All posts tagged: Health

mindful retreat for educators

May We All Be Well.  Especially Educators.

by: Andra Brill, Ph.D. This was supposed to be the year that schools went back to “normal.” Whatever that means.  Instead, we are in year three of disrupted learning across the grades.  This means that most second graders have NEVER had a “normal” year of school.  As this school year enters the final stretch, there is not only the longing for normal, there is a need for rest.  We are all exhausted. More than anything we are yearning for rest.  For being able to stop, notice and let go of the constant drive to do one more thing.  We need to allow ourselves space to slow down and nourish ourselves.  We need to be gentle with ourselves, letting go of the constant self-talk driven by what we believe we should be doing.  Even as I grudgingly loosen my own heightened awareness around wearing masks, I am still recovering from the constant work of assessing risks and the decision fatigue that comes with this.  I know that I have revisited grief in a whole new way over …

dream yoga

Dream Yoga as Preparation for the Bardos

by: Andrew Holecek If you are well trained, your first after-death experience will be the luminous bardo of dharmata. If you’re unfamiliar with the subtle states of mind revealed in this bardo, it will flash by in an instant, or be completely missed. Those who have practiced the meditations that facilitate recognition will reap the rewards, and attain liberation at the level of the dharmakaya or sambhogakaya. Without this preparation, most of us will wake up in the karmic bardo of becoming. For nearly everyone, the first experience after regaining consciousness is a sense of being in their own body. Even though the mind is without a body at this point, the habit (karma) of being embodied is so strong that it continues. You feel like your old self, and don’t know you are dead. The first and most important thing to do after death is to recognize that you are dead. This isn’t easy. Many people will not recognize. Without preparation, most of us will black out at the end of the inner dissolution. …

Healing Guilt, Shame and Insecurity 

Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer by Blake D. Bauer “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. “ Jiddu Krishnamurti  Do you constantly make yourself wrong for feeling the way you feel or for desiring the things you desire in life? Do you find yourself feeling guilty after you express your emotions or after doing something just for yourself that’s not about pleasing someone else? Do you constantly fear hurting others when making a choice that’s best for you, but then find that you stop yourself and hurt yourself instead? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re just like me and most people on the planet who suffer with deep guilt whereby we not only feel that we are a problem – that our mere existence is a burden – but also that we are somehow wrong, bad or sinful for wanting to be happy, well and truly loved.  Is the fact that we’re surviving really enough? Should …

Feeding your Demons: Revealing the Hidden Treasure Within Difficulty

by Charlotte Z. Rotterdam I was first drawn to the Feeding your Demons process and the teachings of Machig Labdrön – the great 11th century Tibetan yogini from whose teachings the process was developed – for the radical invitation to turn towards that which we find most repulsive or frightening. This view seemed so counter-intuitive, so clearly different from the human default response of avoiding or rejecting the ugly and threatening aspects of life. Perhaps it reminded me of my early childhood, when I spent time in the autopsy lab with my mother, a pathologist. There was an odd peacefulness in the autopsy room where the intensely eerie became quite ordinary and sometimes even sacred.  Beyond transforming the morbid into the mundane, however, lies a profound teaching on compassion. Ultimately, these teachings suggest that it is only by meeting and even nurturing whatever we consider threatening or “other” that we can live a fully integrated life, radiant with our own wisdom. Holding our inner and outer demons at bay draws us into a never-ending cycle …

Overcoming Resistance to Your Spiritual Practice

by Sara Avant Stover Sara is a teacher of feminine spirituality, bestselling author, and Internal Family Systems (IFS) Practitioner. She has been leading retreats at Drala Mountain Center for many years and we are delighted to welcome her back to the Land in May 2022. In the following podcast,  Overcoming Resistance to Your Spiritual Practice, Sara walks us through some ways to work with our resistance to overcome the challenges we all experience in creating and maintaining a consistent spiritual practice.  She provides creative and thoughtful ways to carve out the time needed to nurture our meditation practice and reminds us of the importance of this lifeline to better resource ourselves to meet the needs of our dynamic existence. About the Author: Sara Avant Stover Sara Avant Stover is a teacher of feminine spirituality, bestselling author, and Internal Family Systems (IFS) Practitioner. After a cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia, and has since gone on to uplift tens of thousands of women …

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 …

Inhale Life Deeply and Slowly

By: Blake D. Bauer Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer, By Blake D. Bauer The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms … Smile, breathe and go slowly. Thich Nhat Hanh If we can learn to be present to our breath in any given moment, we can find our way back to the strength, peace and love that already exist within us. Although we tend to overlook it, each inhalation offers a pathway down into the depths of our being, where unlimited space and stillness are always patiently waiting. Our breath is an anchor that has the power to keep us centred during the most turbulent of times. Regardless of how strong a thought or emotion is in our moment-to-moment experience, we’ll always find a wealth of joy and clarity below these mental and emotional waves. Through our breath we can immediately step out of illusory thoughts about the …

Our Self-Healing, Self-Rejuvenating Mind

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Many of us these days come to meditation or a spiritual path with a wish to heal. To heal from one or another form of suffering or turmoil that we’ve experienced, or from the pace, demands, and challenges of modern life.  We often come seeking relief, peace, stillness, rejuvenation, wellness, and even freedom from whatever limiting conditions we experience.    The good news is that those qualities are already present in us already and are the parts of us doing the seeking and the asking.  While we certainly don’t need to be a Buddhist or even interested in Buddhism to practice many forms of meditation (and I actually mean that!), one name for this part of ourselves is our Buddha nature.  It’s our innate wisdom, compassion, freedom, health, and strength.  The way it shines through in our lives can be by recognizing that we’re suffering and that we long to heal, to release, to be free.*  It’s like longing for like.  It’s the sun shining through the clouds, present …

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 …

Speaking of Silence

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Healing in Space and Stillness When I lead silent meditation retreats, I often begin with a somewhat cynical joke.  I ask, “OK, let’s have a show of hands, how many people here feel like we can keep up with everything in our lives, process all the information we receive in a day completely, give as much time and care to all of our interactions and relationships as they need, thoughtfully attend to all of our work and tasks with no rush whatsoever, take as much time as we need for self-care and health, relax at the end of the day with not a care in our minds, sleep as much as we need, then wake up the next day refreshed and ready to go?”…at this point usually we’re all chuckling and shaking our heads in empathetic commiseration and the kind of relief that comes from being able to laugh in authentic connection with others. That said, it’s no joke.  From a meditative point of view, our spiritual energy …