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Laugh, Weep and ... Relax

Almost that simple is a basic yet powerful meditation technique that was born in 1988 in India. An effective combination of catharsis leading to meditation.

The original technique requires a 3 week commitment and is usually done with a small group of people: One week of laughing for three hours a day, one week of crying for three hours a day, and one week of sitting in silence for three hours a day. Of course the schedule can be altered at one's wishes and can also be done alone.

Participating in this meditation is a striking experience. One feels emotional blocks simply being washed away, a vulnerability opens up that leads naturally to a profound peace of mind.

What a great situation to photograph. Together with an experienced psychologist, I invited an international group of people to be photographed while they were doing this meditation. We set up a small studio with professional lighting and took great care to create an intimate, cosy atmosphere. One after the other went in front of the camera and we helped them to move deeply into their emotions. And people lost all their inhibitions. They started laughing and everybody joined in, ripples of laughter seemed to move across the room. Even the wildest Monthy Python audience would have been no match for us.

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almost clicked itself at the right moments. Then the next person sat down in front of me and started laughing and so did I. It went on like this on for hours and I lost all jugdments about feelings being right or wrong, good or bad. Tears were as much fun as laughter. And sometimes it was hard to dinstinguish between the two. It was just energy moving, and everybody in the studio sensed the same.

We all got really high on the situation and lost track of time and space completely. We were shooting for about 6 hours a day, and when we left the studio in the late afternoon everbody was soaking wet, despite the air-conditioning. Rarely have I seen such sparkling eyes again, like those of the particpants of that shooting. Nobody seemed exhausted, on the contrary everybody was radiant with energy.

Visitor at the first show in Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (Bombay), India 1989.

Technically speaking:

Shot in 1988 in the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Pune, India. The Mystic Rose Meditation was introduced for the first time in 1988 by the Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho.

Shot with a Nikon F3 and 1.4/85mm and 1,8/105mm lenses on Kodak and Orwo films.

Printed on silver-gelatine Agfa P-90 paper and laminated on linen. Exhibition pieces: 80cm x 120cm, linen on stretcher

After going really deeply into laughter, people sometimes reached a peak where their laughter suddenly turned into crying. Tears rolled down cheeks. Sadness, even anxiety, was felt by everybody in the room so strongly that we started crying too.

I was there in the middle of it all, focusing my Nikon, checking the flashlights and feeling like riding a giant rollercoaster of emotions. I too was crying and while tears were rolling down my face I felt such a unity with my models that the shutter

Main hall, Jehangir Art Gallery

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