Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Training Your Third Eye...

   In Taoism, Third Eye Training allows the student to tune into the correct vibration of the universe by closing the eyes and focusing on a spot between the eyebrows.  In some traditions, the third eye is thought to be the soul's eye while our two normal seeing eyes connect only to our physical body.

   Fr. Richad Rohr, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, considers the third eye as a metaphor for non-dualistic thinking. For him, the first eye provides sensory input, the second eye relates to reason, meditation, and reflection and the third eye is the mystical gaze...building on the first two eyes but going much further.

   For a contemplative photographer, at least THIS contemplative photographer, the third eye is an absolute necessity for one to practice visual listening skills.  The soul's  eye perceives, and the heart's ear listen's...the two components of visual listening.  It is through this interchange of looking and listening that the contemplative photographer can enter into a  meaningful relationship with the landscape.

   I would even go as far as to say that it is the ONLY way to tap into the wisdom of the landscape.  Our normal ears hear only "noise"- a gulls screech, the wind in the trees or the sound of our footsteps on the path.  Our normal eyes see only color and shape and texture. If we rely exclusively on our normal senses, we may create decent photographs but they will stop far short of sensitive renderings of the spiritual sense of a given place. If you like, think of the creation of great contemplative photographs like having your Grandmother's famous recipe for spaghetti's great because it is based on a complete understanding of the ingredients and their proper relationship to each other. Random vegetables, herbs and spices, regardless of how good they may look, will not make a great sauce without this practiced understanding of their qualities and inter-relationship but it's the love she puts into the effort that matters most.  Without that intangible element it's only sauce.

   So when you go out into the landscape, take some time training your third eye whether it be through meditation or visual listening techniques.  The time will be well spent.  

1 comment:

Bill DeLanney said...

Thank you for this post. Very interesting. Listening with my eyes.