All posts tagged: awakening

heart of mindfulness

The Heart of Mindfulness   

by: Jon Aaron  For our retreat coming up in June, we were inspired to call it “The Heart of Mindfulness,” which has a nice double meaning.  On one hand, this retreat explores the core teachings which form the basis of most mindfulness practices offered today whether through Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or other programs. Even shiny new meditation apps are often utilizing these core teachings, which go back 2600 years or so.   The heart of mindfulness also refers to non-judgment—or heartfelt curiosity.  This is a crucial component of mindfulness practice. Without heartfulness, mindfulness is hardly more than paying attention. When this element of compassion is integrated with the mind’s capacity to sustain attention then things start to change. Yet too often, in the rush to develop “productivity” or “focus” in our culture, this dimension gets lost.  The danger of titles is that they reify what they name. We might start to think of mindfulness as a “thing” to obtain (in only 8 weeks! 28 days!) or an instrument we can call into service when needed. In …

Meditation Instruction: tips.

by: Katharine Kaufman I thought to offer a small thing to you, to assist you with your meditation practice—a tip. Then I thought of another, and another. They are yours to evolve as you wish. After I’ve found a quiet place where I want to sit down, an upright posture, figured out how high or low I should sit, how hard or soft the cushion, what kind of support I need under my knees, then I can rest. I feel the movement of my breath. I let my mind/heart be a filter. I let myself have thoughts. I feel things in my body. I cry a little, usually.  I met a teacher who said, “That’s extra.” It’s not right, all the crying. I can see her point. My father cried sometimes in a way that he couldn’t stop it. Like the time he tried to read to my brother and me, Hemmingway’s, The Old Man and the Sea. The first evening he read this sentence:  “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff …

What Is the Meaning of Chöd?

by Alta Brown, Ph.D. The symbolism employed in the Chöd practice is certainly exotic and is, by some, considered outrageous. An example of such symbolism is a part of some of the red feast practices. For instance, Red Feast No. 6 is described in this way: Again oneself as Vajrayogini chops the corpse with the hooked knife. In a swirling ocean of blood, bones are planted down like a throne. From the tips of the bones, flesh is raised like banners. From these flesh bone and blood–those three fall continuously. Think that all the demons and obstructors enjoy for kalpas. (Badan.ma.) [Garden of All Joy p.66] The corpse that is being offered is that of the Chöd practitioner. The specific meaning of such symbolism will be discussed later on in the book Suffice it to say, that such an offering does not look like anything related to compassion. However the Chöd practice is, in fact, directly organized around the compassionate activity of feeding the demons, or exchanging oneself for the negativities that torment other beings. Exactly how this method …

Coming to Our Senses

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC The world meditates us All of our senses are an expression of basic wakefulness.  Right now, we’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling—because we’re awake.  And everything we perceive is sacred, living, and free.  It’s all actually made from the earth and the elements, even if it’s so impossibly refined and processed that it’s easy to forget that.  Isn’t the earth sacred?     In meditation, we remember this.  Every perception is a reminder, a wake-up call, a notification that we’re alive and that life is precious, fleeting, and beautiful.  We’re part of an ecosystem, a circle of life.  This can be an especially helpful way to meditate when we feel scattered, anxious, alone, or stressed out by a situation in our lives.  It can help us reconnect with our greater whole.       We can do this by grounding our practice in our senses.  Let ourselves feel our connection to the earth below us, like a tree with deep roots that go down.  The earth has been holding and accommodating us …

How To Stop Your Marriage From Falling Apart

by  Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D. Four provocative truths every married couple needs to know Falling in love is amazing! The excitement of meeting someone new brings out the best in all of us; the journey ahead feels like an open road full of possibility … but, then something happens: Either the relationship starts to feel stale, or perhaps money issues, kids, or trying to figure out a comfortable work-life balance comes into play. Whatever the cause, the initial spark dims or goes out altogether, and the future of your relationship becomes a long and winding road, full of pit stops and flat tires. Well, don’t worry because this happens to everyone. All it means is that it’s time for a tune-up. You see, we spend a lot of time and energy finding our perfect mates. By the time we say “I do,” we assume (and fervently hope) that the work is over. The idea of having to spend time working on your marriage may seem strange or even depressing, but it’s …

SMC’s Award-Winning Eco-Forestry Work

by;  Dhi Good & Mac McGoldrick     ///     photo:  Miles Greenlee Stewardship of the land is an important priority for Shambhala Mountain Center. Under the direction of our Built and Natural Environments Director, Mac McGoldrick, SMC conducts conservation forestry projects and collaborates with regional partners to sustain healthy and resilient eco-systems across our 600 acres and beyond. In the video below, Mac McGoldrick describes the eco-forestry and conservation work at SMC in partnership with regional conservation agencies. Thank you Fort Collins Conservation District for this beautiful video! The 600-acre SMC property provided an excellent example of the positive outcomes strategic forest treatments can produce. Because of the 165-acre fuels reduction treatment completed on the property in 2018, as well as several years of adjacent treatments continuing along Elkhorn Creek to the east, firefighters working on the Cameron Peak Fire of 2020 were safer, the forest burned less intensely in this area, and post-fire outcomes were less severe.  Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative, Nov. 12, 2021     Above:  Fireshed partners and community members gather at Shambhala Mountain Center to learn …

how to be yourself

How to Be Yourself 

Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer by Blake D. Bauer “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”     Hermann Hesse If you stop pretending to be something you are not, or to feel other than you do, then what? If you were to let your mask come off, and show the world all of who you really are, then who would we all get to meet? If you stopped trying to fit in or to please your parents, friends, partner or whomever else’s approval, praise or love you seek, then what would you say? Where would you go? And what would you do? If you allowed the world to see your darkness and your light, your vulnerability and your power, do you fear you’d end up alone? But wait, are you not alone already when you feel misunderstood or unable to express what you really think and feel?  It is ironic that we as human beings inevitably have to ask ourselves, ‘How …

Challenges are the Path

by Steven Vosper In my September SMC Newsletter posting, Mindfulness is the Key , I suggested that we could afford to relax and open to our world completely.  Then I posed the question, why not, what’s holding us back?  I think it’s a good question, a very personal question, and one that’s worth thinking about.  Maybe we’re afraid, maybe we’re too busy, maybe we’re too lazy, or maybe we don’t even want to relax and open to our world completely.  Whatever the case may be, if something is holding us back in our lives, then perhaps it’s worth exploring further.  Maybe we can see it more clearly, understand it more fully and discover something new.  Can we actually turn towards our lives, look more closely at the obstacles and the challenges in our lives and find a way through, a path forward?    Let’s give it a try. Let’s bring a deeper awareness to the patterns in our lives, the causes, conditions and habits that hold us back. Who knows what we might discover? Perhaps our …

Your Ego Is Not Your Enemy

Excerpt from the international bestseller, You Were Not Born To Suffer by: Blake D. Bauer Contrary to what most of us believe, our ego is not our enemy. In fact, if we make this part of our psyche wrong, we will stay trapped in suffering. I’ve found that we all create the cocoon of our ego as an act of unconditional self-love to protect us until we’re ready to fully embody our true nature. The primary function of our ego is to protect our heart and soul in the same way that the cocoon protects the caterpillar throughout its metamorphosis into a butterfly. Our ego acts as our guardian until we’re ready to break through our fears and live as a free and full expression of who we truly are each day. The development of our ego is a natural part of our growth and evolution. In the same way that the caterpillar must create a cocoon to protect itself throughout its transformation into a butterfly, we too must develop our ego to protect us …