Month: February 2014

Relationship as a Path of Awakening: A Conversation with Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT

  Bruce Tift will be leading Relationship as a Path of Awakening, May 16-18, 2014. He’ll also be giving a talk on the subject in Boulder on April 25. How can we use the inherent disturbance and richness of our intimate relationships as an opportunity for wakefulness? Psychotherapy helps us understand the deep historic conditioning we bring to our relationships. Buddhist practice cultivates the confidence that, in each fresh moment, we are free in how we relate to this conditioning. Let’s explore how we can learn to keep our hearts open within the profound provocation of intimacy. Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT, has been in private practice since 1979, taught at Naropa University for 25 years, and given presentations in the U.S., Mexico and Japan. His new CD, Already Free: Buddhism Meets Psychotherapy on the Path of Liberation, explores the human issues of neurosis, anxiety, body awareness and relationship dynamics. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

Ikebana: The Contemplative Art of Flowers

By Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei and Travis Newbill Shenpen, Sensei will be guiding Ikebana/Kado: The Contemplative Art and Way of Flowers, April 18-20, 2014 Ikebana is more than just flower arranging. Rather, it is a practice through which we explore nature & life,  the relationship between heaven, earth, humanity and personal artistic process — whether we feel we are artistic or not!  We begin by learning traditional, harmonic forms. Engaging with Ikebana as a contemplative practice awakens the unconditional beauty of  our world,  inspiring a way of living. Below are some words from our wonderful teacher, Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei and some images of arrangements created by introductory students. On structure and improvisation: “Forms tame us, helping us to wear-out our artistic ego, so that what comes through is fresh and awake, an expression of  what’s already there — both in ourselves and in nature.  This is a wonderful ground for later improvisation.   In other words, structure provides a language of flowers — and from that language, not only can the poetry of botanical materials communicate more …

SMC to Host Young Sangha Retreat

By Duncan  McNaught It’s great to take time to sit and reflect in an environment that helps us uplift ourselves; to refresh by connecting with what’s important in our lives – inspiration and heart. Young sangha members have been meeting for retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center for a number of years now, with generous pricing offered by SMC to assist those of us who often don’t have much money for retreat. The foundation of this retreat will be to practice meditation in an “intensive” way together and to support each other in this practice. In addition, we’ll include activities such as a visit to the Kami Shrine and the Great Stupa. Depending on the skills and inclination of the attendees, we may also include Kasung drill practice, yoga, and other mindfulness-awareness practices. We’ll be living as a close community for the retreat, and we’ll plan our activities so as to include everyone.                                                 …

Cupid and the Buddha: Acharya Allyn Lyon Discusses Love

Love it or lump it, it’s February and Valentine’s Day is approaching. Nevermind the consumerism, let’s get to the heart of the holiday—love. In Buddhism, the word love is deeply nuanced and embraces the totality of our experience—both the joy and the tears. In the teachings on loving-kindness, it is unconditional and extended to everyone, including ourselves. We interviewed Acharya Allyn Lyon, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, about the complex relationship between loving-kindness and romantic love.  What is loving-kindness? Loving-kindness is fundamentally letting people be who they are and being interested in who they are. It also includes wishing others well. Wishing that all beings could be happy, that they could be free from suffering and that they realize their basic goodness. You start with a wish and an intention.  Then you do what you can to be helpful.  How does romantic love tie in with loving-kindness? Romantic love is always a challenge because it often begins with infatuation. Infatuation is not seeing others as they are.  You leave out a lot. …

Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth Part 2

By Martin Ogle Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In the previous blog post, I briefly introduced the scientific view of Earth as a living system. In the quest to Engage the Rhythms of our Living Planet, let us expand our exploration . . . When James Lovelock returned to England from working with NASA, a friend and neighbor was none other than William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. Upon hearing Lovelock’s ruminations of a living planet, Golding urged his friend to name the idea “Gaia,” after the Greek Goddess of Earth. He felt this would honor the fact that Western science was rediscovering what ancient Western Culture held sensed mythically: that Earth is alive and that we are a part of her life. The mythical connection reminded us, that the human mind has, indeed, co-evolved seamlessly with a living Earth. When, in the distant past, ancestral humans crossed a threshold of mental development to acquire self-awareness and awareness of time similar to that of …

Mind, Body, Earth: We Are Part of A Living System (AUDIO)

  Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In this interview, Naturalist Martin Ogle discusses Gaia Theory, which is the idea that Earth and everything on the surface of Earth–water, air, rock, and organisms–together form a living system. The minds and bodies of human beings, he says, are a powerful component. For more from Martin Olge, check out his two part series on our blog: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth–part 1 and part 2 We hope that you enjoy this interview. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the interview below.

Avajra John Presents: The Perfect Rice

By Travis Newbill In order to clarify the confusion of all sentient beings attempting to make rice, we present another installment of Avajra John‘s pithy kitchen wisdom. There are quite a few different approaches to making rice. Each of the different approaches works well. This can be confusing. There are some 40,000 varieties of rice from around the world. Short-grain and long-grain brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, Arborio, and Koshihikari from Japan are some commonly available varieties. In each of these different rice cultures around the world, there are recipes for making perfect rice that is considered a high art within that culture. So let’s simplify this and start at square one: Cook the rice on the stove top or in the oven. Use a pot or pan with a good, tight-fitting cover. Use the proportion of one cup of rice to one and a half cups of water. Use cold water. Put the rice and the water together in the pot or pan and cover tightly. Bring the rice and water to a …