Meditation for Thursday 20th April 2023

Michael Mullins a dear friend of many years wrote to me recently about a meditative experience he had during his travels in Europe.

He wrote about his experience of being in the Dutch beach town of Zandvoort for a five night stay. Michael didn’t go to Zandvoort for the beach; anyway it was 9 deg., but rather for a four day contemplative photography retreat in which the focus was Miksang, a practice of taking photos that is not about documenting or telling stories. (Link:

Instead its goal is ‘pure’ seeing.

Michael wrote that this has given him a deeper appreciation of everyday delights such as coffee and wine. Applying the Miksang principle he doesn’t pre-judge the wine by studying its label or provenance. He appreciates it in the moment. The wine has a story, but knowing that does not really help his enjoyment of it.

In the same way Miksang photos don’t tell us much about their subjects or context. They’re not meant to. They are mostly close-ups of everyday objects. They often appear artful, but beauty is not the intention.

Michael heard about Miksang during a conversation with a friend who lives in Kyoto, Japan.

He wrote that he has always prided himself on his ability to analyse but he was cautioned against identifying, naming and thinking,

Michael’s Miksang experience is yet another exercise in meditation, about being present to the experience without analyzing and without entering into a commentary.

As a postscript he wrote about how when his mother got dementia she would refer to ‘that thing’ when she couldn’t remember the name of an object. He regretted her loss but says that he now sees a silver lining in moving beyond the need to name things or talk about concepts and tell stories.



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