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Hèlen Vink

Joining my experience of meditation and photography...

Educated in the United States

I immediately understood the freshness of this artistic discipline where the two experiental worlds of meditation and photography come together. From 2006–2008 I completed the Miksang course of study in a passionate pace under the guidance of Michael Wood (CA), founder of Miksang of The Miksang Institute in the United States.

Captivated by the beauty and power of this young art form, I completed the Miksang Teachers training in the US. Since then I have been the sole Miksang teacher dedicating fulltime teaching Miksang training courses in the Netherlands and Europe based on this Miksang tradition. Over the years I have introduced all levels of the Miksang Photography training course and developed the Miksang Instructors Education. 

How my spiritual journey began

As a child I had a boundless curiosity about who and what I really am. Around the age of 8 I often wondered why I am 'I' and not someone else, and I tried consciously with great effort with my whole being being my mom or someone else...

I remember clearly how (almost) everyday felt like a new day full of possibilities, new adventures and magic. I was an active child with a lot of energy, running a lot, climbed the tallest trees, sometimes falling out of a tree miraculously surviving, found baby animals in the forest bringing them back home, and getting deeply absorbed in reading everything I could find and immersing myself in children's movies. My favorite activity involved playing with other kids: playing at marbles and getting really good, playing football and getting good at this, climbing walls and getting good at this. Roller skating became my favorite activity and wore out one pair each year. I practiced many sports as often as I could, passionately driven to be the best as I could.

Being really good at something caught my interest early on, I practiced endlessly with effortless focus when enjoying the progress. Practice makes perfect as a natural activity ;-)

Around the age of 11 I once asked my grandmother what the embroidered proverb on the wall 'wisdom comes with age' means. Listening to her explanation of how wisdom gradually develops as you get older, my answer was; "Well, I'm not going to wait for that..."

I now know by experience that both truths are true: I don't have to wait for the wisdom that is already present within me but apply instructions and practices that unlock my inherent wisdom or pointers that serve a a catalyst to bring it to the service, and the experiental fact that wisdom comes with age.

My love for sports and arts

After a semi-professional career in speed skating on the ice (allround speed skating) until my twentieth, I studied photography and sculpture for 2.5 years at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht and did an intern with sculptor/architect Dries Kreijkamp for a year. From here I developed myself further as a self-taught artist and worked on three-dimensional installations, photo works and various art projects.

Over the years, my dissatisfaction with my artistic development and opportunities within contemporary art grew, and at the same time, my interest and curiosity about the meaning of life grew. Through a 'coincidentally' overheard conversation about Dharma Art at my first visit at the Shambhala Center Amsterdam after a talk of a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, a new chapter started: I started the journey of Dharma Art, a series of training on direct perception and beging fully present in the moment and on how each moment of experience had a contained sacredness. On the creative dimension of spirituality and the spiritual dimension of creativity, elegant expression and practical practices in which I experienced deep meaning and rediscovered my (childish) pleasure. It also turned my life up side down at first, as this new way of approaching art brought fort a mixture of discomfort and feeling excited and deeply inspired.

My encounter with Dharma Art

In perfect timing I bumped into the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, and participated in Dharma Art workshops in the Shambhala Center Leiden, the first one in 1997. At the same time, I started practicing sitting meditation and studying Tibetan Buddhism and Shambhala Buddhism, and in 2000 I met my Dharma teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. A week after a retreat with him and a personal interview, a traffic accident brought an abrupt stop and a major life change.

My recovery was accompanied by an introduction to multiple contemplative arts, deepening in meditation and Shambhala Buddhism, deep relaxation and awakening. I studied with various Tibetan meditation teachers and senior students of Chögyam Trungpa in various disciplines of contemplative arts in the Netherlands, France, the US and Canada. In the following years I have lived and worked in Shambhala Buddhist centers in France and the US, in various positions: office manager, Head of Office, cook and assistant to Director of Arts at The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, Shambhala Mountain Center.

My encounter with Miksang Photography

In 2006 I was invited to help out with a Miksang Contemplative Photography in Cologne, where I ended up coordinating the first Miksang workshop in Europe. This meeting brought together my experience with photographic art and my experience of meditation. I unexpectedly and immediately understood the freshness and accessibility of this artistic contemporary discipline.

The possibility of experiencing the wisdom as meditation in action and expressing sacredness as poetic art beyond the cultural parameters of the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism and Shambhala Buddhism with the modern discipline of photography just made my heart jump of joy!
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"Every moment of experience can open your mind to vastness"

Following my longing to awaken

For my own inspiration and in service to others and this world, out of sheer enthusiasm for awakening and wakefulness, being myself and discovering more of myself I seem to always explore further with curiosity. I invest in fulfillment and expansion, both spiritually, creatively and sportingly by following the breadcrumbs of intuition, synchronicity and joy in perfect timing. In this way I experience multiple perspectives at the right moment at the right place whenever it is necessary. Tuning into Source which nourishes, supports and encourages me to be more of my best creative natural self.

With the most fun helpful practice that resonates at this particular moment. I've learned not to get too caught up in reasoning thinking too much, neither weighing the pros and cons coming to logical conclusions and decisions or following up on a resonance sometime later.

If something resonates now, I'll follow it up now - as much as possible as far as possible with integrity within the cultural rules and laws ;)

As important is taking breaks to regenerate from overdoing and so learning to find a balance, as all is part of the journey.

My motto: the point of power is always in the now and everything is unfolding in perfect timing.

This needs a courageous heart and an open resilient mind.

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Would you like to find out more on experiencing Miksang?

Sign up for the online Miksang training if you want to get to know me and Miksang first. If you want to know more about what this contemplative approach to photography exactly means, the theory how to apply it and what it can do for you. You start with the introductory lecture and the photo presentation. With visual exercises to immediately experience for yourself how you experience clear vision and touch, and experience in deep relaxation with an awake look.