This is a delightful blend of mindfulness/contemplation, photography, and Haiku. Beginners Eye is based on the Zen notion of “beginners mind.” That open and spacious place when you are completely receptive, fearless, totally available to the moment. A pure clear seeing awareness where everything is fresh and new. Register here.
The beauty of Beginners Eye is for us to discover the fascination and beauty inherent the small and deceptively trivial patterns, colors, and textures that exist in the world that constantly surrounds us.
As you open yourselves to the things around us without the biases, filters and fears that often cloud your minds, your experience and connection to your day-to-day moments becomes more rich and joyous.
No photographic experience is necessary, nor is fancy camera equipment….cell phone cameras are completely acceptable! Really! This is not a competition but a way of using the photographic medium as a way to deepen your spiritual journey by opening your senses to the way you relate to the world. It is not about what you see, rather how you see.
The morning part of the retreat beings with an introduction, a meditation, and practice, and the afternoon being “in the field” harvesting photographs. Participants then work with crafting Haiku’s to accompany the pictures. This ending is a spirited slideshow where participants show their work and a discussion how this experience is an integral component of the mindful/contemplative way of cultivating clear seeing.
- A willingness to be open and creative
- Some sort of photographic equipment. If you have an DSLR, bring only one lens, and yes cell phone cameras are perfectly acceptable! Film SLR cameras will pose a bit of a problem since we will be working with our photographic results the same day. I could be possible, with some ingenuity.
- A laptop to construct a slideshow. No Photoshoping for this experience.
- What is clear seeing and how does photography fit in.
- Slideshow: examples of beginners eye photography
- Meditations on clear seeing: Letting go of fears, judgments, expectations
- The camera and the world: Practice how to see.
- Haiku: the play of words and images together
- Heading out into the world with clear eyes and mind.
- Return: Time to contemplate their photographs and compose their haikus
- Choose 3-5 photographs and accompanying Haikus to present a slideshow.
- Discussion and Closure.
About Thomas Roberts
Thomas Roberts has been a practicing Zen Buddhist for nearly 50 years. In 1992 he received lay Buddhist vows from Thich Nhat Hanh. He is the author of The Mindfulness Workbook: A Beginners Guide to Overcoming Fear and Embracing Compassion (New Harbinger Press, 2009).
Tom has been adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology ay Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, where he teaches, wellness and spirituality, mindfulness and more. He is also visiting lecturer at The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Over the past 35 years, Thomas has become a leader in the field mindfulness. He continues to present retreats locally as well as throughout the United States.
For more than 40 years, Tom has become an advanced amateur photographer with his unique style of capturing the often-overlooked elements of our environment in photographs. By then constructing Haiku (referred to as Haiga) he completes the full emersion into the continual flow of our direct experiences.
His Beginners Eye approach to developing our capacity of clear seeing is a fun approach to reconnecting with our true selves and our intimate relationship to the world in which we live.