Month: November 2013

SMC Recipe: Holiday Gingerbread House and Cookies

  As Thanksgiving will officially kick off the holiday season a week from now, it’s not too soon to start imagining how to best bring loved ones together this time of year. Nor is it too soon, nor too late, to reflect on holidays past. Our wonderful chef, Avajra John Russell, recalls how making cookies can be a magical way to celebrate the good fortune of family–of any sort. The SMC Community is a family and John is our beloved, crazy, artistic uncle. We hope you’ll enjoy his recollection of time spent with his childhood family and the cookies (or houses) that can be made with his recipe. The holidays can be a special time of creating warm memories together that can stick with us throughout our lifetime. In my family, we always had some kitchen projects going, in the days leading up to Christmas. We used to stuff dates and my mom would always make crabapple jelly with crabapples from our trees–to give as gifts to friends and family. Occasionally, we would also make …

An Introduction to Chi Kung in Recovery

Greg Pergament shares an excerpt from his new book, Chi Kung in Recovery: Finding Your Way to a Balanced and Centered Recovery.  He will be incorporating this ancient practice in The Joy of Recovery: Buddhism, Chi Kung and 12 Steps–a unique recovery retreat also featuring Kevin Griffin. To read more about this program being held at SMC from December 6-8, click here. Chi Kung is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused attention. These three attributes make it an excellent complementary practice for anyone recovering from substance abuse and its physical, mental and spiritual manifestations. Chi Kung creates an awareness of, and influences, dimensions of our being that are not part of traditional exercise programs. Most exercises do not involve the meridian system (used in acupuncture), nor do they emphasize the importance of adding mind intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these dimensions are added, the benefits of exercise increase exponentially. The gentle rhythmic movements of Chi Kung reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality and enhance …

Taking Joy

 Photo by Greg Smith Author, teacher, and innovator in the mindful recovery movement, Kevin Griffin, shares an exclusive excerpt with us from his new book, a work in progress tentatively titled Happy, Joyous, and Free: A Buddhist Guide to Contentment in Recovery.  No matter how together our lives are, how good they look, how much stuff or success or fame we have, if we can’t take joy in it, we won’t be happy. Taking joy is the realm of mindfulness, practice at the center of all Buddhist teachings. Mindfulness is fundamentally about being present for our life, for each moment in a wholehearted, non-reactive, inquisitive, and intuitive way. While mindfulness is an inherent human capacity that we all have, it’s something most of us have never developed and need guidance and practice to establish. Mindfulness training is done formally in meditation. It is done informally in all activities, like walking, talking, eating, or exercising. Anything we can do, we can do mindfully and mindfulness enhances the experience of any activity. With mindfulness, we actually experience …

VIDEO: Winter Dathun with Shastri Samten Kobelt

  In this video, beloved senior teacher Samten Kobelt discusses the upcoming month-long meditation retreat that he will be leading at Shambhala Mountain Center from December 13, 2013 through January 10, 2014. To learn more about Winter Dathun, please click here. (Video filmed and edited by Travis Newbill) Winter Dathun with Shastri Samten Kobelt, December 13-January 10, 2014. To learn more, click here. 

Sara Avant Stover: Springtime Detox & Renewal Advice for Women

Seeing the One World with Two Eyes

By Elias Amidon Even though we humans live in nonduality, we experience the world with the two eyes of duality. This is because we have the ability to conceptualize. Even to say the word “nonduality” is to conceive dualistically. When we say “nonduality” our minds are already at work, setting up nonduality here and duality over there. It’s helpful to remember that perceiving dualistically is not a fault — it’s the way we’ve been made. If I say the word “I” it means I have conceived of myself as a subject, and this is natural enough, isn’t it? “I” wake up in the morning, “I” brush my teeth, “I” love you, and so on. It is a convenient way to think, even if it is not exactly how things work. Phenomena arise not as subjects and objects, but as a whole, all at once. Nevertheless it’s not easy for us to see the wholeness of things because we see — for good reasons — with the two eyes of duality. Making distinctions between “this” and “that” makes it possible to navigate …

Healing and Transforming Consciousness Through Sacred Sound, Music and Dance

Internationally renowned World Music artist, composer, educator and peace activist Yuval Ron will be coming to Colorado for two very special engagements—a concert in Boulder on March 27 presented by SMC in the City and a weekend retreat from March 28-20 at Shambhala Mountain Center. Read more from Yuval below. This March I will be coming to Boulder, CO and to Shambahla Mountain Center, finally! Over the last 20 years I have met so many people, specifically people who graduated from Naropa who were compelled to comment on how much my work belongs in Boulder. The retreat that I will be leading is based on my work with master spiritual teachers of the East such as Pri Zia Inayat Khan, the head of the Sufi Order International, and neuroscientists of the West including brain researcher, Mark Robert Waldman, who wrote the bestseller, How God Changes Your Brain. During this program, I will be taking participants on an incredible journey into their inner world, providing them with a rare perspective into the worlds of Zen Buddhist …

Q&A: Naropa Professors Discuss “Artistic Process as Life” and Meditation Practice

By Travis Newbill Jane Carpenter and Sue Hammond West will lead Creative Wisdom: Maitri and Art, November 15-17 The idea that artistry begins when the brush hits the canvass and ends when the palette is set down is questionable. An alternative view suggests that eating a pear may be as artistic of an activity as painting a still life. And, in this view, meditation practice is linked to both. In the upcoming program Creative Wisdom: Maitri and Art Naropa University professors Jane Carpenter and Sue Hammond West will present teachings and practices related to artistic discipline as well as meditation practice in order to guide participants in a process of exploring the ways in which we can be more awake as we create art and how we may live our entire lives in a more artistic way. In their words: “This weekend program explores the state before you lay your hand on your brush or your canvas – very basic, peaceful and relaxed. Here art refers to all the activities of our life, including any …

The Dark Light

 by Elizabeth Rabia Roberts “As long as you do not know how to die and come to life again, you are but a poor guest on this dark earth.”  —Goethe It is likely, if you are past midlife, that you have had at least a mild experience of “The Dark Night of the Soul.” You may have had months or even years during which you lost your sense of purpose and confidence about the direction of your life. There may have been feelings of deep sadness and grief over what appeared to be lost. During this time you were overcome by existential questions: “Who am I? Why am I here? What is Life’s meaning?” And despite your prayers, you remained lost in a fog of unknowing. As painful as these dark times are, without them we cannot participate fully in the great rhythms of the Earth. Winter, after all, is not a failed summer. It is necessary for the renewal of life. There is a lineage of both religious and secular literature reminding us that …