/2008/05/bringing-it-home.html" /> /2008/05/bringing-it-home.html" /> Alternative Culture Blog: Bringing it Home

Alternative Culture MagazineCougar WebWorks Celebrating Nature, Culture, and Spirit
Alternative Culture Magazine

Alternative Culture Blog

Irregular commentary on various aspects of alternative culture: nature, books, travel, music, literature, spirituality.

by Nowick Gray, Editor of Alternative Culture Magazine

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Saturday, May 03, 2008


Bringing it Home

Miksang and More ...

When I have returned back home from winter travels to exotic lands, usually the camera goes back in the closet, and my journalistic streak goes into a prolonged funk. Without fresh inspiration from the outer world, what can the inner creative spirit latch onto?

In past years I solved the journal dilemma by simply putting in the time as a daily discipline. Filling the space with words ... which afterwards I could edit and prune, hoping to glean a rose (or tulip) among the briars. A more direct approach is to be sparse from the point of intention, as with haiku.

In this enterprise I begin - as it is said in the Buddhist art of Miksang photography - to create more space between and among the forms, thus breathing into and from the emptiness ... letting the fullness of life flow like water and air among the earth and fire of daily effort.

Taking pictures in Beacon Hill Park, during an outdoor photography workshop in the Miksang (“good eye”) approach to “Dharma art” (as taught by Chogyam Trungpa, and in this case by Charles Blackhall) I felt as if on holiday here in the natural heart of my own city, “wandering aimlessly” through the park, along the beach, around Cook St. Village.

Following that amble through the passing paradise of the “backyard” moment on a classic spring day, my camera is back in the closet and I sit with a somewhat dutiful comportment at my keyboard to share this not-really-traveling slice of life to a travel-habituated audience. Yet the depth of my single experience here - putting on fresh eyes in a familiar land - lingers, pausing my breath.

Now, yes, with the onus of taxes behind me and equally undeniable yet patient death asleep on the far horizon, I breathe free and clear in the present time, awaiting nothing more than the continued slow progress of spring. A winter solstice orange dries imperceptibly on my desktop, studded with cloves and turned cinnamon-brown: awaiting the solstice fire. In the meantime, slow birdsong, misty sky, a further slowing of breath to live stillness.

view more at

Miksang Photo Gallery

Video: Zen Dawn Meditation

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Earlier Archive:

Rule Reversals (January 2003)

Telling it Like it Is (January 2003)

White Rabbit (February 2002)

On Novelty (February 2002)

An Open Letter to the Democratic Party after September 11 (December 2001)

Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion (book review) (November 2001)

Forest Storm (September 2001)

Feminism, Poetic Myth, and Alternative Culture - An Homage to The White Goddess (July 2000)

Quests for Identity and Other Addictions (May 2000)

Wheel of Fortune (April 2000)

Great Writers and Street Poets (February 2000)

Upgrade for Speed Because Time is Running Out? (August 1999)

Retail Therapy: Decision Making in the Computer Age (August 1999)

Retail Therapy2: Random Brief Downtimes (August 1999)

Farouche Speaks (April 1999)

NetGlut: Notes from a cleansing fast (February 1998)

To Unix and Back Alive (January 1997)

Webness (November 1996)

Surfing Again (November 1996)

Bananas in British Columbia (May 1996)

Confessions of a computer addict (May 1996)

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