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.

We highly recommend that you have a background in mindfulness/awareness meditation practice. As we say,” Seeing is a State of Mind”. Our courses are not just photography courses, and in order to fully participate in this and connect with what we are presenting, it is essential that you do our visual exercises during your course of study. They are an exercise sequence called “Settling into Awareness. These visual exercises are the way in to direct seeing. If you do have a background in meditation, you will find these amazingly effective ways in to opening up and transforming how and what you see.

Having said that, we do work with the technical aspects such as how to express our perceptions precisely with our cameras and bring our images to exactly express our perception in the editing process.

This course is the basis of everything that follows. We are learning to see in a new way that goes up against the conventional training we have received throughout our lives. Do we want to have new visual experiences instead of recycled ones? Do we want to discover new ways of seeing that we never imagined were possible?

It takes inspiration and discipline to build new pathways of seeing in our circuitry. To undertake this journey, we need a desire for new, deeper, visual experience in our lives. 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. Our mind can become a clear mirror, simply reflecting our pristine experience of seeing. The Opening the Good Eye course teaches all of this.

The Assignments of This Course are:

• Synchronizing Eye and Mind Through the Medium of Color
• Texture and the Full-bodied Experience of Seeing
• Seeing with the Mind of Simplicity

The Principal Practices of Opening the Good Eye are:

Settling Into Awareness:

• Settling and Landing
• Recognizing Direct Perception
• Paying Deep Attention

Participants will learn and refine their understanding of:

• How to synchronize the eye and mind to see and recognize direct perceptions with clarity and confidence.

• How to develop the necessary qualities of mind to experience fresh perception; stillness, openness, and receptivity, free of speed and distraction.

• How to visually clarify our understanding of the elements of the perception so we can translate and express them precisely with our camera.

• How to form an inner viewfinder visualization that mirrors the specific qualities of these perceptions so we know what editing adjustments need to be made.

• How to maintain the continuity of connection with our perception as we go through the process of seeing, understanding, and expressing our perception.

• The ability to determine with confidence the three basic technical aspects of using the camera, exposure compensation, point of focus, and depth of field.

• The ability to use editing software to make the photographic image an accurate expression of our perception.

Continuity Training for Opening the Good Eye

If more practice is needed to develop clarity and confidence after the course’s end, Continuity Training provides the opportunity to keep working at it until we have the ability to synchronize our eye and mind to see the elements of form simply and clearly.

Continuity Training affords the flexibility to work with a Miksang instructor independently or join a small Continuity Training group to review instructional videos to focus on assignment subjects that need clarifying and strengthening.

If you have studied Miksang in the past and would like to reconnect, review, and refamiliarize yourself with Miksang practice. Continuity Training is an excellent way to do this.

Contact Us to Find Out More and Explore Options that would work for you.

 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.

True perception, true, deep, unbridled seeing is on the other side of boredom. That’s where it dwells. And we have to find a way to get there. That’s what this whole course is about, really encouraging ourselves to be more still than we thought we could be and less excitable than we thought we could be.

When we feel restless and bored where we are because we feel we have seen all there is, instead of dis-engaging ourselves from the resistance and discomfort, there is a quality of waiting it out, pushing ourselves to just stay and hang in with ourselves until we give up wanting anything special or entertaining. We give up our interest in the highlights. 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, which is really the other side of boredom.

The layers of projection naturally fall away. It’s not like we have to rip them off. If we can stay with it and investigate more, go deeper and longer, beyond boredom, then the rawness of a tree, of a car, will begin to manifest. This isn’t just exaggeration. This is actually a palpable experience. You can experience what’s on the other side of boredom. And that’s where the whole thing is born. True perception is born there.

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.

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

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. The world presents itself to us in its own unique way, and we choose to resonate or not, depending on our unique predilections which are basic to our makeup, our basic style.  This style becomes manifest when our relative filters and cultural bias become transparent.

The Five Qualities of Perception workshop presents the view of the unconditional energy of reality manifesting as five distinct yet perceivable qualities. We explore how these qualities express themselves in our being and in our experience of the perceptual world.

In his book, Dharma Art, Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche provides this introduction:

We are trying to get at some basic understanding of seeing things in their absolute essence, their own innate nature. We can use this knowledge in regard to painting or poetry or arranging flowers or making films or composing music. It is also connected with the relationships between people. These five Buddha principles seem to cover a whole area of new dimensions of perception. They are very important at all levels and in all creative situations.”

Using photography as our base medium, we will expand our study of the Five Qualities into other areas of expression such as music, dress, food, objects, etc.

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.