Month: September 2013

Summer Dathun Participants Share Their Experience After 30 Days of Meditating

Senior teacher Samten Kobelt will be leading 2013-2014 Winter Dathun from December 13-January 10. Noble Aspiration, Noble Effort, Beautiful Fruition Dathun is not a magic pill or a makeover. Still, the before and after photos can be quite striking. And though the photos themselves speak volumes, the featured practitioners have words worth sharing as well. Below, 2013 Summer Dathun participants share their aspirations when entering Dathun, as well as their experience 30 days later.  Please stay tuned throughout the coming weeks as we offer further glimpses into the heart of Dathun. Next week, photographer Karen O’Hern describes the process used to capture these images.   As was mentioned above,  in a blog post next week, Karen O’Hern will reveal the process in which these portraits come to be. For now, we’d like to leave you with a little snippet:  “Prior to taking their portrait, I explained that this would not be what they were used to when having their picture taken. This was about capturing them in an authentic and genuine state of being, and recording their …

2013 Summer Dathun Photos

Here are the before and after photos of twelve courageous 2013 Summer Dathun participants. We thank them for their generosity in allowing us to use their images to share with you the profound humanity and beauty that may arise by the virtue of a full month of sitting meditation.   BEFORE AFTER  

Two Hearts are Greater Than One

We may have been told, or we may have the sense, that within ourselves and within the Earth, there is fathomless wisdom which is available to us at all times–all we need to do is tune in. If this is so, we’d be hard pressed to find a better duo to guide us in that process than don Oscar Miro-Quesada–a highly empowered and well renowned shaman–and Byron Metcalf, Ph.D.–a pioneer in conscious-altering music with a background in transpersonal psychology. In the upcoming weekend program The Shaman’s Heart: An Awakening of Compassion, Healing and Vision, these two teachers will bring together their unique and powerful medicines by “merging ancient and contemporary healing ceremonies and rhythmic techniques.” If you feel that there are dimensions to this life, and to your very being, which you have the ability to know, but are somehow just out of reach, a weekend on the mountain with this pair of guides may very well put you in touch. As excitedly as we invite you to join us for what is sure to …

Rainy Days, Buoyant Hearts: “Overall Okayness”

By Travis Newbill It was Monday around noon when the rains began, and for the next several days there was barely a gap between chilly downpours long enough to close and reopen an umbrella. By the fourth day, it was no longer just rainy weather, or even an unusual streak. By the fourth day, and throughout the rest of the week, it was an adventure. The deer were out of sight, as were the sun, moon, and stars. Beneath the heavy blanket of grey clouds, the people of SMC remained relatively cheerful in spite of the rather oppressive weight of the wetness. While sludging through muddy terrain or huddled together in the shelter of the dining tent, folks exchanged comforting smiles and expressions of shared bewilderment. Meanwhile, as the rain was unrelenting, so has been the human exertion on the saturated ground–SMC staffers and volunteers have been working tirelessly to ensure the well-being of the community and the preservation of our land and facilities. When asked about their experience of the rainy days and to …

The Virtue of Variety: A Practitioner’s Toolbox

By Troy Rapp Early in my meditation life, I found myself drawn to explore different styles of practice. I was in the midst of my first fall training period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center after having spent two years practicing meditation in the Soto Zen tradition, when I found myself drawn to study Korean Zen that winter. A group of monks from this tradition had come to visit and brought with them an English translation of their teachings. I discussed this with the teacher under whom I had begun to practice Zen, and was strongly advised against it. The basis of this instruction was a belief that it was not possible to deepen a spiritual life without unwavering devotion to one style of practice. This type of admonition is not uncommon in the world of spiritual practice. I’ve encountered it from many teachers in a variety of traditions over the years. “If you’re digging a well, you won’t hit water by starting a new hole” goes the metaphor commonly used to support this perspective. I …