in to opening up and transforming how and what you see.

We do work with the technical aspects of using our cameras to express our perceptions precisely and through light editing to bring our images to exactly express our perception.

This course is the basis of everything that follows in Miksang Training.

Miksang Photography is based on authentic visual experience expressed exactly as seen—True to Life! We will learn to relax our thinking, describing mind, so that when we turn out to see our world, our mind is open, receptive, and still. The Opening the Good Eye course teaches all of this.

 Making Contact: Relaxing This – Discovering THAT

Four or Five Day Workshop

Pre-Requisite: Opening the Good Eye: The Mechanics of Seeing

Required Reading Material: Opening the Good Eye and Opening the Good Eye Companion

Making Contact: ‘Relaxing This—Discovering THAT.’ 

Making Contact is about stabilizing our awareness, being available and receptive. Its primary focus is to arrive at a state of true receptivity. The ‘Making Contact’ part is allowing ourselves to dissolve our projections, our sense of wanting and thinking about what we know. This is “Relaxing This”. And when we relax this, it is possible for us to crack through the surface of whatever we are seeing and experience things as they are. When we see things as they are, we ‘Discover THAT.’ And ‘THAT’ can literally be anything. It’s hair-ness, tree-ness, or water-ness. We begin to see and feel the visual qualities, the nature, of our perceptions.

In this course we want to discover the nature of each of the things in our visual world. Not because something is better, but we want to know its nature. Through being still, open, and receptive, we start to be able to see all things deeply, and to enjoy and appreciate all forms as they are, without prejudice. It is within this state of visual equanimity that we begin to deeply experience and recognize the qualities of visual experience.

This is True perception – true, deep, unbridled seeing. 

To accomplish this, we have to get open and raw, giving up our preferred version of the world. The longer we stay with something, just looking in a state of stillness, an opening can happen, then we actually see.

We have had glimpses of it, but in this course, we can really feel it happening. And when we allow our mind and awareness to go out, it’s possible to meet the aspects of our world directly and discover THAT-ness. This is about seeing and appreciating things as they are. We are discovering that we are deeply curious and passionate about having direct, intimate experience of our visual world.

The Heart of Perception: Feeling the Moment

NYC Gas Cap Haiku

Three-Four Day Workshop

Opening the Good Eye: The Mechanics of Seeing
Making Contact: Relaxing This – Discovering THAT

Heart of Perception is a natural evolution from Making Contact. Once we start to feel like we are finding our sea legs, and we’re starting to feel okay with the fact that we don’t have to know what everything is, then we can be out in the world, appreciate it, and relax with that.

It feels very joyful and provocative and so we relax further. As we relax further our awareness goes out further from the central reference point of me and what I think about everything. And when that happens, we start to experience living, breathing moments. We are able to recognize the visual qualities of our world changing and feel the delicate visual formations around us.

The Workshop includes explorations into Static vs Non-Static Perceptions, Delicate Visual Formations, The Third Element and Visual Haiku, Quiet Moments and Visual Motifs.

Form, Space and Moments: Further Dimensions of Perception

Space 2

Three-Four Day Workshop
Opening the Good Eye: The Mechanics of Seeing
Making Contact: Relaxing This – Discovering THAT
The Heart of Perception: Feeling the Moment

In order to further refine our relationship with our visual world, it is very helpful to clarify and deepen our awareness of the aspect of perception which we call space. As part of our conventional way of looking at the world, there is a tendency to look at objects, which we usually fix into place through thinking, labeling and associating. We tend to move from one object to the next as we navigate our experience. Seldom do we notice the visual space in which objects appear and the space around or between things. This workshop introduces methods of relaxing our gaze and our fixation on things so that we can actually experience, notice and express the qualities of space in our world. Through exercises and assignments our images begin to express our experience of visual dimensionality rather than our customary emphasis on form and its qualities.

Cutting Loose / Floating Free

Loose 1

Four-Five Day Workshop:
Opening the Good Eye: The Mechanics of Seeing
Making Contact: Relaxing This – Discovering THAT
The Heart of Perception: Feeling the Moment
Space: Further Dimensions of Perception

When the form becomes one with the mind and the discipline is transparent we can let the arrow fly. We feel the target instinctively and through a subtle realignment we launch on contact. There is no need to reexamine or contemplate. Our experience of seeing and its expression become a seamless stream, effortless.

To help stabilize our experience of the first instant of  perception, we need to collapse our experience of seeing, understanding and expressing into a single moment, free of hesitation. And that single moment rests on two qualities—confidence and genuineness.

The assignments in this course allow us to further let go of our habits and patterns involved in seeing—even those associated with our previous Miksang training. We can cut loose even from our Miksang database and see without memory.

Master Class: The Five Qualities of Perception

Five Day Workshop
Pre-Requisite: All previous Miksang classes

The Five Qualities of Perception Workshop presents the unconditional nature of visual perception manifesting as five distinct, perceivable qualities. We explore how these qualities express themselves in our being and in our experience of the perceptual world.

As we become free of concept in our visual experience and we can spontaneously form the equivalent of our perception, the whole world is our playground.

Our visual world appears to us out of the blue, unconditionally manifesting as particular constellations of visual qualities which we can feel, recognize, experience, and appreciate.

We are not navigating based on what we like and dislike or choose to ignore. We know and understand what we feel and see, and each quality has a taste of its own.

We become acquainted with each quality by viewing and absorbing image examples which imprint the sense of them upon us.

Then we can go out in the world, free of agenda and solidity of this or that, and be magnetized by what we see and photograph it or not, depending on our unique predilections which are basic to our makeup, our basic pre- language, pre- thought, 100% natural state of being.  This style becomes manifest when our relative filters and cultural bias become transparent.



To find out how to become a Miksang Instructor click here

The Miksang Institute has no relationship to nor any affiliation with any other contemplative photography organizations or teachers, and only workshops taken with Miksang Institute Teachers are counted as pre-requisites for any Institute programs.