Nature sounds have already become a popular category on the Plum Village App. Owls, robins, the rain, the stream, and the wind: you can listen to them on the go or when working at your desk. But what if you could immerse yourself in serene surroundings even more fully, not only through audio but visually too?
That’s what Miguel Sánchez, a professional filmmaker from Spain, has been working on in Plum Village for the past few months: collecting the sights and sounds of a place, and a community.
Some of his work has been added to a new series of short films that are accessible on the Plum Village App. In the coming weeks, more of Miguel’s films will be made available on both the app and the Plum Village App YouTube Channel.
After graduating from the Barcelona film school, he specialized in wildlife documentaries. Around the same time, spirituality and Zen Buddhism became central pillars of his life, leading him to Plum Village, where he currently resides and makes videos for the community.
We caught up with Miguel to find out more about these short films and how his own meditation practice helps him choose locations and set a contemplative mood.
The work he has created in Plum Village and its surroundings is mainly immersive videos; why is this the case?
“I think immersive videos can be a help to take time for oneself, relax, and create a break in the day. You don’t have to look at the video all the time, you can just leave it in the background, close your eyes and pay attention only to the sounds. They can also be used to create a pleasant environment while doing other activities such as reading, studying, or eating dinner.”
His immersive videos don’t chase life, but allow it to fill a fixed frame with sounds, colours, and movement. The videos sometimes feature delicate time-lapses, a human figure passing through while performing walking meditation, or symbols of monastic life and ritual, like the Bell Tower or the Buddha sculptures, transporting the viewer to Plum Village.
The films range from 10 to 60 minutes; Miguel explains why an hour may be just the right length:
“Sixty minutes is long enough for the video to not suddenly end and interrupt your concentration or meditative state. You can just relax and not worry about the time. You can pause it whenever you want; it is not necessary to complete it entirely. But I also think it’s good that it ends after 60 minutes, since we can’t hold our concentration for too long. It is important to change activities, walk a bit, and feel your body.”
These contemplative immersive videos are not about capturing places’ physical characteristics; instead, Miguel likes to film in locations where monastics and lay practitioners often meditate, because “they are imbued with a powerful energy.”
On the other hand, “If you look closely, anything can seem miraculous” to those willing to see the miracle of existence.
In the new collection of short films you can also find livelier, but equally mindful shorts showing human life in Plum Village, like this impromptu rendition of ‘Ave Maria’, performed outdoors on a summer day by musical monks and nuns:
➛ Watch this space on the Plum Village App for more short films and immersive videos.
➛ You may want to listen to nature sounds too.
☁️ As has been the case with Buddhist teachings for millennia, there is no charge for the Plum Village App and its digital content. However, if your means allow, please consider offering a donation to support our small team’s continued work on the App.