Month: June 2013

SMC in the News: Denver Post Travel

We had a nice little write-up as a cool, fun place to getaway this summer. Thanks to the Denver Post for the profile in their Travel section. “What’s more relaxing than a meditation vacation? Probably one taken at a 600-acre mountain retreat, a serene and unique destination created more than 40 years ago as a place for guests from all backgrounds to visit for contemplation and relaxation.” The article features our Getaway program, where guests can customize a retreat to their own liking. Take it easy: This is one place where doing absolutely nothing is just fine. Shambhala offers a way to create your own getaway, where you can book a stay and just enjoy the grounds, hiking the eight miles of trails or wandering around the botanic gardens and meadows. Read the full profile at the Denver Post

Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Cake 2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix * 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 3/4 tsp. salt 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted 1/2 cup rice milk or almond milk 1/3 cup applesauce 1 tsp. vanilla extract 3 bananas, mashed Vanilla Sauce 2 cups rice milk or almond milk 1/3 cup cornstarch 1/4-1/2 cup sugar, to taste 1 tsp. vanilla extract   Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. Combine dry ingredients, flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, in a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Combine melted Earth Balance, rice or almond milk, applesauce and vanilla in a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Add wet ingredients to dry ingrdients and stir until just mixed with a spatula. Add mashed bananas and mix until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and spread with spatula. The mixture will be thick and shallow in the pan. Bake for 25-40 minutes until center bounces back when pressed or when a skewer or …

The Lady Who Runs

By Cynthia MacKay Cynthia MacKay will be leading a retreat at SMC from August 30-September 2 based on Sakyong Mipham’s book ,“Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training the Body and the Mind.” Geared for runners, walkers and athletes, this program will offer fresh insights into the activities of meditation and movement. All levels of runners and walkers welcome. In my neighborhood, there’s The Corn Guy, The Lady With the Boxers, The Couple Who Live in the Victorian and The Korean Grocer. I am The Lady Who Runs. My neighborhood in east LA is called Lincoln Heights. It sits in the shadow of Dodger Stadium, just north of Downtown. People don’t think of Los Angeles as a good place to hill train, run trails and stay off the paved streets but Lincoln Heights is just that. I can run in any of the four directions and have a very different feeling from each run.   North On Saturdays, I head north. Saturdays are my long runs and from my house I can get 18 …

Free Your Genius From Myth

  It has been said of Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, John Nash, Franz Kafka, Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Michael Jackson, Nick Cave, Kurt Cobain, Billy Stayhorn, Billie Holiday, Roman Polanski, Marlon Brando, Winston Churchill, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, well…anyone famous and Russian. The myth of the Tortured Genius dates back to the ancient Greeks who attributed to the god Dionysus the realms of music, wine, inspiration and madness. Dr. Ronald Alexander sees it differently. “The idea of the Tortured Genius is both a reality and a perpetuated myth.” He points out that the lives of many accomplished and inspired individuals, like those listed above, were afflicted with mood disorders. Depression and bipolar disorder, usually. Most of them suffered at a time when psychology was ill-equipped to address their needs, and society had little understanding of how the mind and body work together to create a personal experience. But it is important to separate the myth, and its false perceptions, from the reality. The myth was that people believed the extreme moods, behavior …

Why Samadhi?

by Erica Kaufman We like to think of ourselves as living in independent time, separate from each other and from cosmic influences. But that is just it. We “think” and create mind play for our thoughts. In a way our minds are like the dominant child within us, the one that steps forward and likes to take over but is not always the most sensitive or intuitive. While our bodies are more like the quiet child within us, the kind that needs patience and is worth the wait. That is why Lîla Yoga™ is such a powerful harmonizing tool. It is both meditation in motion and philosophy in motion. Through our asana practice we learn to quiet the mind and allow the truths within our body to lead us to a more revealed state of awareness. From this state of being, our true Self is more easily exposed. This process is called Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (absorption). It takes great discipline and consistent practice to calm the mind into a tranquil state of stillness for Dhyana. …

Way Seeking Mind: A Meditation and Yoga Retreat for Women

by Katharine Kaufman I offer a women’s retreat twice a year, on the hottest, longest days in the middle of summer, and the coldest, dark winter days. I see myself as more of a facilitator of this retreat, rather than a teacher. We arrive alone and together, 12 or 15 of us, and we simply practice yoga, sitting, sharing. Something subtle and close transforms because of this turning our discursive gaze inward. There is a luxurious break in the afternoons to hike, read, rest, or visit with each other. Transformation is not always a smooth ride. We have our practices, the support of the schedule, teachings, to hold us—and each other. My favorite part of this retreat is when we individually choose a place outdoors, and practice solo the four postures of meditation. These beautiful places we choose offer us the chance to simply be in one area in nature, with no agenda. We understand the gentle wind, grasses, texture of rocks, as good friends, not just scenery. We can lean against a tree, close our …

Meditation with Rhythm

by Christine Stevens Ever since I heard world-famous sound healing expert Jill Purce say, “The purpose of sound is silence”, I have been asking myself: What could meditation and drumming possibly have in common? In meditation, placing our attention on the breath occupies the mind. In drumming, the rhythm becomes a mantra that captures our attention. You can’t drum while thinking. Both act as mind sweepers; to clear the mental space of worries and negative thought patterns. Both help us get out of our heads and into our hearts. Meditative states are quite natural and simple, but not easy. Both meditation and drumming are practices that focus on remembering rather than learning.  Within the rhythm of the drum, we remember our heartbeats in the womb and rhythms our bodies long to express. Meditation and drumming are both tools to connect with spiritual realms and the non-physical. We travel along both the silence and rhythm paths as portals into the spiritual space where we breathe deeply, relax and re-connect with the heart and soul. However, drumming just may be better suited …

Waking Up to the Wild on Shambhala Mountain

by Kay Peterson While leading a mindful hiking retreat through the mountains last weekend, I was reminded of a line from the J. R. R. Tolkien poem in The Lord of the Rings —“Not all those who wander are lost.” As we paused in a meadow for an intentional “aimless wandering” practice, we gleefully explored our surroundings and noticed the details—the blue-eyed grasses beginning to bloom and the lady bugs swinging on the tall grass. How liberating it feels to stop and just look up at the sky without worrying what other people might think. Of course, Tolkien was also referring to the powers of perception. Sometimes we forget that things are not always as they first seem and rarely remain as they first appear. For me, there is no more powerful way to remind myself of this than by wandering in nature. In the course of a summer day at Shambhala Mountain Center, I can wake up to the birdsong signaling the promise of a warm, sunny day. As that day unfolds, I watch …

The Art of Creative Transformation for Happiness

by Dr. Ronald Alexander I believe that within all of us lies dormant the potential for tremendous transformation that can lead to greater happiness. In my many years as a mind-body psychotherapist, educator, trainer, and consultant I’ve watched thousands of clients let go of their false beliefs about who they are and what roads are open to them. They found new paths to fulfillment and happiness that were previously hidden by their fears. The art of creative transformation begins with the willingness to be mindful of your hidden resistance to making a change, examining it, and breaking it down. You might find yourself closing your eyes to any other avenues available to you, obsessing about the past and trying to reclaim what was once yours. This resistance blocks you from recognizing that what lies ahead for you might actually make you happier than you’ve ever been. The second step is tuning in and listening to the wisdom of your soul or unconscious, the state in which core creativity takes place. I particularly recommend a mindfulness …

More than Meditation: The Totality of Dathün

by Will Brown “We can become extremely wise and sensitive to all of humanity and the whole universe simply by knowing ourselves, just as we are.” – Pema Chödrön, teaching on day two of a dathün When someone mentions “meditation retreat”, you might get an image of “on the cushion at 4am until lights out at 9pm”. The Shambhala Buddhist practice of Dathün is not just thirty days on “the cushion” but a complete system, or spiritual technology, for developing familiarity and friendliness with one’s mind, body, emotions (and patterns) and one’s own inherent power of healing and wakefulness. At my first Dathün, I discovered that sitting meditation was just a fraction of the practice. The system of Dathün includes quite a few hours per day of sitting meditation but also walking meditation, dharma talks, contemplation, and chants. And just as integral to Dathün are the mindful “Oryoki” meals, the hours (or days) of silence, one’s interactions with other people, and the furniture, buildings, and land which support the practitioner. At Dathün, in the kitchen, …